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Mutable dynamic data structures for R
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DESCRIPTION
NAMESPACE
README

README

Ideas for mutable, dynamic frames

Mutability achieved by storing columns in environments
Dynamic frames achieved through active bindings in environment

All sorts of cool things can be built on this, like proxies.

Methods:

Extraction: [[, [, $
Sub-assignment: [[<-, $<-, [<-
Combination: cbind, rbind
Accessors: dimnames, dim
Subset: subset, head, tail, na.*
Aggregation: aggregate, xtabs
Transform: transform
Apply: by, lapply
Split: split
Coercion: as.data.frame
Summary: summary
Duplicates: duplicated, anyDuplicated
Display: print

The methods that would return another frame could return a proxy, or a
rooted frame. The methods [, c/rbind, subset, head, tail, transform,
aggregate, and split fall into this category. Particularly with
subsetting methods, one may want to delete the original frame, rather
than proxy it. Passing 'drop = TRUE' to [, for example, could root the
frame. We can add the 'drop' argument on to our other methods, like
subset.data.frame does. There can be a function could be used to
explictly root a proxy.

For the subassign functions, we cannot create a new proxy, for
reasons inherent in the language. But how do we decide if the
modification happens at the proxy or the root? This is like <-
vs. <<-. Given the mutable nature of the design, we should probably
take the <<- route. Follow the parent links until the definition is
found, and replace it. This requires a reverse pipeline.
Transformations need to reverse transform (if possible) any
assignment. We should probably just throw an error when reversal is
impossible.

Being an environment gives us with(), modeling functions, etc, for free

The model could record the call that constructed it, which would
allow displaying the workflow or "pipeline" behind it

Would also be nice if something provided a Qt data model on top of it

The next step is to figure out change notification. Handlers need
to be registered, with two arguments, i and j, that index into the
rows and columns, respectively. Any replacement function will
necessarily modify the frame in-place, and the change event will be
emitted. Parameters of dynamic columns can of course be changed
through the use of closures, but the frame must be explicitly
informed of the change.

Every binding will need to be active, so that when a change is
made, an event is reported. Event reporting will need to be frozen
when many changes are about to be made. When frozen, the events are
aggregated. When the thaw method is called, the aggegated event is
dispatched. Each frame will need to listen to each of its
parents/components and forward the events. Some stages may need to
add more changes. For example, a subset() stage will check if its
subsetting has changed and, if so, add all columns to the event. A
transform() frame would report changes to any transformed columns,
if not already marked.
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