Re: [R] R programming style

From: Roland Rau <roland.rproject_at_gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2008 10:19:54 -0500

Hi,

I think using Emacs+ESS [1,2] is always a good starting point for a clear layout with consistent and meaningful indentation.

I don't know how other people think about it, but in my opinion, "Elements of Programming Style" by Kernighan and Plauger is still an interesting read -- although their programs are either Fortran or PL/1 and the book itself is 30 years or old. Of course, I am not always successful but at least I try to incorporate their 'mantras':

- write clearly, don't be too clever [3]
- say what you mean, simply and directly
- use library functions
- write clearly -- don't sacrifice clarity for "efficiency"
- let the machine do the dirty work
- parenthesize to avoid ambiguity
- 10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0
- ...

I hope this helps?

Best,
Roland

[1] http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/
[2] http://ess.r-project.org/
[3] I guess this is what Kernighan meant in his famous(?) quote: 
"Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place. So if you're as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?"
(http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Brian_W._Kernighan )

David Scott wrote:
> I am aware of one (unofficial) guide to style for R programming:
> http://www1.maths.lth.se/help/R/RCC/
> from Henrik Bengtsson.
>
> Can anyone provide further pointers to good style?
>
> Views on Bengtsson's ideas would interest me as well.
>
> David Scott
>
>
>
> _________________________________________________________________
> David Scott Department of Statistics, Tamaki Campus
> The University of Auckland, PB 92019
> Auckland 1142, NEW ZEALAND
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>
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