[Rd] Methods package is now attached by default
Sat Jan 18 15:12:02 2003
Prof Brian D Ripley wrote:
> On Fri, 17 Jan 2003, John Chambers wrote:
> > There are two main known differences from having methods attached:
> > - the definition of class() changes, in particular no object ever has a
> > NULL class. If you have code that depends on test such as
> > `if(is.null(class(x)))...', there may be problems.
> > Usually code with those sort of tests is doing a workaround of the fact
> > that not all objects had a class before. The best solution is usually
> > to ask what the code really wants to do. If you do have to retain
> > exactly the old behavior, one solution is to copy the version of class
> > and class<- from the base package and use those (as baseClass and
> > baseClass<-, e.g.) instead of class and class<-).
> Here is one example, which makes the MASS scripts fail.
> > library(MASS)
> > corresp
> function (x, ...)
> if (is.null(class(x)))
> class(x) <- data.class(x)
> UseMethod("corresp", x, ...)
> That used to work with matrices, and dispatch to corresp.matrix.
> Now a matrix has reported class "matrix" but dispatch occurs to
> corresp.default. The temporary fix is to remove the is.null condition.
> That's quite a common construction, and I think I should expect UseMethod
> to dispatch on the class class() reports. So it looks to me as if
> UseMethod needs to be altered to do so.
I agree. This seems an example of the workaround to dispatch on
"classes" that didn't have a class attribute in the old style.
The only situation I can see immediately that would be broken by a
change to UseMethod on these lines would be a case that, e.g., a
foo.matrix existed but the programmer wanted to dispatch foo.default on
matrix objects without an explicit class attribute. Seems rather
Can anyone think of other situations that would break?
> Brian D. Ripley, email@example.com
> Professor of Applied Statistics, http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
> University of Oxford, Tel: +44 1865 272861 (self)
> 1 South Parks Road, +44 1865 272866 (PA)
> Oxford OX1 3TG, UK Fax: +44 1865 272595
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John M. Chambers email@example.com
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