Re: [S] Assignment arrow.

Z. Todd Taylor (
Thu, 21 May 1998 10:41:15 -0700

Don MacQueen <> wrote:

> Splus has a variety of syntax options that are useful, but that I tend to
> avoid for the sake of clarity and quick comprehension. For example,
> embedded assignment:
> if ( x.cls <- inherits(x,'lm') ) {...}
> (admittedly, this one isn't really all that bad, but you get the idea, I hope)

I love that particular idiom (as well as others like it). I
think it makes for quicker comprehension and better overall
clarity than spelling everything out in boring, sequential
detail. It's akin to pronouns and acronyms which make our
speech and writing bearable.

verbosity != clarity
terseness != obscurity

The exceptions generally involve the uninitiated, who remain so
only briefly.

To keep this slightly on topic, I'll add that I absolutely
loathe the "_" as an assignment operator. It's akin to giving a
verbal order to "raise" the barn---the listener is quite likely
to hear "raze." Underscore is a legal character in "words" in
too many other programming languages, including Splus.
(e.g., Splus TRUNC_AUDIT 1000).


Z. Todd Taylor
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Why is it last week, last month, and last year, but not last day?
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