representation {methods}R Documentation

Construct a Representation or a Prototype for a Class Definition


In calls to setClass, these two functions construct, respectively, the representation and prototype arguments. They do various checks and handle special cases. You're encouraged to use them when defining classes that, for example, extend other classes as a data part or have multiple superclasses, or that combine extending a class and slots.




... The call to representation takes arguments that are single character strings. Unnamed arguments are classes that a newly defined class extends; named arguments name the explicit slots in the new class, and specify what class each slot should have.
In the call to prototype, if an unnamed argument is supplied, it unconditionally forms the basis for the prototype object. Remaining arguments are taken to correspond to slots of this object. It is an error to supply more than one unnamed argument.


The representation function applies tests for the validity of the arguments. Each must specify the name of a class.

The classes named don't have to exist when representation is called, but if they do, then the function will check for any duplicate slot names introduced by each of the inherited classes.

The arguments to prototype are usually named initial values for slots, plus an optional first argument that gives the object itself. The unnamed argument is typically useful if there is a data part to the definition (see the examples below).


The value pf representation is just the list of arguments, after these have been checked for validity.
The value of prototype is the object to be used as the prototype. Slots will have been set consistently with the arguments, but the construction does not use the class definition to test validity of the contents (it hardly can, since the prototype object is usually supplied to create the definition).


The R package methods implements, with a few exceptions, the programming interface for classes and methods in the book Programming with Data (John M. Chambers, Springer, 1998), in particular sections 1.6, 2.7, 2.8, and chapters 7 and 8.

While the programming interface for the methods package follows the reference, the R software is an original implementation, so details in the reference that reflect the S4 implementation may appear differently in R. Also, there are extensions to the programming interface developed more recently than the reference. For a discussion of details see ?Methods and the links from that documentation.

See Also



## representation for a new class with a directly define slot "smooth"
## which should be a "numeric" object, and extending class "track"
representation("track", smooth ="numeric")

ttt <- new("TypedCharacter", "foo", type = "character")

setClass("num1", representation(comment = "character"),
         contains = "numeric",
         prototype = prototype(pi, comment = "Start with pi"))

[Package methods version 2.5.0 Index]