I would like to ensure that the input arguments to a user-defined MATLAB function (contained in an m-file) are of a certain type. I understand that MATLAB automatically assigns data types to variables (to the liking of some and the dismay of others), but I would like to know if there is an option of "strict data typing" in MATLAB, or something of the sort, especially for input arguments for a user-defined function.
I found a helpful explanation of MATLAB's "fundamental classes" (data types) at these two webpages:
However, I have been unable to find an answer to the question of strict data typing, particularly for function input arguments. I thought it would be a pretty basic question that already had been answered in numerous places, but after extensive searching I have not yet found a conclusive answer. For now, I have been manually checking the data type using the
is[TYPE]() functions and displaying an error message if it does not comply, though this seems sloppy and I wish I could just get MATLAB to enforce it for me.
Below is an example of a function in which I would like to specify the input argument data type. It resides in a file called
strict_data_type_test.m in MATLAB's current path. In this function, I would like to force the variable
yes_or_no to be of MATLAB's
logical data type. I know I can use the
islogical() function to manually check, but my question is if it is possible to have MATLAB enforce it for me. I also know that any non-zero double evaluates to true and a zero evaluates to false, but I want to force the user to send a
logical to make sure the wrong argument was not sent in by accident, for example. Here is the example function:
function y = strict_data_type_test( x, yes_or_no )
% manual data type check can go here, but manual check is not desirable
y = 2 .* x;
y = -5 .* x;
Adding the data type before the input argument variable name (like in most programming languages) treats the data type text as another variable name instead of a data type identifier. From that it would seem that strict data typing is not possible in MATLAB by any means, but maybe one of you many gurus knows a useful trick, feature, or syntax that I have not been able to find.
I've gotten some great responses so I can't pick just one as the "accepted answer", but to summarize what I've learned from you all so far:
edit followed by the function name. Two suggested functions to look at are
normpdf() (from the Statistics toolbox) and
integral(). Some other functions I found helpful to look at are
inputParser class was the overall concensus on the most professional way to validate input arguments. It was noted on a related (but not duplicate) stackoverflow post that the newer MathWorks functions tend to make use of this class, suggesting that it may be the best and most up-to-date choice.