[R] two questions for R beginners

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at gmail.com
Tue Mar 2 13:53:26 CET 2010

On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 7:27 AM, Duncan Murdoch <murdoch at stats.uwo.ca> wrote:
> John Sorkin wrote:
>> Please take what follows not as an ad hominem statement, but rather as an
>> attempt to improve what is already an excellent program, that has been built
>> as a result of many, many hours of dedicated work by many, many unpaid,
>> unsung volunteers.
>> It troubles me a bit that when a confusing aspect of R is pointed out the
>> response is not to try to improve the language so as to avoid the confusion,
>> but rather to state that the confusion is inherent in the language. I
>> understand that to make changes that would avoid the confusing aspect of the
>> language that has been discussed in this thread would take time and effort
>> by an R wizard (which I am not), time and effort that would not be
>> compensated in the traditional sense. This does not mean that we should not
>> acknowledge the confusion. If we what R to be the de facto lingua franca of
>> statistical analysis doesn't it make sense to strive for syntax that is as
>> straight forward and consistent as possible?
> I think you've misunderstood the argument.  It would not be hard to make the
> suggested change.  I don't object to it because it would be too much work, I
> object to it because I think it is not an improvement.  Dataframes and
> matrices are different, and there is no way to avoid that fact.
> The arguments in favour of the change seem to be these:

Users of zoo have some experience with this since zoo uses matrices to
represent 2d time series and originally did not support $ as a column
extractor but now does.  I was originally opposed to adding it for the
reasons you state but it was eventually added and having used it for
some time now since it got into the package I must say that it is very
convenient and I now regard it as a definite improvement in user
experience.  Certainly I use the feature all the time.

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