purrr 0.3.0

We’re excited to announce the release of purrr 0.3.0! purrr enhances R’s functional programming toolkit by providing a complete and consistent set of tools for working with functions and vectors.

# Install the latest version with:
install.packages("purrr")

# Start working with purrr:
library(purrr)

In this release, pluck() gets a few new variants:

  • pluck<-, assign_in() and modify_in() allow deep modifications of nested structures.

  • chuck() is a stricter variant of pluck() that consistently fails instead of returning NULL when the structure does not have the expected shape.

A new set of tools helps limiting the rate at which a function is called:

  • slowly() forces a function to sleep between each invokation.

  • insistently() automatically invokes a function again on error until it succeeds, and sleeps between invokations.

  • The rate_delay() and rate_backoff() helpers control the invokation rate of slowly() and insistently().

The reduce and map functions gain a few improvements:

  • map_if() accepts an optional function with the .else parameter. This function is applied on elements for which the predicate is FALSE.

  • map_at() now accepts vars() selections. This lets you use selection helpers like dplyr::starts_with() to determine the elements of a list which should be mapped.

  • reduce() now supports early termination of a computation. Just return a value wrapped in a done() to signal to reduce() that you’re done.

Besides these new functions and tools, purrr 0.3.0 is mostly a polishing release. We have improved the consistency of behaviour:

  • modify() is now a wrapper around [[<- instead of [<-. This makes it compatible with a larger variety of S3 vector classes.

  • Predicate functions (such that you would pass to map_if()) now must return a single TRUE or FALSE. Missing values and integers are no longer valid predicate outputs.

Finally, we improved the consistency of the interface:

  • The direction of iteration/application is now consistently specified with a .dir argument.

  • Many missing functions were added to fill the gaps: accumulate2(), imodify(), map_depth(), …

  • partial() has a much improved and more flexible interface.

Find a detailed account of the changes in the NEWS file.

New pluck variants

pluck() implements a generalised form of [[ that allow you to index deeply and flexibly into data structures. For instance, pluck(x, "foo", 2) is equivalent to x[["foo"]][[2]]. You can also supply a default value in case the element does not exist. For instance, pluck(x, "foo", 2, .default = NA) is equivalent to x[["foo"]][[2]], returning an NA if that element doesn’t exist. purrr 0.3.0 introduces variants of pluck() to make it easier to work with deep data structures.

Pluck assignment

This release introduces the new functions pluck<-, assign_in() and modify_in() as assignment variants of pluck(). To illustrate deep assignment, let’s create a nested data structure:

x <- list(foo = list(1, 2), bar = list(3, 4))
str(x)
#> List of 2
#>  $ foo:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 1
#>   ..$ : num 2
#>  $ bar:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 3
#>   ..$ : num 4

This sort of repeated structure is the kind of data where pluck() shines:

pluck(x, "foo", 2)
#> [1] 2

pluck(x, "bar", 1)
#> [1] 3

You can now use the same syntax to modify the data:

pluck(x, "foo", 2) <- 100
str(x)
#> List of 2
#>  $ foo:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 1
#>   ..$ : num 100
#>  $ bar:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 3
#>   ..$ : num 4

pluck<- also has a functional form that does not modify objects in your environment, but instead returns a modified copy:

out <- assign_in(x, list("foo", 2), 2000)

# The object is still the same as before
str(x)
#> List of 2
#>  $ foo:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 1
#>   ..$ : num 100
#>  $ bar:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 3
#>   ..$ : num 4

# The modified data is in `out`
str(out)
#> List of 2
#>  $ foo:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 1
#>   ..$ : num 2000
#>  $ bar:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 3
#>   ..$ : num 4

Finally, modify_in() is a variant of modify() that only changes the pluck location with the result of applying a function:

out <- modify_in(x, list("foo", 2), as.character)
str(out)
#> List of 2
#>  $ foo:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 1
#>   ..$ : chr "100"
#>  $ bar:List of 2
#>   ..$ : num 3
#>   ..$ : num 4

Stricter pluck()

