[R] R annoyances

Jari Oksanen jari.oksanen at oulu.fi
Fri May 20 20:29:15 CEST 2005

On 20 May 2005, at 16:37, Philippe Grosjean wrote:

> The only aspect I don't like is a too loosely use of the dot in 
> functions: both in functions names, in object classes and in generic 
> functions / methods. Hence, we have for instance: 'data.frame', 
> 'help.search' and 'summary.matrix'... just guess which one is an 
> object class, which one is an ordinary function and which one is a S3 
> method (OK, S4 solves somehow the problem)? It would have been much 
> better to *reserve* the use of a dot in a function name as a separator 
> between the name of the generic function and the class to which it 
> applies. Thus, 'summary.matrix' would have been correct, but both 
> 'data.frame' and 'help.search' should have been spelled differently, 
> perhaps 'dataframe' and 'helpSearch'. Just a dream... because 
> 'data.frame' will of course never be spelled differently!!!

The most beautiful thing in old R (I started with 0.63) was that it was 
in the elegant unix tradition: all lower case and point (full stop, 
period, whatever) in places where you needed it. It is unfortunate that 
other languages are creeping in and old neat constructions are replaces 
with C++ style uGliNess. There was a grace period when switching from 
beautiful (fair) print.coefmat to ugLy printCoefmat, but some changes 
were more abrupt (package.description). I have a feeling that the 
recent trashing of names.dist (with a lot of code breakage even in base 
R) was caused by the same kind of political correctness.

Please Mr R, keep it like it used to be...

cheers, jari oksanen
Jari Oksanen, Oulu, Finland

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