[Bioc-devel] sapply and vapply
Henrik Bengtsson
henr|k@bengt@@on @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Wed Aug 12 19:01:21 CEST 2020
FWIW,
> sapply(X, length) - always numeric(1) (integer(1) or double(1) for vectors of more than 2^31 - 1 elements)
Actually, the length of length(x) may not be 1L, e.g.
> x <- Formula::Formula(~ x)
> length(x)
[1] 0 1
>From help("length", package = "base"):
"Warning: Package authors have written methods that return a result of
length other than one (Formula) and that return a vector of type
double (Matrix), even with non-integer values (earlier versions of
sets). Where a single double value is returned that can be represented
as an integer it is returned as a length-one integer vector."
I/we recently learned this the hard way
(https://github.com/HenrikBengtsson/future/issues/395). It's rather
unfortunate that not even length() is strictly defined here, I'd say.
I think we could move away from this if lengths() would be a generic
so lengths(x) could be used above. But that's a discussion for
R-devel.
/Henrik
On Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 9:33 AM Laurent Gatto
<laurent.gatto using uclouvain.be> wrote:
>
> Dear all,
>
> I have a quick question regarding the usage of vapply and sapply. The former is recommended to insure that the output is always a vector of a specific type. For example:
>
> > df1 <- data.frame(x = 1:3, y = LETTERS[1:3]) ## OK test
> > df2 <- data.frame(x = 1:3, y = Sys.time() + 1:3) ## Not OK test
> > sapply(df1, class) ## vector of chars, OK
> x y
> "integer" "character"
> > sapply(df2, class) ## ouch, not a vector
> $x
> [1] "integer"
>
> $y
> [1] "POSIXct" "POSIXt"
>
> > vapply(df2, class, character(1)) ## prefer an error rather than a list
> Error in vapply(df2, class, character(1)) : values must be length 1,
> but FUN(X[[2]]) result is length 2
>
> There are cases, however, were FUN ensures that the output will be of length 1 and of a expected type. For example
>
> - sapply(X, all) - all() always returns logical(1)
> - sapply(X, length) - always numeric(1) (integer(1) or double(1) for vectors of more than 2^31 - 1 elements)
>
> or more generally
>
> - sapply(X, slot, "myslot") - slot() will always return a character(1) because @myslot is always character(1) (as defined by the class)
>
> Would you still recommend to use vapply() in such cases?
>
> Thank you in advance.
>
> Laurent
>
>
>
>
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