Introducing the Builtin Class

..index:: Builtin

Most of the time you’ll probably need to pass information into the Function you want to add. For this, use the Builtin class. In WL these things functions and variables defined this way are tagged as a “Built-in Symbol”.

The method that you should define in the Builtin class that should get invoked needs to start off with the name apply. As before, this method has an evaluation parameter at the end.

Other parameters that are appropriate for the function can be added. However those parameters must also be listed suffixed with an underscore (_) in the Python method’s docstring in a special way.

The docstring is used by Builtin’s default evaluate() method when trying to resolve what Python method to call. The docstring looks pretty much the same as it would look if you were defining this in WL.

For example, let’s add a string parameter. In Mathics the function might look like this:

Hello[s_String] := Print["Hello, " <> s <> "!"]

In Python then the apply() method looks like this:

def apply(self, person, evaluation):
      return String(f"Hello, {person.get_string_value()}!")

Here is the complete code:

from mathics.builtin.base import Builtin, String

class Hello(Builtin):
  def apply(self, person: String, evaluation) -> String:
        return String(f"Hello, {person.get_string_value()}!")

The parameter person has type Mathics String. Therefore, to use that for use in Python, we need to convert it to a Python value. This is done with person.get_string_value(). And the the return value also needs to be a Mathics String so we need to convert the Python string in Python back to a Mathics String.

Previously, since we weren’t modifying the Mathics String, no conversions to Python and from Python were needed.

See Patterns for more information about how to specify expressions with patterns in them that you might use in an apply() method docstring.