delayedAssign {base}R Documentation

Delay Evaluation


delayedAssign creates a promise to evaluate the given expression if its value is requested. This provides direct access to the lazy evaluation mechanism used by R for the evaluation of (interpreted) functions.


delayedAssign(x, value, eval.env = parent.frame(1), 
              assign.env = parent.frame(1))


x a variable name (given as a quoted string in the function call)
value an expression to be assigned to x
eval.env an environment in which to evaluate value
assign.env an environment in which to assign x


Both eval.env and assign.env default to the currently active environment.

The expression assigned to a promise by delayedAssign will not be evaluated until it is eventually ``forced''. This happens when the variable is first accessed.

When the promise is eventually forced, it is evaluated within the environment specified by eval.env (whose contents may have changed in the meantime). After that, the value is fixed and the expression will not be evaluated again.

This function is meant to replace the delay() function, to make it more difficult for R code to see ``naked'' promises.


This function is invoked for its side effect, which is assigning a promise to evaluate value to the variable x.

See Also

substitute, to see the expression associated with a promise.


msg <- "old"
delayedAssign("x", msg)
msg <- "new!"
x #- new!
substitute(x) #- msg

delayedAssign("x", {
    for(i in 1:3)

x^2 #- yippee
x^2 #- simple number

e <- (function(x, y = 1, z) environment())(1+2, "y", {cat(" HO! "); pi+2})
(le <- as.list(e)) # evaluates the promises

[Package base version 2.5.0 Index]