[Rd] anonymous functions

Therneau, Terry M., Ph.D. therne@u @end|ng |rom m@yo@edu
Mon Dec 7 17:54:15 CET 2020

“The shorthand form \(x) x + 1 is parsed as function(x) x + 1. It may be helpful in making 
code containing simple function expressions more readable.”

Color me unimpressed.
Over the decades I've seen several "who can write the shortest code" threads: in Fortran, 
in C, in Splus, ...   The same old idea that "short" is a synonym for either elegant, 
readable, or efficient is now being recylced in the tidyverse.   The truth is that "short" 
is actually an antonym for all of these things, at least for anyone else reading the code; 
or for the original coder 30-60 minutes after the "clever" lines were written.  Minimal 
use of the spacebar and/or the return key isn't usually held up as a goal, but creeps into 
many practiioner's code as well.

People are excited by replacing "function(" with "\("?  Really?   Are people typing code 
with their thumbs?
I am ambivalent about pipes: I think it is a great concept, but too many of my colleagues 
think that using pipes = no need for any comments.

As time goes on, I find my goal is to make my code less compact and more readable.  Every 
bug fix or new feature in the survival package now adds more lines of comments or other 
documentation than lines of code.  If I have to puzzle out what a line does, what about 
the poor sod who inherits the maintainance?

Terry M Therneau, PhD
Department of Health Science Research
Mayo Clinic
therneau using mayo.edu

"TERR-ree THUR-noh"

More information about the R-devel mailing list