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A dfn (contraction of direct function or dynamic function, pronounced "dee fun") is an alternative way to define a function and operator, invented by John Scholes. A dfn operator can also be called a dop (pronounced "dee op").

John Scholes was responsible for numerous presentations and publications on and about dfns, and until his passing he maintained the dfns workspace, a collection of dfns examples.

As of 2020, dfns are fully implemented in Dyalog APL, NARS2000, ngn/apl, dzaima/APL, and partially in GNU APL, although not all dialects implement lexical scoping, in contrast to the dynamic scoping of tradfns. In other words, a dfn cannot "see" locals of its caller, but can see locals of its definer.

Wikipedia includes a thorough treatment of dfns.


      {*0.5} 16        ⍝ square root
      3 {} 27       ⍝ ⍺th root
      ⍝ Multiline dfn with optional left parameter and conditional result
          2           ⍝ square root by default
          =0:0         ⍝ return zero if zeroth root
                    ⍝ result

External links



APL syntax [edit]
General Comparison with traditional mathematicsPrecedenceTacit programming
Array Numeric literalStringStrand notationObject literalArray notation
Function ArgumentFunction valenceDerived functionDerived operatorNiladic functionMonadic functionDyadic functionAmbivalent functionDefined function (traditional)DfnFunction train
Operator OperandOperator valenceTradopDopDerived operator
Assignment MultipleIndexedSelectiveModified
Other Function axisBranchQuad nameSystem commandUser commandKeywordDot notationFunction-operator overloadingControl structure