So you want mylist[[1:2]] to return something (other than an error) when mylist is a list.
What if mylist <- list( 1:10, 101:110 , some.other.things) so the first 2 elements are vectors of length 10. then mylist[1:2] makes sense as still being a list with the 2 vectors. What should mylist[[1:2]] return in this case? One vector of length 20? or should it return a matrix with 2 columns and 10 rows. Both of those make sense, how should the computer decide between them (it may be obvious to you knowing the context, but how can the computer decide). You can do either of these in R by giving the computer a bit more information (as.matrix or unlist). What if one of the vectors is character and one is numeric, what should the return object be? What if the first element of mylist is the return object from "lm" and the second element is a function, what should mylist[[1:2]] return then?
If you can come up with a set of rules that will cover every possible case, then someone may be willing to implement those rules. But while it is not obvious what to return without giving extra information, it is better to require the extra information through other functions.
________________________________
From: r-help-bounces@r-project.org on behalf of Olivier Lefevre
Sent: Sat 4/26/2008 9:43 AM
To: r-help@stat.math.ethz.ch
Subject: Re: [R] matrix from list
Olivier Lefevre wrote:
> Anyway you are right that it would still return the kind of object, only
> subsetted, which is not I want.
I mean [] would do that; I know [[]] doesn't. Yet I still don't see why one
accepts vector arguments but not the other: they are both indexing
operators. It is such inconsistencies that make languages hard to learn.
-- O.L.
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