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The log4r_step() function can be used as an action in the action_levels() function (as a list component for the fns list). Place a call to this function in every failure condition that should produce a log (i.e., warn, stop, notify). Only the failure condition with the highest severity for a given validation step will produce a log entry (skipping failure conditions with lower severity) so long as the call to log4r_step() is present.


log4r_step(x, message = NULL, append_to = "pb_log_file")



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


The message to use for the log entry. When not provided, a default glue string is used for the messaging. This is dynamic since the internal glue::glue() call occurs in the same environment as x, the x-list that's constrained to the validation step. The default message, used when message = NULL is the glue string "Step {x$i} exceeded the {level} failure threshold (f_failed = {x$f_failed}) ['{x$type}']". As can be seen, a custom message can be crafted that uses other elements of the x-list with the {x$<component>} construction.


The file to which log entries at the warn level are appended. This can alternatively be one or more log4r appenders.


Nothing is returned however log files may be written in very specific conditions.


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 log4r_step() can be expressed in R code (within action_levels(), itself inside create_agent()) and in the corresponding YAML representation.

R statement:

  tbl = ~ small_table,
  tbl_name = "small_table",
  label = "An example.",
  actions = action_levels(
    warn_at = 1,
    fns = list(
      warn = ~ log4r_step(
        x, append_to = "example_log"

YAML representation:

type: agent
tbl: ~small_table
tbl_name: small_table
label: An example.
lang: en
locale: en
  warn_count: 1.0
    warn: ~log4r_step(x, append_to = "example_log")
steps: []

Should you need to preview the transformation of an agent to YAML (without any committing anything to disk), use the yaml_agent_string() function. If you already have a .yml file that holds an agent, you can get a glimpse of the R expressions that are used to regenerate that agent with yaml_agent_show_exprs().


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 a logging scenario. It will have a threshold for the warn state, and, an associated function that should be invoked whenever the warn state is entered. Here, the function call with log4r_step() will be invoked whenever there is one failing test unit.

al <-
    warn_at = 1,
    fns = list(
      warn = ~ log4r_step(
        x, append_to = "example_log"

Within the action_levels()-produced object, it's important to match things up: notice that warn_at is given a threshold and the list of functions given to fns has a warn component.

Printing al will show us the settings for the action_levels object:

#> -- The `action_levels` settings
#> WARN failure threshold of 1test units.
#> \fns\ ~ log4r_step(x, append_to = "example_log")
#> ----

Let's create an agent with small_table as the target table. We'll apply the action_levels object created above as al, add two validation steps, and then interrogate() the data.

agent <- 
    tbl = ~ small_table,
    tbl_name = "small_table",
    label = "An example.",
    actions = al
  ) %>%
  col_vals_gt(columns = d, 300) %>%
  col_vals_in_set(columns = f, c("low", "high")) %>%


This image was generated from the first code example in the `log4r_step()` help file.

From the agent report, we can see that both steps have yielded warnings upon interrogation (i.e., filled yellow circles in the W column).

What's not immediately apparent is that when entering the warn state in each validation step during interrogation, the log4r_step() function call was twice invoked! This generated an "example_log" file in the working directory (since it was not present before the interrogation) and log entries were appended to the file. Here are the contents of the file:

WARN  [2022-06-28 10:06:01] Step 1 exceeded the WARN failure threshold
  (f_failed = 0.15385) ['col_vals_gt']
WARN  [2022-06-28 10:06:01] Step 2 exceeded the WARN failure threshold
  (f_failed = 0.15385) ['col_vals_in_set']

Function ID