Unexpected behaviour when comparing (==) long quoted expressions

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Unexpected behaviour when comparing (==) long quoted expressions

Daniel Chen
Hi everyone:

I’m one of the interns at RStudio this summer working on a project that
helps teachers grade student code. I found an unexpected behaviour with
the |==| operator when comparing |quote|d expressions.

Example 1:

|u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
TRUE u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = TRUE)) s
<- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s
# FALSE |

Example 2:

|u <-
quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
1)) s <-
quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
2)) u == s #> [1] TRUE |

Winston Chang pointed out in the help page for |==|:

    Language objects such as symbols and calls are deparsed to character
    strings before comparison.

and in the source code that does the comparison [1] shows that It
deparses each language object and then only extracts the first element
from the resulting character vector:

|SET_STRING_ELT(tmp, 0, (iS) ? PRINTNAME(x) : STRING_ELT(deparse1(x, 0,
DEFAULTDEPARSE), 0)); |

Is this a fix that needs to happen within the |==| documentation? or an
actual bug with the operator?

For more context the original issue we had is here:
https://github.com/rstudio-education/grader/issues/28

Workaround:

You can get around this issue by using |all.equal| or |identical|

|u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
TRUE all.equal(u, s) # "target, current do not match when deparsed"
identical(u, s) # FALSE |

Thanks,

Dan

[1]
https://github.com/wch/r-source/blob/e647f78cb85282263f88ea30c6337b77a30743d9/src/main/relop.c#L140-L155



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Re: Unexpected behaviour when comparing (==) long quoted expressions

Clark Fitzgerald
Hi Dan,

I wouldn't expect that behavior out of `==` on language objects either.

On a related note, working with R's language objects directly can be
clumsy. That was one of the motivations for Nick Ulle to develop the
rstatic package. https://github.com/nick-ulle/rstatic It lets me write code
that's easier to read and reason about, compared to using the standard
language objects. It behaves as you hoped here:

> s <-
quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890, 1))
> u <-
quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890, 2))
> s == u
[1] TRUE
> s1 = rstatic::to_ast(s)
> u1 = rstatic::to_ast(u)
> s1 == u1
[1] FALSE

Best,
Clark

On Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 3:25 AM Daniel Chen <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi everyone:
>
> I’m one of the interns at RStudio this summer working on a project that
> helps teachers grade student code. I found an unexpected behaviour with
> the |==| operator when comparing |quote|d expressions.
>
> Example 1:
>
> |u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
> new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
> key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
> TRUE u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = TRUE)) s
> <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s
> # FALSE |
>
> Example 2:
>
> |u <-
> quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
> 1)) s <-
> quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
> 2)) u == s #> [1] TRUE |
>
> Winston Chang pointed out in the help page for |==|:
>
>     Language objects such as symbols and calls are deparsed to character
>     strings before comparison.
>
> and in the source code that does the comparison [1] shows that It
> deparses each language object and then only extracts the first element
> from the resulting character vector:
>
> |SET_STRING_ELT(tmp, 0, (iS) ? PRINTNAME(x) : STRING_ELT(deparse1(x, 0,
> DEFAULTDEPARSE), 0)); |
>
> Is this a fix that needs to happen within the |==| documentation? or an
> actual bug with the operator?
>
> For more context the original issue we had is here:
> https://github.com/rstudio-education/grader/issues/28
>
> Workaround:
>
> You can get around this issue by using |all.equal| or |identical|
>
> |u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
> new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
> key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
> TRUE all.equal(u, s) # "target, current do not match when deparsed"
> identical(u, s) # FALSE |
>
> Thanks,
>
> Dan
>
> [1]
>
> https://github.com/wch/r-source/blob/e647f78cb85282263f88ea30c6337b77a30743d9/src/main/relop.c#L140-L155
>
> ​
>
>         [[alternative HTML version deleted]]
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>

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Re: Unexpected behaviour when comparing (==) long quoted expressions

Martin Maechler
In reply to this post by Daniel Chen
>>>>> Daniel Chen
>>>>>     on Fri, 12 Jul 2019 13:53:21 -0500 writes:

    > Hi everyone:
    > I’m one of the interns at RStudio this summer working on a project that
    > helps teachers grade student code. I found an unexpected behaviour with
    > the |==| operator when comparing |quote|d expressions.

    > Example 1:

    > |u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
    > new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
    > key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
    > TRUE u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = TRUE)) s
    > <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s
    > # FALSE |

Unfortunately the above is almost unreadable, as you "forgot" to
click (in the lower right corner of your Gmail interface with
the three vertical dots) "plain text mode".

