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Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:36 am
by abvgdeika
I found the following example of a strange behaviour of command EVAL inside LET constructions. Executing the code
Code: Select all
(setf z 666)
(let ((z 14))
    (print z)
    (eval '(setf www z))
  )

results in printing the value 14 of the variable z inside LET construction, but the variable www takes the value 666, not 14!

A very similar code
Code: Select all
(setf z 666)
(let ((z 14))
    (print z)
    (setf www z)
  )

results in the value 14 of the variable www, as expected.
Can someone explain this situation?

Re: Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:48 am
by Goheeca
Because eval evaluates its argument in the null lexical environment.
The environment can be captured to an environment object by a macro then to be passed to another macro but the environment object is implementation-dependent so you can't easily build lexical environment from that.

Re: Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:54 am
by abvgdeika
Thank you for the explanation!
U found the right code which does what expected and still uses EVAL:
Code: Select all
(setf z 666)
(let ((z 14))
    (eval `(setf www ',z))
  )

It is a bit involved combination of ` ' and , characters before variable z but the result is the value 14 of variable www, as expected!

Re: Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:33 am
by Paul
abvgdeika wrote:I found the following example of a strange behaviour of command EVAL inside LET constructions. Executing the code
Code: Select all
(setf z 666)
(let ((z 14))
    (print z)
    (eval '(setf www z))
  )

results in printing the value 14 of the variable z inside LET construction, but the variable www takes the value 666, not 14!

A very similar code
Code: Select all
(setf z 666)
(let ((z 14))
    (print z)
    (setf www z)
  )

results in the value 14 of the variable www, as expected.
Can someone explain this situation?


Try this in your lisp:
Code: Select all
(defun try (x)
(print z))

(setf z 666)
(let ((z 14))
 (try))


Do you know why it prints 666 instead of 14? The reason is the same as why your code acts the way it does (but note that it doesn't have to...what you've written is not strictly legal in Common Lisp; in my implementation it sets www to 14, and (try) prints 14. Why? Because (setf z 666) doesn't have any meaning when z doesn't exist -- you need a DEFVAR or DEFPARAMETER, or a LET or something, to make a variable called z before you can say (setf z 666), and you haven't got one.)

Re: Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:42 am
by Konfusius
Eval can be useful if you want to write your own repl or interpreter. But in 99% of the cases where beginners tend to use eval there is a better solution using functional objects and funcall. It also executes much faster than eval.
Code: Select all
(setf z 666)
(let ((z 14))
    (print z)
    (funcall #'(lambda () (setf www z))))

Re: Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:56 pm
by sylwester
The hyperspec says it evaluates the expression in the current dynamic environment, but the null lexical environment.

Thus:
Code: Select all
(defparameter z 666) ; z is dynamicly scoped
(let ((z 14))
  (eval '(setf www z)))

www
==> 14

Since z is dynamicly scoped and not lexical.
So what let is shadowing is important.

Re: Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:38 pm
by abvgdeika
Thanks for all answers!
I still have some problems with lexical closures, now even without "eval" operator.
When executing the following code
Code: Select all
(setf a 666)
(setf command '(+ a 1) )
 
(let ((a 13))
  (funcall    (list 'lambda () command)     )   
)

the result of the last "let" construction is 667 but not 14 as expected.
My question: is there any clever way to "execute" the variable COMMAND inside "let" constiruction
so that this execution uses the current value of variable "A" which is 13?

Re: Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:45 pm
by sylwester
(list 'lambda () command) returns a lambda-expression not a evaluated lambda-expression so this won't work in many CL-implementations.
As mentioned before; If you declare a dynamically scoped it will do what you want.
Code: Select all
(defparameter a 666)
(setf command (lambda () (+ a 1)))
 
(let ((a 13))
  (funcall command) ==> 14
)

;; OR
(defparameter a 666)
(defun command () (+ a 1))
 
(let ((a 13))
  (command) ==> 14
)

Re: Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:31 pm
by abvgdeika
After some experiments I found a right replacement of EVAL operator which works as expected inside lexical closures. This is the following macro:
Code: Select all
(defmacro true-eval (command-expression)
  `(macrolet ((evaluate () ,command-expression))
     (evaluate)
     ))

Here is a testing code:
Code: Select all
(setf command '(+ c j) )
(setf c 666)
(loop for j from 1 to 3 do
      (let ((c -13))
        (print (true-eval command) )
        ) )

Resulting printed sequence of values is -12 -11 -10 as expected!
Even a nested call of "true-eval" works:
Code: Select all
(setf inner-command '(+ c j) )
(setf outer-command '(* 10 (true-eval inner-command))  )
(setf c 666)
(loop for j from 1 to 3 do
      (let ((c -13))
        (print (true-eval outer-command) )
        )
      )

Resulting printed sequence is -120 -110 -100 as expected!

Re: Behaviour of EVAL inside LET

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:47 am
by Goheeca
Why don't you use simply quasiquotation in this case?
Code: Select all
(loop for i below 10 do (print (eval `(+ 20 ,i))))

Because true-eval isn't really a right replacement, let me show it:
Code: Select all
(loop for i below 3 do (format t "~a> ~a~%" i (eval (read))))

vs.
Code: Select all
(loop for i below 3 do (format t "~a> ~a~%" i (true-eval (read))))

The macroexpansion works during the compile time.
// Add finish-output if it's needed.