[Rd] Which programming paradigm is the most used for make R packages?

Thomas Lumley tlumley at u.washington.edu
Thu Jan 4 16:35:25 CET 2007

On Thu, 4 Jan 2007, Ricardo Rios wrote:
> engineering). I think , the programming paradigm most used for make R
> packages is the functional programming , but I don't know this
> statistic. I need this information in my thesis.

Then you may be in trouble. R (and S before it) are not tidily 
classifiable.  R supports functional programming, and object-oriented 
programming, but most large bodies of code would not satisfy a purist in 
either area.  S3 classes are a very weak OOP mechanism, and R code usually 
has too much assignment to qualify as functional programming. It is also 
quite possible to write old-fashioned purely imperative code in R [a Real 
Programmer can write Fortran in any language], and some people do this.

So, in order to find out what is most widely used you need some way to 
take a probability sample of R programs, and then some criteria for 
classifying them.  All you can get from this list is information on what R 
supports, and a convenience sample of opinions on how programming should 
be done, which won't be sufficient if this really is an important issue in 
your thesis.

If you were willing to take published packages as representative 
then CRAN and Bioconductor are available for sampling....


Thomas Lumley			Assoc. Professor, Biostatistics
tlumley at u.washington.edu	University of Washington, Seattle

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