[R-pkg-devel] tibbles are not data frames

Joris Meys Joris.Meys at ugent.be
Tue Sep 26 16:15:28 CEST 2017

On Tue, Sep 26, 2017 at 3:38 PM, Hadley Wickham <h.wickham at gmail.com> wrote:

> So we should never try and improve upon legacy behaviour? I don't
> understand what you're arguing for here. If a tibble didn't inherit
> from a data frame, it would be useless.
> Hadley
> --
> http://hadley.nz

I didn't say that. I said a tibble does not react always like a data.frame,
and you of all people know very well that this is by design. I consider
this a good design choice, but it also means one shouldn't expect that all
code that works with a data.frame will also work with a tibble.

By design.

That's what initiated this entire discussion, and that is a correct
assessment. I am not arguing for any change, and said before that it is up
to the package developer to choose whether he/she takes tibbles into
account. It's not because I comment on tibbles or the tidyverse, that it is
meant as a frontal attack on your work. I cannot repeat enough how much I
value that. But the difference should be acknowledged, and imho in the
first place by the user.

I for one am happy this discussion pops up, because it's a piece of
information I give to my students as well: convert to a data.frame when you
start your analysis just to play safe. And this discussion shows why that
is -for the time being!- a good advice. The moment tibbles become the
default data format in R, or some R++, or in Julia for all I care, I'll be
more than happy to burn that drop = FALSE on a stake. But for now we can't
ignore the differences and the potential for conflicts when you try to use
a tibble instead of a data.frame.

With respect

Joris Meys
Statistical consultant

Ghent University
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
Department of Mathematical Modelling, Statistics and Bio-Informatics

tel : +32 9 264 59 87
Joris.Meys at Ugent.be
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