How to partially validate arguments?

2 views (last 30 days)
Rewriting some legacy code to arguments block style I run into cases where I should validate some arguments and pass the rest as is to other functions. This is about what I would like to accomplish:
function f1(positional, optional_positional, options, varargin)
arguments
positional;
optional_positional = 0;
% options validated by f1
options.f1_option = true;
end
arguments (Repeating)
% arguments without validation, to be validated by f2
varargin;
end
% Doing things with validated arguments goes here.
% Eventually passing the non-validated arguments to another function.
f2(varargin{:});
end
Above leads to an error:
Function argument definition error in f1. Functions with positional and name-value arguments must define positional arguments first.
So it would seem what I'm trying to do isn't exactly supported. Did I make a mistake somewhere? Is there another way of doing it?
Edit: What I'm after is very similar to inputParser KeppUnmatched option: Input parser for functions - MATLAB - MathWorks Nordic

Accepted Answer

Bruno Luong
Bruno Luong on 21 Mar 2022
Edited: Bruno Luong on 21 Mar 2022
I believe the issue is that your argument isn't self consistent.
When you use syntax such as
optional_positional = 1
That means you can call the function with single argument
f1(0);
MATLAB won't be able to know what is the varargin, it is started from 4th input argument, or 2th argument, 3rd argument?
You simply cannot at tell MATLAB some function arguments has default value when they are not passed, and at the same time still have varargin. It is not problem of not supporting, it's rather a logical of which argument corresponds to which that is ambigeous.
  1 Comment
Andreas Urbán
Andreas Urbán on 21 Mar 2022
I appreciate the second opinion. Makes much sense.
Given varargin is pairs of arguments, and that there is only one positional, and that arguments block allows for name=value argument passing syntax, it is technically possible for Matlab to find an unambiguous solution for some calls. I can relate to not bother supporting it.
Trying a few more things I think I have an alternate design that is feasible for the rewriting I'm doing. Will post it soon.

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More Answers (1)

Andreas Urbán
Andreas Urbán on 21 Mar 2022
Edited: Andreas Urbán on 21 Mar 2022
As Bruno points out there are possible ambiguities how to interpret any function call when mixing optional positional with varargin and the likes.
With that in mind and working on my code some more, I found myself using this solution:
function f1(positional, options)
arguments
positional;
% optional_positional NOT positional anymore
% Refactoring suggestion: f1(0, 1) -> f1(0, 'optional_positional', 1)
options.optional_positional = 0;
options.f1_option = true;
% similar to varargin
% Refactoring suggestion: f1(0, args{:}) -> f1(0, 'f2Args', args)
options.f2Args cell = {};
end
% Passing non-validated arguments to another function.
f2(options.f2Args{:});
end

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