Erlang Central

String Eval

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You want to evaluate Erlang code stored in a string (this is Meta Programming on the fly).


Use erl_scan:string/1 to convert the string into a list of tokens, then use erl_parse:parse_exprs/1 to generate the Erlang intermediate representation, then finally use erl_eval:exprs/2 to generate the final output:


eval(S,Environ) ->
    {ok,Scanned,_} = erl_scan:string(S),
    {ok,Parsed} = erl_parse:parse_exprs(Scanned),

1> string_eval:eval("A = 1 + 2.",[]).

Now, this is an admittedly baroque way to determine the value of 1 + 2, but it does give you interesting access to the inner workings of the Erlang interpreter.

In addition, you can bind in variables into the string as shown in the test module below:



    %% Create a code string with unbound variables 'A' and 'B'
    %% Scan the code into tokens
    io:format("ErlTokens are ~p~n",[ErlTokens]),

    %% Now parse the tokens into the abstract form
    io:format("ErlAbsForm are ~p~n",[ErlAbsForm]),

    %% Now we need to bind values to variable 'A' and 'B'
    io:format("The bindings are ~p~n",[erl_eval:bindings(NewBindings)]),

    %% Now evaluate the string
    io:format("Going into erl_eval:exprs~n",[]),
    io:format("Value is ~p~n",[Value]).

You can compile and run this in the shell:

(arrian@psyduck)17> c(test).
(arrian@psyduck)18> test:test().
ErlTokens are [{var,1,'Results'},
ErlAbsForm are [{match,1,
The bindings are [{'A',20},{'B',45}]
Going into erl_eval:exprs
Value is 42.5000

Note: If you bind variables that don't exist in the code string/token set/abstract form then when you erl_eval the abstract form will simply silently ignore your additional bindings