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MathGroup Archive 1995

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Re: Confused about contexts ...

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg570] Re: [mg523] Confused about contexts ...
  • From: villegas (Robert Villegas)
  • Date: Sun, 19 Mar 1995 05:22:09 -0600

Hello Paul,

> I think I'm getting my contexts in a muddle.  Can you help me with the
> following please?

> Consider the following simple package:

> 	BeginPackage["Example`"]
> 	test::usage = "Test function"
> 	Begin["`Private`"]
> 		test[a_] := Module[{}, z=Sin[x];Function[x,z]]
> 	End[]
> 	EndPackage[]

> I'm trying to code a function "test" that returns a function as its
> argument.
> Thus, _what_I'd_like_to_happen_ is this:

> 	In[1] := 

> 		<<Package.m
> 	In[2] := 

> 		f = test[a]
> 	Out[2] :=
> 		Function[x,Sin[x]]
> 	In[3] := 

> 		f[theta]	
> 	Out[3] := 

> 		Sin[theta]
> However, what actually happens is this:

> 	In[1] := 

> 		<<Package.m
> 	In[2] := 

> 		f = test[a]
> 	Out[2] :=
> 		Function[Example`Private`x, Example`Private`z]
> 	In[3] := 

> 		f[theta]
> 	Out[3] :=
> 		Sin[Example`Private`x]

The reason the z in Function[x, z] didn't expand to a formula is that
Function is one of those things that doesn't evaluate its arguments.
If you want to override this behavior, use Evaluate.  Here's a simplified
example to show what I mean:

In[64]:= z = Sin[x]

Out[64]= Sin[x]

(* The formula ends up being 'z', literally: *)

In[65]:= Function[x, z]

Out[65]= Function[x, z]

(* But we can make the formula be the _value_ of z instead: *)

In[66]:= Function[x, Evaluate[z]]

Out[66]= Function[x, Sin[x]]

   There could be another complication to deal with in your usage,
because you've got a Function inside of a Module, which is a
situation of nested scoping constructs.  This is no problem, except
that I suspect you might use 'z' as a local variable of the
Module (in your real, bigger example, I mean), and also within the
body of the Function.  This would cause renaming of the Function's
variable.  A quick example:

In[61]:= test[a_] := Module[{z}, z = Sin[x/a]; Function[x, Evaluate[z]] ]

In[62]:= test[5]

Out[62]= Function[x$, Sin[-]]

One standard way to circumvent this is to disguise the Function by
constructing it during the evaluation of the Module.  Here's a way
to do that:

In[68]:= test[a_] := Module[{z}, z = Sin[x/a]; Function @@ {x, z}]

In[69]:= test[5]

Out[69]= Function[x, Sin[-]]

Hopefully, this will do what you want.

Best regards,

Robby Villegas

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