Thanks to Daniel Barnett (@daniel-barnett on Github), pluck() now has a stricter cousin chuck(). Whereas pluck() is very permissive regarding non-existing locations and returns NULL in these cases, and [[ inconsistently returns NULL, NA, or throws an error, chuck() fails consistently with informative messages (i.e., it “chucks” an error message):

pluck(list(1), "foo")
#> NULL

chuck(list(1), "foo")
#> Error: Index 1 is attempting to pluck from an unnamed vector using a string name

Rates

Thanks to Richie Cotton (@richierocks) and Ian Lyttle (@ijlyttle), purrr gains a function operator to make a function call itself repeatedly when an error occurs.

counter <- 0

f <- function(...) {
  if (counter < 2) {
    counter <<- counter + 1
    stop("tilt!")
  }
  "result"
}

f()
#> Error in f(): tilt!

If the function is wrapped with insistently(), it will try a few times before giving up:

# Reset counter
counter <- 0

f2 <- insistently(f)
f2()
#> [1] "result"

Another rate limiting function is slowly(). While insistently() loops by itself, slowly() is designed to be used in your own loops, for instance in a map iteration:

f <- function(...) print(Sys.time())

walk(1:3, f)
#> [1] "2019-02-06 16:22:28 CET"
#> [1] "2019-02-06 16:22:28 CET"
#> [1] "2019-02-06 16:22:28 CET"

walk(1:3, slowly(f))
#> [1] "2019-02-06 16:22:28 CET"
#> [1] "2019-02-06 16:22:29 CET"
#> [1] "2019-02-06 16:22:30 CET"

slowly() uses a constant rate by default while insistently() uses a backoff rate. The rate limiting can be configured with optional jitter via rate_backoff() and rate_delay(), which implement exponential backoff rate and constant rate respectively.

walk(1:3, slowly(f, rate_backoff(2, max_times = Inf)))
#> [1] "2019-02-06 16:22:30 CET"
#> [1] "2019-02-06 16:22:32 CET"
#> [1] "2019-02-06 16:22:34 CET"

Map and reduce improvements

map_if()… or else?

If you like using map_if(), perhaps you’ll find the new .else argument useful. .else is a function applied to elements for which the predicate is FALSE:

map_if(iris, is.numeric, mean, .else = nlevels)
#> $Sepal.Length
#> [1] 5.843333
#> 
#> $Sepal.Width
#> [1] 3.057333
#> 
#> $Petal.Length
#> [1] 3.758
#> 
#> $Petal.Width
#> [1] 1.199333
#> 
#> $Species
#> [1] 3

New map_at() features

Colin Fay (@ColinFay) has added support for tidyselect expressions to map_at() and other _at mappers. This brings the interface of these functions closer to scoped functions from the dplyr package, such as dplyr::mutate_at(). Note that vars() is currently not reexported from purrr, so you need to use dplyr::vars() or ggplot2::vars() for the time being.

suppressMessages(library("dplyr"))

x <- list(
  foo = 1:5,
  bar = 6:10,
  baz = 11:15
)

map_at(x, vars(starts_with("b")), mean)
#> $foo
#> [1] 1 2 3 4 5
#> 
#> $bar
#> [1] 8
#> 
#> $baz
#> [1] 13

map_at() now also supports negative selections:

map_at(x, -2, `*`, 1000)
#> $foo
#> [1] 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
#> 
#> $bar
#> [1]  6  7  8  9 10
#> 
#> $baz
#> [1] 11000 12000 13000 14000 15000

Early termination of reduction

reduce() is an operation that combines the elements of a vector into a single value by calling a binary function repeatedly with the result so far and the next input of a vector. reduce() and its variant accumulate() now support early termination of the reduction. To halt the computation, just return the last value wrapped in a done() box:

# This computes the total sum of the input vector
reduce(1:100, ~ .x + .y)
#> [1] 5050

# This stops as soon as the sum is greater than 50
reduce(1:100, ~ if (.x > 50) done(.x) else .x + .y)
#> [1] 55

This feature takes inspiration from the Clojure language.

