[R] questions on some operators in R

Horace Tso Horace.Tso at pgn.com
Fri Jun 18 23:15:15 CEST 2010

You still couldn't sway me into the <- camp. '=' is better for yet two more reasons,

1. it requires one keystroke, rather than two,

2. to type '<', one has to hold Shift then the ',' key, so it's a total of three strokes all together. 

In a typical script, you have hundreds of assignment statements. Those extra keystroke translate into quite a bit more wear on your fingers.


-----Original Message-----
From: Erik Iverson [mailto:eriki at ccbr.umn.edu] 
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2010 1:23 PM
To: Greg Snow
Cc: Horace Tso; li li; r-help
Subject: Re: [R] questions on some operators in R

Greg Snow wrote:
> Your example could also be used as an argument against allowing '=' as a shortcut for <- after all if you are used to using <- (rather than =) then you will see the problem with x<-2 right off.  But if we eliminate <- and only use =, then how do you do:
>> mean( x <- rnorm(100) )
> Or 
>> system.time( output <- longrunningfunction(args) )
> Is 
>> mean( { x=rnorm(100) } )
> Really and improvement?

Certainly not in my mind!

For me, here is certainly an undefinable aesthetic appeal to the '<-' 
assignment operator.  The visual requirement of seeing '<-' for me is so 
strong, that even when running example code from this list, I must 
replace all assignments done with '=' to '<-' before submitting them to 
R! I've also noticed that there seems to be an association between using 
'=' for assignments and writing code with 0 spaces per line in it.  Of 
course, I insist on fixing that before running the code, too.  :)

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