(fwd) Re: [R] the underscore ("_") in variable name

Duncan Murdoch dmurdoch at pair.com
Tue Oct 3 14:31:32 CEST 2000

On Tue, 03 Oct 2000 10:55:28 +0000, Alberto Murta <amurta at ipimar.pt>

> And objectively, it's a fact that "<-"
>makes the code easier to read than "_".

I don't follow this argument.  Underscore isn't used anywhere else in
the language, so when you see one, you know it's an assignment.  On
the other hand, both "<" and "-" have multiple other uses.  This leads
to lots of possibilities for confusion:

  x <--5 
  x < -5
  x <- 5

are easily confused, whereas

  x _-5
  x < -5
  x _ 5

are not.

(Of course, I actually prefer the Pascalian :=, but I realize that
puts me in a double minority :-).

Duncan Murdoch
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