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Re: [O] [PATCH] * lisp/ob-core.el (org-babel-execute-src-block): insert

From: Aaron Ecay
Subject: Re: [O] [PATCH] * lisp/ob-core.el (org-babel-execute-src-block): insert hash for silent results
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 00:49:35 -0400
User-agent: Notmuch/0.15.2+43~ge848af8 (http://notmuchmail.org) Emacs/ (x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu)

Hi Eric,

I’m jointly replying to 2 of your emails.

2013ko martxoak 13an, Eric Schulte-ek idatzi zuen:
> This is what is already taking place.  The :var header arguments are
> automatically expanded into dependencies between code blocks, and the
> results of previous code blocks are included in the hash calculation of
> the current code block.

Wow, I did not realize that the :var handling was so sophisticated.
Would it be possible to introduce a :depends code-block-name header
argument, which recycles the same dependency calculation but does not
bind a variable in the code block?  Many of the variables that I rely on
between blocks are large data frames, and I worry that dumping them into
the org buffer and then reloading them into R[fn:1] will result in a
slowdown and/or loss of some structure in the data.

[fn:1] My understanding of the :var-handling code is that this is how it
acquires the values to assign to the variables, as opposed to re-using a
variable that is present in a session.  But the code is complex, so
maybe I’m wrong (again).

I also think this would make the feature more discoverable: a :var is
just a sub-type of :depends, with extra functionality.  Coming from a
Sweave/knitr background, I expected something like :depends, and thus
didn’t notice :var

> From re-looking at Achim's previous noweb example, it seems that we
> currently do *not* include the values of noweb expansions in code block
> hash calculations, I think this is a bug which should be fixed.


> To echo Achim's response, you've accidentally uttered Org-mode heresy.

Oh no.  The good news is that thanks to your and Achim’s explanation, I
think I now understand this principle better.

>>> Oh yes, there's a whole set of _other_ problems that are waiting to be
>>> solved.  :-)
>> There always is.  :-)
> I think Org-mode already provides the bulk of what is desired.  If we
> agree to treat ":cache yes :results none" as obviously taking place for
> side effects, and then sticking a hash behind the :cache header argument
> with the code block, then what functionality would be missing?

This was more of a joke on my part: life gets boring when you run out of
problems to work on.  In this specific case, though:
1) a :depends header argument
2) including the session PID in results hashes by default (because it is
   the only sensible thing to do)

2013ko martxoak 13an, Eric Schulte-ek idatzi zuen:
> Well, I suppose one man's dirty kludge is another's beautiful hack.  The
> question here is whether the complexity lies in the implementation (and
> thus the interface) or in the code block itself.  While I generally
> prefer the later, in this case of ":results none :cache yes" I would be
> open to placing some custom logic in the backend, which stores the hash
> value with the code block, possibly changing
>      #+begin_src R :cache yes
>        # code to perform side effect
>      #+end_src
> to
>      #+begin_src R :cache 9f4e5b4b07e93c680ab37fc4ba1f75e1bfc0ee0a
>        # code to perform side effect
>      #+end_src
> keeping in mind that the actual hash value should be hidden after the
> first couple of characters.

If you like this solution, may I try once more to convince you of the
empty #+RESULTS solution I originally proposed?  I looked at the code
for inserting/hiding/finding hash values, and it looks like it would be
complicated to change.  Empty #+RESULTS is easy, although perhaps less
conceptually pure.

If you want the cache in the header, I think I can try to work on a
patch, but it does look tricky.  So I am not sure I will have time to
work on it until next week.  (If anyone else wants to beat me to the
punch, please feel free!)

One question: should we have the cache in the header only for :results
none blocks, or for all blocks?

> I was actually very proud of this solution.  It is what would be done by
> the framework if we did implement custom support, but by doing it with
> code blocks the exact mechanics are visible to the user.

Agreed.  But if it is the only “right” thing to do, or one of a very
small set of “right” things, I think it’s a win in terms of
conciseness/ease of use to do it automatically.  And I think this is the
case here: the presence of :session yes is a clear signal that there is
out-of-band (from org’s perspective) communication happening between
code blocks, and that the invariance of a result can’t be relied on in a
different session process.  So when the session PID changes, the hash
value should change as well, to trigger reevaluation.

> How should session startup be determined if not through inclusion of the
> session PID in the code block hash?  Perhaps the above could be made
> more elegant through the addition of an elisp function which returns the
> pid of the current R session, allowing the above to be truncated to
> something like the following.
>      #+begin_src R :cache yes :session foo :var pid=(R-pid "foo")
>        # code to perform side effect
>        x <- 'side effect'
>        'done'
>      #+end_src
> I don't suppose ESS provides such a function?

You can get the value with
(process-id (get-process ess-current-process-name)), which you have to
evaluate in the current session buffer (the one that C-c C-v C-z takes
you to).  Generally speaking, I guess each ob-foo should provide a
function to retrieve this value, since it will be different for
different languages.

Aaron Ecay

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