Evaluate an object in the enclosing context

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Within a procedure, context(object) evaluates object in the context of the calling procedure.

Most MuPAD® procedures evaluate their arguments before executing the body of the procedure. However, if the procedure is declared with option hold, then the arguments are passed to the procedure unevaluated. context serves to evaluate such arguments a posteriori from within the procedure.

Like most MuPAD procedures, context first evaluates its argument object as usual in the context of the current procedure. Then the result is evaluated again in the dynamical context that was valid before the current procedure was called. The enclosing context is either the interactive level or the procedure that called the current procedure.

"func_call"-methods of domains never evaluate their arguments, whether the option hold is used or not. See Example 2.

context is sensitive to the value of the environment variable LEVEL, which determines the maximal depth of the recursive process that replaces an identifier by its value during evaluation. The evaluation of the argument takes place with the value of LEVEL that is valid in the current procedure, which is 1 by default. The second evaluation uses the value of LEVEL that is valid in the enclosing context, which is usually 1 if the enclosing context is also a procedure, while it is 100 by default if the enclosing context is the interactive level. See Example 3.


The function context must not be called at interactive level, and context calls must not be nested. Thus it is not possible to evaluate an object in higher levels of the dynamical call stack. See Example 4.

Environment Interactions

context is sensitive to the value of the environment variable LEVEL, which determines the maximal substitution depth for identifiers.


Example 1

We define a procedure f with option hold. If this procedure is called with an identifier as argument, such as a below, the identifier itself is the actual argument inside of f. context may be used to get the value of a in the outer context:

a := 2:
f := proc(i)
       option hold;
       print(i, context(i), i^2 + 2, context(i^2 + 2));

If a procedure with option hold is called from another procedure you will see strange effects if the procedure with option hold does not evaluate its formal parameters with context. Here, the value of the formal parameter j in g is the variable i which is defined in the context of procedure f and not its value 4. When you want to access the value of this variable you have to use context, otherwise you see the output DOM_VAR(0,2) which is the variable i of f which has lost its scope:

f := proc()
       local i;
       i := 4:
g := proc(j)
       option hold;
       print(j, eval(j), context(j));
       print(j + 1)

Example 2

The "func_call" method of a domain is implicitly declared with option hold. We define a "func_call" method for the domain DOM_STRING of MuPAD strings. The slot routine converts its remaining arguments into strings and appends them to the first argument, which coincides with the string that is the 0th operand of the function call:

DOM_STRING::func_call := 
  string -> _concat(string, map(args(2..args(0)), expr2text)):
a := 1:  "abc"(1, a, x)

You see that the identifier a was added to the string, and not its value 1. Use context to access the value that a has before the "func_call" method is invoked:

DOM_STRING::func_call := 
  string -> _concat(string, map(context(args(2..args(0))), 
"abc"(1, a, x);
delete DOM_STRING::func_call:  protect(DOM_STRING, Error):

Example 3

This example shows the influence of the environment variable LEVEL on the evaluation of context and the differences to the functions eval and level. p is a function with option hold. x is a formal parameter of this procedure. When evaluating their arguments context, eval and level all replace x first by its value a. Then eval evaluates a in the current context with LEVEL = 1 and yields the value b. context evaluates a in the enclosing context (which is the interactive level) with LEVEL = 100 and yields c. level always returns the result of the first evaluation step, which is a.

When the LEVEL of the interactive level is 1, context returns b like eval since the second evaluation is performed with LEVEL = 1 like in eval.

The local variable b of p does not influence the evaluation in context, eval and level since it is only a locally declared variable of type DOM_VAR which has nothing to do with the identifier b, which is the value of a:

delete a, b, c:  a := b:  b := c: 
p := proc(x) 
       option hold;
       local b;
       b := 2;
       eval(x), context(x), level(x), level(x,2);
LEVEL := 1: p(a);
delete LEVEL:

Example 4

The function context must not be called at interactive level:

Error: Function call not supported on interactive level. [context]
 Error: Function call not
allowed on interactive level. [context] 



Any MuPAD object

Return Values

Evaluated object.

See Also

MuPAD Domains

MuPAD Functions