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RE: st: RE: scalar troubles?
Let's keep two issues distinct:
1. variable -foo-, scalar -foo- both exist:
. di foo
goes for the variable. Well, that's history
and politics, I guess. Variables came first in
Stata's history; variables
get "more votes" than scalars from users.
The original question was within a program,
but the rule has to be the same interactively
2. If -foo- is a variable, then
. di foo
is equivalent to
. di foo
The reaction against 2 stems -- at least partly -- from the
feeling that Stata shouldn't do what the user doesn't
really want it to do, i.e. that no user would really
attempt to display a whole variable in this way.
But consider two details then arising:
* The parser goes on what is legal, not what is
sensible or meaningful. It is very difficult to
design a language making it impossible for the
user never to say things that are not sensible,
not least because what is sensible can be very
difficult to pin down.
* It is perfectly legal to have a variable with just
one observation, in which case -di foo- is totally
sensible. Not common, sure; but perfectly legal.
These two comments are at most part of the story;
no doubt more can be said.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com
> [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of
> Edwin Leuven
> Sent: 05 November 2003 16:11
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: st: RE: scalar troubles?
> > (This applies not just to -display-, but to any context
> that refers to a
> > single value, rather than the whole dataset's set of values.)
> > I also find it odd, and have never found it useful. Does
> anyone find it
> > useful? I would not have designed it that way, and have
> always found it
> > to be a potential source of error rather than a convenience.
> default behavior which uses the scalar seems more logical
> indeed, but
> perhaps the current default is well argued (although i
> can't see how)
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