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

Clive Jenkins clive.jenkins at clara.net
Wed Oct 4 00:46:12 CEST 2000

I too prefer ":=", but I would attribute it to Algol, the ancestor of
Pascal and C. It can be rendered into English as "becomes" or "becomes
equal to". For me, the symbol expresses this well. However I don't think
"=:" expresses the reverse well, so for R I vote for the left- and
right-arrow symbols.

Earlier in this thread there was discussion about the inconvenience of
typing "<-" on certain keyboards. Do we want to design our languages
according to the quirks of our keyboards and character sets? In Algol,
":=" is a single symbol, as indeed are "begin" and "end". And consider
the unreadability of a language like Tex, as compared with the typeset
result! Who needs a numeric keypad that duplicates keys that are found
elsewhere? What we need is a decent symbol keypad.

Clive Jenkins

Duncan Murdoch wrote:
> On Tue, 03 Oct 2000 14:45:32 +0000, you wrote in message
> <39D9F10C.F0E51F4B at ipimar.pt>:
> >Duncan Murdoch wrote:
> >> (Of course, I actually prefer the Pascalian :=, but I realize
> >> that puts me in a double minority :-).
> >>
> >
> >Here I agree with you. I think that future releases of R should
> >have "=" as the assignement operator, just like the last version
> >of S.
> No, please don't!  I was suggesting ":=", not "=", and I wasn't
> serious.  A lone equal sign is used in too many languages (e.g.
> standard mathematical notation, standard pseudocode, Pascal and
> its descendants, etc.) to indicate a statement or test of equality.
> The mis-use of it in Fortran, C and BASIC aren't examples we want
> to follow.
> I think we're stuck with "<-", despite the deficiencies I pointed
> out in my earlier message, and we should learn to live with it.
> I'm ambivalent about " _ ".
> Duncan Murdoch
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