This is a brief introduction. The syntax is:

functionName = function(inputs) {
< function body >
return(value)
}

Then you would run the 4 lines of the code, which adds it to your workspace.

Here we will write a function that returns the second element of a vector:

return2 = function(x) {
return(x)
}
return2(c(1,4,5,76))
 4

Note that your function will automatically return the last line of code run:

return2a = function(x) {
x
}
return2a(c(1,4,5,76))
 4

And if your function is really one line or evaluation, like here, you do not need the curly brackets, and you can put everything on one line:

return2b = function(x) x
return2b(c(1,4,5,76))
 4

Also note that functions can take multiple inputs. Maybe you want users to select which element to extract

return2c = function(x,n) x[n]
return2c(c(1,4,5,76), 3)
 5

## Writing a simple function

Let’s write a function, sqdif, that:

1. takes two numbers x and y with default values of 2 and 3.
2. takes the difference
3. squares this difference
4. then returns the final value

## Writing a simple function

sqdif <- function(x=2,y=3){
(x-y)^2
}

sqdif()
 1
sqdif(x=10,y=5)
 25
sqdif(10,5)
 25

Try to write a function called top() that takes a matrix or data.frame, and returns the first n rows and columns, with the default value of n=5.

Try to write a function called top() that takes a matrix or data.frame, and returns the first n rows and columns

top = function(mat,n=5) mat[1:n,1:n]
my.mat = matrix(1:1000,nr=100)
top(my.mat) #note that we are using the default value for n 
     [,1] [,2] [,3] [,4] [,5]
[1,]    1  101  201  301  401
[2,]    2  102  202  302  402
[3,]    3  103  203  303  403
[4,]    4  104  204  304  404
[5,]    5  105  205  305  405

## Custom functions in apply

You can also designate functions “on the fly”

matList = list(x = matrix(1:25,nc=5),y=matrix(26:50,nc=5))
lapply(matList, function(x) x[1:2,1:2])
$x [,1] [,2] [1,] 1 6 [2,] 2 7$y
[,1] [,2]
[1,]   26   31
[2,]   27   32

## Simple apply

sapply() is a user-friendly version and wrapper of lapply by default returning a vector, matrix, or array

sapply(matList, dim)
     x y
[1,] 5 5
[2,] 5 5
sapply(matList, class)
       x        y
"matrix" "matrix" 
myList = list(a=1:10, b=c(2,4,5), c = c("a","b","c"),
d = factor(c("boy","girl","girl")))
tmp = lapply(myList,function(x) x)
tmp
$a  1$b
 2

$c  "a"$d
 boy
Levels: boy girl
sapply(tmp, class)
          a           b           c           d
"integer"   "numeric" "character"    "factor" 

sapply can also be applied to columns of data frames

library(readr)
sapply(circ,class)
             day             date  orangeBoardings orangeAlightings
"integer"        "numeric"        "numeric"