[Rd] RFC: type conversion in read.table

Kurt Hornik Kurt.Hornik@ci.tuwien.ac.at
Sat, 1 Sep 2001 11:20:01 +0200

>>>>> A J Rossini writes:

>>>>> "BDR" == Brian D Ripley <Prof> writes:
>>> I would also be happier if we did not refer to the variables
>>> explicitly as `columns'.  (This sounds a bit stupid from the
>>> person who wrote write.table and introduced arguments
>>> `row.names' and `col.names'.  Although, at least one of these
>>> was modelled after an existing function).  E.g. something like
>>> read.table(......, caseNames, varNames, varClasses, .....)
>>> would be nice ...

BDR> The problem is that what is being referred to *is* columns
BDR> and not variables.  If you have row names on the file, the
BDR> numbering is different.  So it matters to use sufficiently
BDR> precise terminology.

> I would tend to agree with Brian.

I do too :-)

> To me, caseNames / varNames sounds a rather bit arrogant, since there
> are a number of other "formats" (contingency tables come to mind) for
> which read.table is one possible way for slurping in the data prior to
> munging it, though I guess one could argue that this is an abuse of
> tools.

I would certain argue along these lines.  read.table() is a bit strange
in the sense that its naming indicates that it is a reader for data in
`tabular' format, but the fact that it creates a data frame indicates
that it makes certain assumptions ...

And of course, you can use read.ftable to read in contingency tables.


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