[Rd] CRAN policies

William Dunlap wdunlap at tibco.com
Thu Mar 29 20:29:58 CEST 2012

Bill Dunlap
Spotfire, TIBCO Software
wdunlap tibco.com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-devel-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-devel-bounces at r-project.org] On Behalf
> Of Matthew Dowle
> Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 10:41 AM
> To: r-devel at stat.math.ethz.ch
> Subject: Re: [Rd] CRAN policies
> William Dunlap <wdunlap <at> tibco.com> writes:
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > The survival package has a similar special case: the routines for
> > > expected population survival are set up to accept multiple types of date
> > > format so have lines like
> > >      if (class(x) == 'chron') { y <- as.numeric(x - chron("01/01/1960")}
> > > This leaves me with two extraneous "no visible binding" messages.
> >
> > Suppose we defined a function like
> >   NO_VISIBLE_BINDING(expr) expr
> > and added an entry to the stuff in codetools so that it
> > would not check for misspelled object names in call to
> > NO_VISIBLE_BINDING.  Then Terry could write that line as
> >      if (class(x) == "chron") { y <- as.numeric(x - NO_VISIBLE_BINDING(chron)
> ("01/01/1960")}
> > and the Notes would disappear.
> >
> That's ok for package code, but what about test suites?  Say there was a test
> on the result of "with(DF,a+b)", you wouldn't want to change the test to "with
> (DF,NO_VISIBLE_BINDING(a)+NO_VISIBLE_BINDING(b))" not just because that's long
> and onerous, but because that's *changing* the test i.e. introducing a
> difference between what's tested and what user code will do.

I don't know if test suites need to be checked for no visible bindings -
if there is a real problem the test ought to fail.

codetools should be able to do special checks for known functions that
do not following the standard evaluation rules .   E.g., do not check any
arguments of `~`, do not check the 'expr' argument of with, do not check
the subset or weights arguments of lm.

If a package writer introduces a new function with nonstandard evaluation,
perhaps the package could include some information about the matter
in a file that codetools could could source before running its checks.

Bill Dunlap
Spotfire, TIBCO Software
wdunlap tibco.com
> As others suggested, how about a new category: MEMO. The "no visible binding"
> NOTE would be downgraded to MEMO. CRAN maintainers could then ignore MEMOs
> more
> easily.
> What I really like about NOTES is that when new checks are added to R then as a
> package maintainer you know you don't have to fix them straight away. If a new
> WARNING shows up on r-devel daily checks, however, then you've got some warning
> about the WARNING that you need to fix more urgently and may even accelerate a
> release. So it's not just about checks when submitting a package, but what
> happens afterwards as R itself (and packages in Depends) move on. In other
> words, you know you need to fix new NOTES but not as urgently as new WARNINGS.
> Matthew
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