Consistency

In this polishing release, a lot of effort went towards consistency of behaviour and of the interface.

Behaviour

Better support for S3 vectors

We are working hard on improving support for S3 vectors in the tidyverse. As of this release, modify() is now a wrapper around [[<- instead of [<-. This should make it directly compatible with a larger set of vector classes. Thanks to the work of Mikko Marttila (@mikmart), pmap() and pwalk() also do a better job of preserving S3 classes. Finally, pluck() now properly calls the [[ methods of S3 objects.

In the next version of purrr, we plan to use the in-development vctrs package to provide more principled and predictable vector operations. This should help us preserve the class and properties of S3 vectors like factors, dates, or your custom classes.

Stricter predicate checking

purrr now checks the results of your predicate functions, which must now consistently return TRUE or FALSE. We no longer offer support for NA or for boolish numeric values (R normally interprets 0 as FALSE and all other values as TRUE). The purpose of this change is to detect errors earlier with a more relevant error message.

keep(c(1, NA, 3), ~ . %% 2 == 0)
#> Error: Predicate functions must return a single `TRUE` or `FALSE`, not a missing value

Interface

Direction of application

The direction of application is now specified the same way across purrr functions. reduce(), compose() and detect() now have a .dir parameter that can take the value "forward" or "backward". This terminology should be less ambiguous than “left” and “right”:

reduce(1:4, `-`, .dir = "backward")

compose(foo, bar, .dir = "forward")

detect(1:5, ~ . %% 2 == 0, .dir = "backward")

Note that the backward version of reduce() (called right-reduce in the literature) applies the reduced function in a slightly different way than reduce_right(). The new algorithm is more consistent with how this operation is usually defined in other languages.

Following the introduction of the .dir parameters, the _right variants such as reduce_right() have been soft-deprecated, as well as the .right parameter of detect() and detect_index().

partial()

partial() has been rewritten to be a simple wrapper around call_modify() and eval_tidy() from the rlang package. Consequently, the .env, .lazy and .first arguments are soft-deprecated and replaced by a flexible syntax.

To control the timing of evaluation, unquote the partialised arguments that should be evaluated only once when the function is created. The non-unquoted arguments are evaluated at each invokation of the function:

my_list <- partial(list, lazy = rnorm(3), eager = !!rnorm(3))

my_list()
#> $lazy
#> [1]  0.2945451  0.3897943 -1.2080762
#> 
#> $eager
#> [1] -0.1842525 -1.3713305 -0.5991677

my_list()
#> $lazy
#> [1] -0.3636760 -1.6266727 -0.2564784
#> 
#> $eager
#> [1] -0.1842525 -1.3713305 -0.5991677

You can also control the position of the future arguments by passing an empty ... = parameter. This syntax is powered by rlang::call_modify() and allows you to add or move dots in a quoted function call. In the case of partial(), the dots represent the future arguments. We use this syntax in the following snippet to position the future arguments right between two partialised arguments:

my_list <- partial(list, 1, ... = , 2)

my_list()
#> [[1]]
#> [1] 1
#> 
#> [[2]]
#> [1] 2

my_list("foo")
#> [[1]]
#> [1] 1
#> 
#> [[2]]
#> [1] "foo"
#> 
#> [[3]]
#> [1] 2

exec() replaces invoke()

We are retiring invoke() and invoke_map() in favour of exec(). Retirement means that we’ll keep these functions indefinitely in the package, but we won’t add features or recommend using them.

We are now favouring exec(), which uses the tidy dots syntax for passing lists of arguments:

# Before:
invoke(mean, list(na.rm = TRUE), x = 1:10)
#> [1] 5.5

# After
exec(mean, 1:10, !!!list(na.rm = TRUE))
#> [1] 5.5

Filling the missing parts

  • purrr 0.3.0 introduces accumulate2(), modify2() and imodify() variants.

  • By popular request, at_depth() is back as map_depth(). Unlike modify_depth() which preserves the class structure of the input tree, this variant only returns trees made of lists of lists (up to the given depth), coercing vectors if needed.

Contents
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