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Re: Programatically creating delayed assignment

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  • Subject: [mg110228] Re: Programatically creating delayed assignment
  • From: Leonid Shifrin <lshifr at>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 07:20:56 -0400 (EDT)

Hi Stuart,

Your code will not work as posted, because SetDelayed does not normally
evaluate any of its arguments. Therefore, you have to force it to, for
example by using explicit Evaluate. Here is a possibility:

assignElements[name_String, elemName_String, length_Integer] :=
  Module[{heldName = ToExpression[name, InputForm, Hold]},
   Clear @@ heldName;
   Evaluate[First@heldName] :=
    Evaluate[Table[ToExpression[name <> elemName][i], {i, length}]]];

Note that I added a line to clear possible previous definitions that a
in question may have. If you don't do this you may get some pretty insidious
bugs when using the function several times on the same symbol.

Here is how you can use it:

Scan[assignElements[#, "element", 3] &, {"a", "b"}]







Hope this helps.


On Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 3:06 PM, Stuart Nettleton <
Stuart.Nettleton at> wrote:

> Hi, I would appreciate any thoughts regarding the programatic construction
> of delayed assignments, for example using something like the following
> Scan:
> Scan[(ToExpression[#]:= Table[ToExpression[# <> "element"][i], {i,
> 3}])&,{"a","b"}]
> to create the following delayed assignments:
> a:= {aelement[1], aelement[2], aelement[3]};
> b:= {belement[1], belement[2], belement[3]};
> Many thanks, Stuart
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