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The email_blast() function is useful for sending an email message that explains the result of a pointblank validation. It is powered by the blastula and glue packages. This function should be invoked as part of the end_fns argument of create_agent(). It's also possible to invoke email_blast() as part of the fns argument of the action_levels() function (i.e., to send multiple email messages at the granularity of different validation steps exceeding failure thresholds).

To better get a handle on emailing with email_blast(), the analogous email_create() function can be used with a pointblank agent object.


  credentials = NULL,
  msg_subject = NULL,
  msg_header = NULL,
  msg_body = stock_msg_body(),
  msg_footer = stock_msg_footer(),
  send_condition = ~TRUE %in% x$notify



A reference to the x-list object prepared internally by the agent. This version of the x-list is the same as that generated via get_agent_x_list(<agent>) except this version is internally generated and hence only available in an internal evaluation context.

to, from

The email addresses for the recipients and of the sender.


A credentials list object that is produced by either of the blastula::creds(), blastula::creds_anonymous(), blastula::creds_key(), or blastula::creds_file() functions. Please refer to the blastula documentation for information on how to use these functions.


The subject line of the email message.

msg_header, msg_body, msg_footer

Content for the header, body, and footer components of the HTML email message.


An expression that should evaluate to a logical vector of length 1. If evaluated as TRUE then the email will be sent, if FALSE then that won't happen. The expression can use x-list variables (e.g., x$notify, x$type, etc.) and all of those variables can be explored using the get_agent_x_list() function. The default expression is ~ TRUE %in% x$notify, which results in TRUE if there are any TRUE values in the x$notify logical vector (i.e., any validation step that results in a 'notify' state).


Nothing is returned. The end result is the side-effect of email-sending if certain conditions are met.


A pointblank agent can be written to YAML with yaml_write() and the resulting YAML can be used to regenerate an agent (with yaml_read_agent()) or interrogate the target table (via yaml_agent_interrogate()). Here is an example of how the use of email_blast() inside the end_fns argument of create_agent() is expressed in R code and in the corresponding YAML representation.

R statement:

  tbl = ~ small_table,
  tbl_name = "small_table",
  label = "An example.",
  actions = al,
  end_fns = list(
    ~ email_blast(
      to = "",
      from = "",
      msg_subject = "Table Validation",
      credentials = blastula::creds_key(
        id = "smtp2go"
) %>%
  col_vals_gt(a, 1) %>%
  col_vals_lt(a, 7) 

YAML representation:

type: agent
tbl: ~small_table
tbl_name: small_table
label: An example.
lang: en
locale: en
  warn_count: 1.0
  notify_count: 2.0
end_fns: ~email_blast(x, to = "", 
  from = "", msg_subject = "Table Validation",
  credentials = blastula::creds_key(id = "smtp2go"),
embed_report: true
- col_vals_gt:
    columns: c(a)
    value: 1.0
- col_vals_lt:
    columns: c(a)
    value: 7.0


For the example provided here, we'll use the included small_table dataset. We are also going to create an action_levels() list object since this is useful for demonstrating an emailing scenario. It will have absolute values for the warn and notify states (with thresholds of 1 and 2 'fail' units, respectively, for the two states).

al <- 
    warn_at = 1,
    notify_at = 2

Validate that values in column a from small_tbl are always greater than 1 (with the col_vals_gt() validation function), and, that values in a or are always less than 7.

The email_blast() function call is used in a list given to the end_fns argument of create_agent(). The email_blast() call itself has a send_condition argument that determines whether or not an email will be sent. By default this is set to ~ TRUE %in% x$notify. Let's unpack this a bit. The variable x is a list (we call it an x-list) and it will be populated with elements pertaining to the agent. After interrogation, and only if action levels were set for the notify state, x$notify will be present as a logical vector where the length corresponds to the number of validation steps. Thus, if any of those steps entered the notify state (here, it would take two or more failing test units, per step, for that to happen), then the statement as a whole is TRUE and the email of the interrogation report will be sent. Here is the complete set of statements for the creation of an agent, the addition of validation steps, and the interrogation of data in small_table:

agent <-
    tbl = small_table,
    tbl_name = "small_table",
    label = "An example.",
    actions = al,
    end_fns = list(
      ~ email_blast(
        to =   "",
        from = "",
        msg_subject = "Table Validation",
        credentials = blastula::creds_key(id = "smtp2go"),
        send_condition = ~ TRUE %in% x$notify
  ) %>%
  col_vals_gt(a, value = 1) %>%
  col_vals_lt(a, value = 7) %>%

The reason for the ~ present in the statements:

  • ~ email_blast(...) and

  • ~ TRUE %in% x$notify

is because this defers evocation of the emailing functionality (and also defers evaluation of the send_condition value) until interrogation is complete (with interrogate()).

Function ID


See also