Binding and Environment Locking, Active Bindings

These functions represent an interface for adjustments to environments and bindings within environments. They allow for locking environments as well as individual bindings, and for linking a variable to a function.

lockEnvironment(env, bindings = FALSE)
lockBinding(sym, env)
unlockBinding(sym, env)
bindingIsLocked(sym, env)

makeActiveBinding(sym, fun, env) bindingIsActive(sym, env)


an environment.


logical specifying whether bindings should be locked.


a name object or character string.


a function taking zero or one arguments.


The function lockEnvironment locks its environment argument, which must be a normal environment (not base). (Locking the base environment and namespace may be supported later.) Locking the environment prevents adding or removing variable bindings from the environment. Changing the value of a variable is still possible unless the binding has been locked. The namespace environments of packages with namespaces are locked when loaded.

lockBinding locks individual bindings in the specified environment. The value of a locked binding cannot be changed. Locked bindings may be removed from an environment unless the environment is locked.

makeActiveBinding installs fun in environment env so that getting the value of sym calls fun with no arguments, and assigning to sym calls fun with one argument, the value to be assigned. This allows the implementation of things like C variables linked to R variables and variables linked to databases, and is used to implement setRefClass. It may also be useful for making thread-safe versions of some system globals.


The bindingIsLocked and environmentIsLocked return a length-one logical vector. The remaining functions return NULL, invisibly.

  • bindenv
  • lockEnvironment
  • environmentIsLocked
  • lockBinding
  • unlockBinding
  • makeActiveBinding
  • bindingIsLocked
  • bindingIsActive
library(base) # locking environments e <- new.env() assign("x", 1, envir = e) get("x", envir = e) lockEnvironment(e) get("x", envir = e) assign("x", 2, envir = e) try(assign("y", 2, envir = e)) # error # locking bindings e <- new.env() assign("x", 1, envir = e) get("x", envir = e) lockBinding("x", e) try(assign("x", 2, envir = e)) # error unlockBinding("x", e) assign("x", 2, envir = e) get("x", envir = e) # active bindings f <- local( { x <- 1 function(v) { if (missing(v)) cat("get\n") else { cat("set\n") x <<- v } x } }) makeActiveBinding("fred", f, .GlobalEnv) bindingIsActive("fred", .GlobalEnv) fred fred <- 2 fred
Documentation reproduced from package base, version 3.4.1, License: Part of R 3.4.1

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