# It Has Always Been Wrong to Call order on a data.frame

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In `R`

it has always been incorrect to call `order()`

on a `data.frame`

. Such a call doesn’t return a sort-order of the rows, and previously did not return an error. For example.

d <- data.frame( x = c(2, 2, 3, 3, 1, 1), y = 6:1) knitr::kable(d)

x | y |
---|---|

2 | 6 |

2 | 5 |

3 | 4 |

3 | 3 |

1 | 2 |

1 | 1 |

order(d)

## [1] 5 6 12 1 2 11 3 4 10 9 8 7

Notice the above result has more than 6 items, so it is not a row order. It appears there is a desire to make this sort of mal-use signalling, and it is now available as an optional error-check. In fact we are starting to see packages kicked-off `CRAN`

for not fixing this issue.

Recent CRAN package removals (from CRANberries, triggered by failing to respond when contacted to fix the `order()`

error, (error resolves as “cannot xtfrm data frames”) include:

- ACCLMA
- ahp
- aMNLFA
- astrochron
- EasyMARK
- forestSAS
- gee4
- goeveg
- jmdl
- LncMod
- LN0SCIs
- marindicators
- McSpatial
- mcglm
- mpr
- pompom
- promotionImpact
- rodham
- rysgran
- scan
- sentometrics
- subtee
- unga

The `wrapr`

package has supplied, for some time, the function `orderv()`

, which is suitable for ordering the rows of `data.frame`

s.

For example, we can calculate a row order as follows.

library(wrapr) orderv(d)

## [1] 6 5 2 1 4 3

And use such an order to sort data rows.

d[orderv(d), , drop = FALSE] %.>% knitr::kable(.)

x | y | |
---|---|---|

6 | 1 | 1 |

5 | 1 | 2 |

2 | 2 | 5 |

1 | 2 | 6 |

4 | 3 | 3 |

3 | 3 | 4 |

Essentially `orderv(d)`

is shorthand for `do.call(base::order, as.list(d))`

, which places the columns of the `data.frame`

as the `...`

-arguments of the `order()`

call.

Edit: an earlier great fix can be found here.

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