    > Example 2:

    > |u <-
    > quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
    > 1)) s <-
    > quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
    > 2)) u == s #> [1] TRUE |

this is even readable after html - de-html mangling

    > Winston Chang pointed out in the help page for |==|:

    > Language objects such as symbols and calls are deparsed to character
    > strings before comparison.

    > and in the source code that does the comparison [1] shows that It
    > deparses each language object and then only extracts the first element
    > from the resulting character vector:

    > |SET_STRING_ELT(tmp, 0, (iS) ? PRINTNAME(x) : STRING_ELT(deparse1(x, 0,
    > DEFAULTDEPARSE), 0)); |

    > Is this a fix that needs to happen within the |==| documentation? or an
    > actual bug with the operator?

This a good question.

Thank you, Daniel, for providing the link to the source code in
<R>/src/main/relop.c .

Looking at that and its context, I think we (R core) should
reconsider that implementation of '=='  which indeed does about
the same thing as deparse {which also truncates at some point by
default; something very very reasonable for error messages, but
undesirable in other cases}.

But I think it's fair expectation that comparing  calls  ["language"]
with '==' should compare the full call's syntax even if that may
occasionally be very long.

Martin

    > For more context the original issue we had is here:
    > https://github.com/rstudio-education/grader/issues/28

    > Workaround:

    > You can get around this issue by using |all.equal| or |identical|

    > |u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
    > new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
    > key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
    > TRUE all.equal(u, s) # "target, current do not match when deparsed"
    > identical(u, s) # FALSE |

    > Thanks,

    > Dan

    > [1] https://github.com/wch/r-source/blob/e647f78cb85282263f88ea30c6337b77a30743d9/src/main/relop.c#L140-L155

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Re: Unexpected behaviour when comparing (==) long quoted expressions

Daniel Chen
Hi Martin:

Yes, I totally made things worse (and blundered my first listserv post)
when things got converted from markdown...

For posterity (and clarity), I've reproduced the examples that show the
unexpected behaviour and the current workaround we've used.

Example 1: expected u == s to return FALSE, but it return TRUE instead.

u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE))
s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE))
u == s # TRUE

u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = TRUE))
s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = FALSE))
u == s # FALSE

Example 2: seems more to do with length of the quoted expression than
function arguments.

u <-
quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890, 1))
s <-
quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890, 2))
u == s
#> [1] TRUE

Workaround:

You can get around this issue by using all.equal or identical

u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE))
s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE))
u == s # TRUE
all.equal(u, s) # "target, current do not match when deparsed"
identical(u, s) # FALSE


The snippet for the implementation shows only the first element from the
resulting deparse character vector is used
(https://github.com/wch/r-source/blob/e647f78cb85282263f88ea30c6337b77a30743d9/src/main/relop.c#L140-L155):


     SET_STRING_ELT(tmp, 0, (iS) ? PRINTNAME(x) :
                STRING_ELT(deparse1(x, 0, DEFAULTDEPARSE), 0));


- Dan



On 7/16/19 1:35 AM, Martin Maechler wrote:

>>>>>> Daniel Chen
>>>>>>      on Fri, 12 Jul 2019 13:53:21 -0500 writes:
>      > Hi everyone:
>      > I’m one of the interns at RStudio this summer working on a project that
>      > helps teachers grade student code. I found an unexpected behaviour with
>      > the |==| operator when comparing |quote|d expressions.
>
>      > Example 1:
>
>      > |u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
>      > new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
>      > key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
>      > TRUE u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = TRUE)) s
>      > <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s
>      > # FALSE |
>
> Unfortunately the above is almost unreadable, as you "forgot" to
> click (in the lower right corner of your Gmail interface with
> the three vertical dots) "plain text mode".
>
>      > Example 2:
>
>      > |u <-
>      > quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
>      > 1)) s <-
>      > quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
>      > 2)) u == s #> [1] TRUE |
>
> this is even readable after html - de-html mangling
>
>      > Winston Chang pointed out in the help page for |==|:
>
>      > Language objects such as symbols and calls are deparsed to character
>      > strings before comparison.
>
>      > and in the source code that does the comparison [1] shows that It
>      > deparses each language object and then only extracts the first element
>      > from the resulting character vector:
>
>      > |SET_STRING_ELT(tmp, 0, (iS) ? PRINTNAME(x) : STRING_ELT(deparse1(x, 0,
>      > DEFAULTDEPARSE), 0)); |
>
>      > Is this a fix that needs to happen within the |==| documentation? or an
>      > actual bug with the operator?
>
> This a good question.
>
> Thank you, Daniel, for providing the link to the source code in
> <R>/src/main/relop.c .
>
> Looking at that and its context, I think we (R core) should
> reconsider that implementation of '=='  which indeed does about
> the same thing as deparse {which also truncates at some point by
> default; something very very reasonable for error messages, but
> undesirable in other cases}.
>
> But I think it's fair expectation that comparing  calls  ["language"]
> with '==' should compare the full call's syntax even if that may
> occasionally be very long.
>
> Martin
>
>      > For more context the original issue we had is here:
>      > https://github.com/rstudio-education/grader/issues/28
>
>      > Workaround:
>
>      > You can get around this issue by using |all.equal| or |identical|
>
>      > |u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
>      > new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
>      > key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
>      > TRUE all.equal(u, s) # "target, current do not match when deparsed"
>      > identical(u, s) # FALSE |
>
>      > Thanks,
>
>      > Dan
>
>      > [1] https://github.com/wch/r-source/blob/e647f78cb85282263f88ea30c6337b77a30743d9/src/main/relop.c#L140-L155

