Thu, 29 Aug 2019

anytime 0.3.6

A fresh and very exciting release of the anytime package is arriving on CRAN right now. This is the seventeenth release, and it comes pretty much exactly one month after the preceding 0.3.5 release.

anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to either POSIXct or Date objects – and to do so without requiring a format string. See the anytime page, or the GitHub for a few examples.

This release updates a number of things (see below for details). For users, maybe the most important change is that we now also convert single-digit months, i.e. a not-quite ISO input like “2019-7-5” passes. This required adding %e as a month format; I had overlooked this detail in the (copious) Boost date_time documentation. Another nice change is that we now use standard S3 dispatching rather a manual approach as we probably should have for a long time :-) but better late than never. The code change was actually rather minimal and done in a few minutes. Another change is a further extended use of unit testing via the excellent tinytest package which remains a joy to use. We also expanded the introductory pdf vignette; the benchmark comparisons we included look pretty decent for anytime which still combines ease of use and versability with performance.

Lastly, a somewhat sad “lowlight”. We submitted the package to the Journal of Open Source Software who then told us within days of the unworthyness of anytime for lack of research focus. Needless to see, we disagree. So here is plea: If you use anytime in a research setting, would you mind adding to the this very issue ticket and saying so? This may permit us a somewhat more emphatic data-driven riposte to the editors. Many thanks in advance for considering this.

The full list of changes follows.

Changes in anytime version 0.3.6 (2019-08-29)

  • Added, and then removed, required file for JOSS; added 'unworthy' badge as we earned a desk reject (cf #1605 there).

  • Renamed internal helper function format() to fmt() to avoid clashes with base::format() (Dirk in #104).

  • Use S3 dispatch and generics for key functions (Dirk in #106).

  • Continued to tweak tests as we find some of the rhub platform to behave strangely (Dirk via commits as well as #107).

  • Added %e format for single-digit day parsing by Boost (Dirk addressing at least #24, #70 and #99).

  • Expansed and updated vignette with benchmark comparisons.

  • Updated unit tests using tinytest which remains a pleasure to use; versioned Suggests: is now '>= 1.0.0'.

Courtesy of CRANberries, there is a comparison to the previous release. More information is on the anytime page. The issue tracker tracker off the GitHub repo can be use for questions and comments.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

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