Workspace encapsulation object

This class creates an encapsulated workspace object to which scripts and other code may be applied without affecting the base workspace.
Updated 29 Feb 2020

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Frequently it is desired to manipulate variables within a given MATLAB workspace conveniently in bulk, whether to emulate multiple workspaces, to cache variables without using a .mat file, or to pack/unpack variables from the fields of a structure. The following existing submissions provide some measure of this functionality.

Multiple workspaces without .mat save:

Copy current workspace to base workspace:

Convert struct fields to variables (no assignin):

Pack/unpack struct fields to/from variables (with assignin):

This submission combines many of the ideas in these existing submissions into a single framework, but also adds the following new features:
- Object-oriented encapsulation of workspace state
- Global variable packing/unpacking
- Save/load of encapsulated workspace state to/from .mat file
- Execution of code and scripts within the context of a captured workspaces state rather than the main workspace.

The last feature I consider to be especially novel and useful. It does not seem to be part of any other submission I have found. This feature allows encapsulation of the execution results of a script from the controlling workspace.

Here is a highlights demo of the feature set.

%Do some things in the workspace
a = 1;
b = 'hello';
global c
c = 10;
c12 = 'foo';

%Pack all these up into an object
ws = Workspaces.pack();

%This workspace can then be saved in a memory store'myws', ws);

%Even if the base workspace is cleared
clear global

%the workspace can be retreived
ws = Workspaces.recall('myws');

%and unpacked

%so now all the values are back
%including the global
whos global
Name Size Bytes Class Attributes

c 1x1 8 double global

clear global

%variables can be partially unpacked
ws.unpack('a', 'b');

%this supports unpacking all except a list
ws.unpack('-not', 'c');

%and also regexp notation
ws.unpack('-regexp', '^[b-d]')

%or all except a regexp
ws.unpack('-notregexp', '^c\d+')

%We can also unpacked using function outputs
[a, c12] = ws.get('a','c12');

%or explicitly by using the object properties
a2 = ws.variables.a;
c2 = ws.globals.c;

%If the object has many vars, we can request a code string to do
%the unpacking so we don't "poof" variables with evalin
ws.unpack_code('ws') %the output is auto-copied to the clipboard as well
'a = ws.variables.a;
b = ws.variables.b;
c12 = ws.variables.c12;
global c
c = ws.globals.c;

%We can assign some of the variables from this workspace to another
ws2 ='a', '-regexp', '^c\d+');

%and update the workspace values from other structs or workspace objects
s.b = 5;
ws = ws.update(s); %this will update only vars that exist
s.f = 'bar';
ws = ws.update(s); %this will also add new variables

%of course the variables can be updated through the properties
ws.variables.c12 = 13;
ws.globals.g = 20; %new global

%or set through the 'set' method
ws = ws.set('c12', 31, '-global', 'g2', 100); %another new global

%All these features were present in previous submissions in some form.
%(except the treatment of globals)
%But now the new features...
clear global
ws = Workspaces.recall('myws');

%make an assignment involving variables inside the object
ws = ws.exec('a = a + 1')
%you can even make new variables this way
ws = ws.exec('d = 200')

%evaluate an expression using the workspace values
disp(ws.eval('10*a + d'))

%save the contents of the object to a .mat file'myws.mat', '-v7.3', '-nocompression'); %the full set of save args are supported

%and load to another object
ws2 = Workspaces.load('myws.mat', 'c*') %again the full args to load are supported

%finally the piece de resistance
%the effects of entire scripts can be encapsulated within an object
ws ='script1.m'); %none of the polluting effects of script1 are visible in the base
ws ='script2.m'); %script2 depends on script1 results
%out of all the script run, we just wanted one result using a name we control
my_result = ws.get('result')

Cite As

Benjamin Davis (2024). Workspace encapsulation object (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2019b
Compatible with R2016a and later releases
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux
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