[Rd] Wish list

Frank E Harrell Jr feh3k at spamcop.net
Mon Jan 19 13:51:34 MET 2004

On Sun, 18 Jan 2004 18:47:52 -0500
Duncan Murdoch <dmurdoch at pair.com> wrote:

> On Sat, 17 Jan 2004 09:33:10 -0500, you wrote:
> >I also share your views about namespaces.  These have caused numerous
> >problems for me.  It would be nice to have more of a mechanism to put
> >"feelers" out to the R user community when major changes are planned. 
> Changes always show up in r-devel (the main CVS branch, not the
> mailing list) first.  Package developers should be keeping a
> relatively up to date copy of it around if they're doing things that
> are likely to break.

I need to do that more often.  But sometimes it's hard to know what things
I do that are likely to break.  That's where there needs to be some other
mechanism for user communications.

> >In Hmisc and Design I reference several functions that were not
> >exported from packages that now use namespaces.  There is an elegant
> >solution with the package:::function notation, 
> I'd recommend avoiding that as much as you can.  If things aren't
> exported from a package, then the package writer is likely to feel
> free to change them without warning.  It's much better to convince the
> package writer that they missed something in their export list.

That's a good solution in general, but I could see legitimate
disagreements about what should be exported, so this will not always solve
the problem.

> >but I have been unable to use this
> >solution because I use one code base for all versions of R and S-Plus. 
> >This notation generates syntax errors in all but late versions of R.
> I think it's reasonable to restrict the availability of updates to
> your packages to the currently released R version.  There are reasons
> why people might not be up to date (e.g. only doing upgrades at a
> specific time of year), but they'll still have access via CRAN to
> older versions of your package.
> Compatibility with S-PLUS is a lot harder, of course.  

Yes that's the real problem.

Thanks Duncan  -Frank

> Duncan Murdoch

Frank E Harrell Jr   Professor and Chair           School of Medicine
                     Department of Biostatistics   Vanderbilt University

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