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Re: [External] Re: Unexpected behaviour when comparing (==) long quoted expressions

Tierney, Luke
In reply to this post by Martin Maechler
On Tue, 16 Jul 2019, Martin Maechler wrote:

>>>>>> Daniel Chen
>>>>>>     on Fri, 12 Jul 2019 13:53:21 -0500 writes:
>
>    > Hi everyone:
>    > I’m one of the interns at RStudio this summer working on a project that
>    > helps teachers grade student code. I found an unexpected behaviour with
>    > the |==| operator when comparing |quote|d expressions.
>
>    > Example 1:
>
>    > |u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
>    > new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
>    > key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
>    > TRUE u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = TRUE)) s
>    > <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s
>    > # FALSE |
>
> Unfortunately the above is almost unreadable, as you "forgot" to
> click (in the lower right corner of your Gmail interface with
> the three vertical dots) "plain text mode".
>
>    > Example 2:
>
>    > |u <-
>    > quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
>    > 1)) s <-
>    > quote(f(x123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890,
>    > 2)) u == s #> [1] TRUE |
>
> this is even readable after html - de-html mangling
>
>    > Winston Chang pointed out in the help page for |==|:
>
>    > Language objects such as symbols and calls are deparsed to character
>    > strings before comparison.
>
>    > and in the source code that does the comparison [1] shows that It
>    > deparses each language object and then only extracts the first element
>    > from the resulting character vector:
>
>    > |SET_STRING_ELT(tmp, 0, (iS) ? PRINTNAME(x) : STRING_ELT(deparse1(x, 0,
>    > DEFAULTDEPARSE), 0)); |
>
>    > Is this a fix that needs to happen within the |==| documentation? or an
>    > actual bug with the operator?
>
> This a good question.
>
> Thank you, Daniel, for providing the link to the source code in
> <R>/src/main/relop.c .
>
> Looking at that and its context, I think we (R core) should
> reconsider that implementation of '=='  which indeed does about
> the same thing as deparse {which also truncates at some point by
> default; something very very reasonable for error messages, but
> undesirable in other cases}.
>
> But I think it's fair expectation that comparing  calls  ["language"]
> with '==' should compare the full call's syntax even if that may
> occasionally be very long.

Before going there I think we should reconsider whether allowing ==
comparisons on calls is a good idea. We already don't allow it for
expresison() objects. It is probably unavoidable to allow symbols
(there are probably lots of things that would break if quote(x) == "x"
did not work and return TRUE), but for calls it makes little sense to
have "f(x)" == quote(f(x)). These are very different objects that
happen to have identical string representations. For computing on the
language identical() is the right way to go (that is what is used in
the byte code compiler and codetools).

Best,

luke

>
> Martin
>
>    > For more context the original issue we had is here:
>    > https://github.com/rstudio-education/grader/issues/28
>
>    > Workaround:
>
>    > You can get around this issue by using |all.equal| or |identical|
>
>    > |u <- quote(tidyr::gather(key = key, value = value,
>    > new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = TRUE)) s <- quote(tidyr::gather(key =
>    > key, value = value, new_sp_m014:newrel_f65, na.rm = FALSE)) u == s #
>    > TRUE all.equal(u, s) # "target, current do not match when deparsed"
>    > identical(u, s) # FALSE |
>
>    > Thanks,
>
>    > Dan
>
>    > [1] https://github.com/wch/r-source/blob/e647f78cb85282263f88ea30c6337b77a30743d9/src/main/relop.c#L140-L155
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>

--
Luke Tierney
Ralph E. Wareham Professor of Mathematical Sciences
University of Iowa                  Phone:             319-335-3386
Department of Statistics and        Fax:               319-335-3017
    Actuarial Science
241 Schaeffer Hall                  email:   [hidden email]
Iowa City, IA 52242                 WWW:  http://www.stat.uiowa.edu
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