[R] difference between Primitive and Generic
murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Mon Mar 9 11:29:55 CET 2009
Edna Bell wrote:
> Dear R Gurus:
> What is the difference between a Primitive and a Generic, please?
They are talking about different things (though both look like
functions): generic talks about the user interface, primitive talks
about the internal implementation.
A generic is a function that will dispatch to a method, based on the
class (or classes, in the case of S4) of what gets passed to it.
A primitive is a way to implement internal functions in R. You can
write generic functions, but you need to modify the R source to write a
primitive. Details of the primitive implementation are in the R
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