Re: [Rd] S4 NAMESPACE method imports and exports do not include (promoted?) generics from Michael Lawrence on 2011-12-18 (R devel archive)

Re: [Rd] S4 NAMESPACE method imports and exports do not include (promoted?) generics

From: Michael Lawrence <lawrence.michael_at_gene.com>
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2011 06:02:38 -0800

I guess what it boils down to is whether it makes sense for PkgB to have exportMethods(unique) when PkgB does not export(unique) or have PkgA in Depends. And whether it makes sense for PkgC to have importMethodsFrom(PkgB, unique) without importFrom(PkgA, unique). If it is not feasible/sensible to support implicit passing of generics up the dependency stack, then R should probably emit some sort of warning/error when methods are exported or imported without the corresponding generic.

The fact that a generic is being created for an implicit generic defined in 'base' is not really the issue here.

Thanks,
Michael

On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 4:52 PM, John Chambers <jmc_at_r-project.org> wrote:

> The key point here is that setGeneric("unique") is done that way, without
> other argument, whoever does it. That creates the generic from the
> implicit generic corresponding to base::unique. If package A had done
> anything else, the resulting methods tables would NOT refer to package
> "base" but to package "PkgA" and it's that version of the generic that
> would need to be imported.
>
> So it's not particularly relevant that we're dealing with PkgA::unique()
> if the generic function was created from base::unique by the standard call.
> That's what would make an automatic imputation of the generic from
> importMethods() possible.
>
>
> On 12/16/11 2:57 PM, Martin Morgan wrote:
>
>> On 12/16/2011 12:19 PM, John Chambers wrote:
>>
>>> The subject heading is correct if referring to exportMethods() and
>>> importMethodsFrom(). They refer to the methods tables, not the generic
>>> functions, whatever the extensions manual says.
>>>
>>> Looking into the code of namespaceImportMethods() will illustrate this.
>>> It just deals with lists of method tables obtained from .getGenerics()
>>> which in spite of its name also only looks for the method table metadata
>>> objects.
>>>
>>> As I vaguely recall, there was some concern at one time about having
>>> extra copies of the generic version of the function.
>>>
>>> The fundamental problem is that creating methods for unique(), say, does
>>> not change the way calls to base::unique() work. Therefore, all packages
>>> that want to use methods have to ensure that a generic version of unique
>>> gets in between. Primitive functions are an exception because the method
>>> dispatch is in the C code and has a rule for checking when given an S4
>>> object. There is no corresponding provision for evaluating a call to a
>>> regular function.
>>>
>>> If the importing package has a setGeneric() for the relevant function
>>> then its own namespace has the generic version of the function. (That is
>>> a workaround, but I inferred that was what you were trying to avoid.)
>>>
>>> Fixes seem possible, but some care is needed. If exportMethods
>>> automatically exported the generic function, it really is no different
>>> from export() for that function.
>>>
>>
>> export() somehow implies ownership of the generic, e.g., responsibility
>> for documentation. I can see in the scenario below that PkgB might be
>> expected to Depends: PkgA if it intends for the user to access PkgB's
>> methods on PkgA::unique.
>>
>> namespaceImportMethods() could try to supply the generic function if it
>>> is not already present. If it does not find the generic in the namespace
>>> being imported, it would essentially have to call setGeneric(), assuming
>>> the non-generic function exists in the specified package (e.g., in base
>>> for unique()).
>>>
>>
>> In the example below for PkgC the 'unique' generic is in PkgB's
>> namespace imports
>>
>> > getNamespaceImports("PkgB")
>> $base
>> [1] TRUE
>>
>> $PkgA
>> unique
>> "unique"
>>
>> I guess PkgB could have Depends: PkgA, not importFrom(PkgA, unique), and
>> then defined and exported a method on PkgA::unique found on the search
>> path, so that the generic wasn't available to PkgC. But I'd be happy if
>> the generic found in either PkgB's namespace or namespace imports were
>> imported along with the method. Not sure that I like the idea of calling
>> setGeneric() -- PkgA could have done something non-standard -- and would
>> rather an error.
>>
>> Thans for your attention.
>>
>> Martin
>>
>>
>>> Comments?
>>> John
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 12/16/11 6:16 AM, Martin Morgan wrote:
>>>
>>>> tar of Pkgs A, B, C attached. Martin
>>>>
>>>> On 12/15/2011 03:34 PM, Martin Morgan wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> In
>>>>>
>>>>> > R.version.string
>>>>> [1] "R Under development (unstable) (2011-12-15 r57901)"
>>>>>
>>>>> section 1.6.6 of 'Writing R Extensions' says
>>>>>
>>>>> Note that exporting methods on a generic in the namespace will
>>>>> also export the generic, and exporting a generic in the
>>>>> namespace will also export its methods.
>>>>>
>>>>> and
>>>>>
>>>>> Note that importMethodsFrom will also import any generics defined in
>>>>> the namespace on those methods
>>>>>
>>>>> However, if PkgA promotes 'unique' to a generic and exports that
>>>>>
>>>>> DESCRIPTION:
>>>>> Imports: methods
>>>>>
>>>>> R/f.R:
>>>>> setGeneric("unique")
>>>>>
>>>>> NAMESPACE:
>>>>> export(unique)
>>>>>
>>>>> and PkgB creates and exports a method on unique
>>>>>
>>>>> DESCRIPTION
>>>>> Imports: methods, PkgA
>>>>>
>>>>> R/f.R:
>>>>> setClass("B", representation(b="numeric"))
>>>>> setMethod(unique, "B",
>>>>> function(x, incomparables=FALSE, ...) unique(x_at_b))
>>>>>
>>>>> NAMESPACE:
>>>>> importFrom(PkgA, unique)
>>>>> exportClasses(B)
>>>>> exportMethods(unique)
>>>>>
>>>>> and PkgC wants to import PkgB's classes and methods
>>>>>
>>>>> DESCRIPTION
>>>>> Imports: methods, PkgB
>>>>>
>>>>> R/f.R
>>>>> cunique <- function(x) unique(x)
>>>>>
>>>>> NAMESPACE
>>>>> importMethodsFrom(PkgB, unique)
>>>>> export(cunique)
>>>>>
>>>>> then
>>>>>
>>>>> (a) the 'unique' generic is not available to the user of PkgB
>>>>>
>>>>> > library(PkgB)
>>>>> > unique(new("B", b=1:5))
>>>>> Error in unique.default(new("B", b = 1:5)) :
>>>>> unique() applies only to vectors
>>>>>
>>>>> and (b) the generic has not been imported to PkgC's namespace
>>>>>
>>>>> > cunique(new("B", b=1:5))
>>>>> Error in unique.default(b) : unique() applies only to vectors
>>>>>
>>>>> A workaround is for PkgB to also export(unique), and for PkgC to also
>>>>> importFrom(PkgA, unique), but is this the intention?
>>>>>
>>>>> This is arising from Bioconductor efforts to place commonly promoted
>>>>> functions and S3 classes into a single package, to avoid conflicts when
>>>>> the same function is promoted independently by several packages.
>>>>>
>>>>> Martin
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>
>>
> ______________________________**________________
> R-devel_at_r-project.org mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/**listinfo/r-devel<https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel>
>

        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]



R-devel_at_r-project.org mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel Received on Sat 17 Dec 2011 - 14:10:34 GMT

This quarter's messages: by month, or sorted: [ by date ] [ by thread ] [ by subject ] [ by author ]

All messages

Archive maintained by Robert King, hosted by the discipline of statistics at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Archive generated by hypermail 2.2.0, at Sun 18 Dec 2011 - 21:40:18 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.

list of date sections of archive