[R] R is GNU S, not C.... [was "how to get or store ....."]

Xiaofan Li xiaofan.mlist at gmail.com
Tue Dec 6 16:13:08 CET 2005

I consistently use ";" at every end of my R code and have found it much more
neat than those sentences without an end; for "<-" and "=", if I were the
author I would rather take the first representation as a sign of
passing-by-reference while the latter by value.

Xiaofan Li
DAMTP, University of Cambridge, CB3 0WA, UK
Tel +44 7886 614030, Email xl252 at cam.ac.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch
[mailto:r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch] On Behalf Of vincent at 7d4.com
Sent: 06 December 2005 14:16
To: rHelp
Subject: Re: [R] R is GNU S, not C.... [was "how to get or store ....."]

Martin Maechler a écrit :

> please, please,  these trailing ";"  are  *so* ugly.
> This is GNU S, not C (or matlab) !
> but I'll be happy already if you could drop these ugly empty 
> statements at the end of your lines...

May I disagree ?
I find missing ";" at end of lines *so* ugly.
Ugly/not ugly depends on our observer's eyes.
 From my programmer point of view, I prefer to mark clearly the end of the
In many languages, it's safer to do it this way, and I thank the R
developers to permit it.
(in my opinion, it should even be mandatory).
(By the way, marking the end of lines with a unique symbol makes also the
job easier for the following treatment.) And yes, I'm also a C programmer

 > {and I have another chain of argments why   "<-" is so more
 > expressive than "="

Why "<-" seems better than "=" is also quite mysterious for me.
There was a discussion about this point recently I think.
I believe in 99% of cases it's more for historical reason (and perhaps also
for some "snob" reasons).

I am not at all a 20 years experienced R programmer, but I have written
several hundreds of R lines those 6 last months, and until today didn't get
any problem using "=" instead of "<-".

But I'll read your chain of arguments with interest.

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