Re: [Rd] and Recall() (Was: Re: Return function from function and Recall())

From: Prof Brian Ripley <>
Date: Wed 05 Apr 2006 - 16:24:28 GMT

On Wed, 5 Apr 2006, Luke Tierney wrote:

> On Wed, 5 Apr 2006, Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
>> [...]
>> Now, I was a little surprised that Recall() needed to do a lookup, but R's
>> context only contains the name of the called function and not (a pointer
>> to) the function.
> I think the callfun field in the context is intended to contains this
> and was added with the intent of making things like sys.function more
> reliable but I'm not sure this was ever fully implemented. Might be
> worth checking into after 2.3 and modifying Recall to use it.

What 'callfun' field? It is not documented at the top of context.c ... silly me, believing the documentation! (Actually, the comment is quite economical about what is there.)

It does seem applyClosure and R_execClosure set it, so this is worth doing. What's in callfun in other contexts seems odd (and R_GlobalEnv seems definitely wrong). tryDispatch has

   begincontext(&cntxt, CTXT_RETURN, call, rho, rho, pargs,

                R_NilValue);/**** FIXME: put in op */

and there are some in the byte-code section. So it is probably safe to use callfun unless it is R_NilValue and otherwise search.

As is, we have rather inconsistent behaviour. E.g.,

denumerate(~(1+2+3)^3 + a/b)

works fine, as the denumerate methods are exported. However, in a new session do

> MASS:::denumerate(~(1+2+3)^3 + a/b)

Error in Recall(x[[2]]) : couldn't find function "denumerate.formula"

whereas MASS:::denumerate.formula(~(1+2+3)^3 + a/b) works. (Why? The docs were wrong, and in that case the context contains the expression needed to get the function, not the name.)

Thanks for the hint. Recall is used rarely, and it has been going wrong in quite a few cases (apart from Henrik's and that above I managed to generate examples in cophenetic.dendrogram and window.default), so I do wonder if we should not be fixing this for 2.3.0.


Brian D. Ripley,        
Professor of Applied Statistics,
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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