Re: [Rd] A possible improvement to apropos

From: Seth Falcon <sfalcon_at_fhcrc.org>
Date: Thu 14 Dec 2006 - 15:16:30 GMT

Martin Maechler <maechler@stat.math.ethz.ch> writes:

> Hi Seth,
> Could you live with typing 'i=T' (i.e. ignore.case=TRUE)?

I can live with my ~/.Rprofile, I suppose. :-)

> In principle, I'd like to keep the default as ignore.case=FALSE,
> since we'd really should teach the users that R
> *is* case sensitive.
> Ignoring case is the exception in the S/R/C world, not the rule

Let me try to argue why I think the default should be case insensitive.

   This is a _search_ function. If you aren't even sure what    something is called, how can you expect to know how it will be    capitalized? Making search functions less likely to return what    the user is looking for seems quite odd to me.

   Learning what functions are available has higher precedence, IMO,    than being reminded about case sensitivity. Imagine a user hoping    to find 'getClass' that doesn't always remember case-sensitivity    rules:    

       apropos("class")  
       ## Doesn't find the function at all.
       ## Writes a message to R-help without reading the posting guide

       APROPOS("class")
       ## user: "oh, that looks like what I want"
       getclass("foo")
       ## user: "why didn't it work?" ... "ah, maybe I have to spell
       ## it exactly"
       getClass("foo")
       ## happy user

   Remember, the _results_ will be displayed in proper case and a    common next step (should be) to read the man page and possibly try    an example -- especially if a first attempt fails.

Have I made any progress?

Regards,

+ seth



R-devel@r-project.org mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel Received on Fri Dec 15 12:25:58 2006

Archive maintained by Robert King, hosted by the discipline of statistics at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Archive generated by hypermail 2.1.8, at Sat 16 Dec 2006 - 04:31:02 GMT.

Mailing list information is available at https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel. Please read the posting guide before posting to the list.