[Rd] assigning NULLs to elements of a list
Jeffrey J. Hallman
jhallman at frb.gov
Tue Feb 12 16:58:28 CET 2008
>From your tone, I gather you don't much like this behavior, and I can see your
point, as it not very intuitive that setting a list element to NULL deletes
any existing element at that index. But is there a better way to delete an
element from a list? Maybe there should be.
Prof Brian Ripley <ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk> writes:
>> I have just came across an (unexpected to me) behaviour of lists when
>> assigning NULLs to list elements. I understand that a NULL is a valid R
>> object, thus assigning a NULL to a list element should yield exactly the
>> same result as assigning any other object. So I was surprised when
>> assigning a NULL in fact removed the element from the list. Is this an
>> intended behaviour? If so, does anybody know where is it documented and
>> what is a good way around?
> Yes, it was apparently intended: R has long done this.
> x <- list(a=c(1L,2L), b=matrix(runif(4),2,2), c=LETTERS[1:3])
> x <- list(NULL)
> is what I think you are intending.
> See e.g. the comment in subassign.c
> /* If "val" is NULL, this is an element deletion */
> /* if there is a match to "nlist" otherwise "x" */
> /* is unchanged. The attributes need adjustment. */
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