eval Function

Or “How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot even Easier”

Saving the best for last, there is the ever-dreaded… eval function!

let x = 10;

fn foo(x) { x += 12; x }

let script =
    let y = x;
    y += foo(y);
    x + y

let result = eval(script);      // <- look, JavaScript, we can also do this!

result == 42;

x == 10;                        // prints 10 - arguments are passed by value
y == 32;                        // prints 32 - variables defined in 'eval' persist!

eval("{ let z = y }");          // to keep a variable local, use a statements block

print(z);                       // <- error: variable 'z' not found

"print(42)".eval();             // <- nope... method-call style doesn't work with 'eval'

eval executes inside the current scope!

Script segments passed to eval execute inside the current Scope, so they can access and modify everything, including all variables that are visible at that position in code!

let script = "x += 32";

let x = 10;
eval(script);       // variable 'x' is visible!
print(x);           // prints 42

// The above is equivalent to:
let script = "x += 32";
let x = 10;
x += 32;

eval can also be used to define new variables and do other things normally forbidden inside a function call.

let script = "let x = 42";
print(x);           // prints 42

Treat it as if the script segments are physically pasted in at the position of the eval call.

Cannot define new functions

New functions cannot be defined within an eval call, since functions can only be defined at the global level!

eval is evil

For those who subscribe to the (very sensible) motto of eval is evil”, disable eval via Engine::disable_symbol.

// Disable usage of 'eval'

Do you regret implementing eval in Rhai?

Or course we do.

Having the possibility of an eval call disrupts any predictability in the Rhai script, thus disabling a large number of optimizations.

Why did it then???!!!

Brendan Eich puts it well: “it is just too easy to implement.” (source wanted)