Tag Archives: LittleHelpers

Branching pipes

Here are three little functions that allow for brunching logical pipes as defined in magrittr package. It is against Hadley’s idea, as pipes are in principle linear, and in general I agree, but sometimes it would be comfy to ramify pipes away. It overcomes native magrittr %T>% by allowing more than one step after cutting the pipe.
Imagine you need to create a list with means, correlations, and regression results. And you like to do it in one single pipe. In general, it is not possible, and you’ll have to start a second pipe, probably doing some redundant computations.
Here is an example that allows it:

data.frame(a=1:5, b=1/(1+exp(6:10)) ) %>%
  ramify(1) %>%
    branch(1) %>% colMeans %>%
    branch(2) %>% lm(a ~ b, .) %>% broom::tidy(.) %>%
    branch(3) %>% cor %>%
      ramify(2) %>%
        branch(1) %>% round(2) %>%
        branch(2) %>% psych::fisherz(.) %>%
      harvest(2) %>%
  • ramify() – Saves current result into temporary object .buf and identifies a point in the pipe where branching will happen. Argument is an id of ramification.
  • branch() – Starts a new brunch from the ramify point. (brunch(1) can be omitted, as ramify creates the first brunch. Second argument is a family of branches, or parent branch. By default it uses the last parent branch created by last used ramify​.
  • harvest() – Returns contents of all the brunches as a list and clears the buffer.


See proof of concept https://gist.github.com/MaksimRudnev/bf81eab9f39bd830f9f167c669444472

“Pipes are fundamentally linear and expressing complex relationships with them will typically yield confusing code.”