[Rd] write.table

Peter Dalgaard BSA p.dalgaard@biostat.ku.dk
07 Dec 2000 14:22:25 +0100

Prof Brian Ripley <ripley@stats.ox.ac.uk> writes:

> > Just to pick a nit: Could we make a habit of distinguishing between
> > "names" and "identifiers"? The latter being the syntactical term in
> > the R language, briefly the names that you don't need to use get() to
> > access. "123" and "Height in cm" are valid names, but not valid
> > identifiers.
> The argument is called `check.names', and has description
> check.names: if `TRUE' then the names of the variables in the data
>           frame are checked to ensure that they are valid variable
>           names.  If necessary they are adjusted (by `make.names') so
>           that they are.
> So `make.names' should be renamed as `make.identifiers'.  That is
> described as
> make.names               package:base               R Documentation
> Make Legal R Names Out of Strings
> Description:
>      Make legal R names out of every `names[i]' string. Invalid
>      characters are translated to `"."'.
> More plausibly, you are proposing a new distinction ....

Hmm. The current distinction would seem to be between "names" and
"legal R names" or "valid variable names", of which certainly the
latter is misleading since you can easily have variables with weird
names like "[<-". But you're probably right that we are to some extent
stuck with existing terminology, here and elsewhere. I think I would
want to push a convention of using "R names" for the syntactical
entities, then.  

   O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             Blegdamsvej 3  
  c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     2200 Cph. N   
 (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark      Ph: (+45) 35327918
~~~~~~~~~~ - (p.dalgaard@biostat.ku.dk)             FAX: (+45) 35327907
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