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Revision 713 - (download) (annotate)
Thu Nov 8 03:30:25 2012 UTC (5 years, 7 months ago) by mdowle
File size: 90298 byte(s)
Root cause setnames fix when integer old refers to duplicated names (such as two blanks in Steve's find).
The ChangeLog for data.table is the SVN commit log itself :
    $ svn log svn://

This NEWS file summarises the main changes.

        **                                          **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.8.3    **
        **                                          **
        **          R-Forge, not yet CRAN           **
        **                                          **


    o   New printing options have been added :
        If the table to printed has more than nrows, the top and bottom topn rows
        are printed. Otherwise, below nrows, the entire table is printed.
        Thanks to Allan Engelhardt and Melanie Bacou for useful discussions :
        and see FAQs 2.11 and 2.22.
    o   When one or more rows in i have no match to x and i is unkeyed, i is now
        tested to see if it is sorted. If so, the key is retained. As before, when all rows of
        i match to x, the key is retained if i matches to an ordered subset of keyed x without
        needing to test i, even if i is unkeyed.
    o   by on a keyed empty table is now keyed by the by columns, for consistency with
        the non empty case when an ordered grouping is detected.
    o   DT[,`:=`(col1=val1, col2=val2, ...)] is now valid syntax rather than a crash, #2254.
        Many thanks to Thell Fowler for the suggestion.
    o   with=FALSE is no longer needed to use column names or positions on the LHS of :=, #2120.
            DT[,c("newcol","existingcol"):=list(1L,NULL)]   # with=FALSE not needed
            DT[,`:=`(newcol=1L, existingcol:=NULL)]         # same
        If the LHS is held in a variable, the followed equivalent options are retained :
            mycols = c("existingcol","newcol")
            DT[,eval(mycols):=1L]                # same
            DT[,mycols:=1L,with=FALSE]           # same
            DT[,c("existingcol","newcol"):=1L]   # same (with=FALSE not needed)
    o   Multiple LHS:= and `:=`(...) now work by group, and by without by. Implementing
        or fixing, and thanks to, #2215 (Florian Oswald), #1710 (Farrel Buchinsky) and
            DT[,c("newcol1","newcol2"):=list(mean(col1),sd(col1)), by=grp]
                     ...),  by=grp]                        # same but easier to read
            DT[c("grp1","grp2"), `:=`(newcol1=mean(col1),
                                      newcol2=sd(col1))]   # same using by-without-by
    o   with=FALSE now works with a symbol LHS of :=, by group (#2120) :
            colname = "newcol"
        Thanks to Alex Chernyakov :
    o   .GRP is a new symbol available to j. Value 1 for the first group, 2 for the 2nd, etc. Thanks
        to Josh O'Brien for the suggestion :

    o   .I is a new symbol available to j. An integer vector length .N. It contains the group's row
        locations in DT. This implements FR#1962.
            DT[,.I[which.max(colB)],by=colA]      # row numbers of maxima by group

    o   A new "!" prefix on i signals 'not-join' (a.k.a. 'not-where'), #1384(i).
            DT[-DT["a", which=TRUE, nomatch=0]]   # old not-join idiom, still works
            DT[!"a"]                              # same result, now preferred.
            DT[!J(6),...]                         # !J == not-join
            DT[!2:3,...]                          # ! on all types of i
            DT[colA!=6L | colB!=23L,...]          # multiple vector scanning approach (slow)
            DT[!J(6L,23L)]                        # same result, faster binary search
        '!' has been used rather than '-' :
            * to match the 'not-join'/'not-where' nomenclature
            * with '-', DT[-0] would return DT rather than DT[0] and not be backwards
              compatible. With '!', DT[!0] returns DT both before (since !0 is TRUE in
              base R) and after this new feature.
            * to leave DT[+J...] and DT[-J...] available for future use
    o   When with=FALSE, "!" may also be a prefix on j, #1384ii. This selects all but the named columns.
            SF[,-match("somecol",names(DF))]              # works when somecol exists. If not, NA causes an error.
            DF[,-match("somecol",names(DF),nomatch=0)]    # works when somecol exists. Empty data.frame when it doesn't, silently.
            DT[,-match("somecol",names(DT)),with=FALSE]   # same issues.
            DT[,setdiff(names(DT),"somecol"),with=FALSE]  # works but you have to know order of arguments, and no warning if doesn't exist
            - vs -
            DT[,!"somecol",with=FALSE]                    # works and easy to read. With (helpful) warning if somecol isn't there.
        Strictly speaking, this (!j) is a "not-select" (!i is 'not-where'). This has no analogy in SQL.
        Reminder: i is analogous to WHERE, j is analogous to SELECT and `:=` in j changes SELECT to UPDATE.
        !j when j is column positions is very similar to -j.
            DF[,-(2:3),drop=FALSE]           # all but columns 2 and 3. Careful, brackets and drop=FALSE are required.
            DT[,-(2:3),with=FALSE]           # same
            DT[,!2:3,with=FALSE]             # same
            copy(DT)[,2:3:=NULL,with=FALSE]  # same
        !j was introduced for column names really, not positions. It works for both, for consistency :
            toremove = c("somecol","anothercol")
            toremove = 2:3
            DT[,!toremove,with=FALSE]        # same code works without change
    o   'which' now accepts NA. This means return the row numbers in i that don't match, #1384iii.
        Thanks to Santosh Srinivas for the suggestion.
            X[Y,which=TRUE]   # row numbers of X that do match, as before
            X[!Y,which=TRUE]  # row numbers of X that don't match
            X[Y,which=NA]     # row numbers of Y that don't match
            X[!Y,which=NA]    # row numbers of Y that do match (for completeness)
    o   setnames() now works on data.frame, #2273. Thanks to Christian Hudon for the suggestion.

    o   A large slowdown (many minutes instead of a few secs) in X[Y] joins has been fixed, #2216.
        This occurred where the number of rows in i was large, and at least one row joined to
        more than one row in x. Possibly in other similar circumstances too. The workaround was
        to set mult="first" which is no longer required. Test added.
        Thanks to a question and report from Alex Chernyakov :
    o   Indexing columns of data.table with a logical vector and `with=FALSE` now works as
        expected, fixing #1797. Thanks to Mani Narayanan for reporting. Test added.
    o   In X[Y,cols,with=FALSE], NA matches are now handled correctly. And if cols
        includes join columns, NA matches (if any) are now populated from i. For
        consistency with X[Y] and X[Y,list(...)]. Tests added.
    o   "Internal error" when combining join containing missing groups and group by
        is fixed, #2162. For example :
        where Y contains some rows that don't match to X. This bug could also result in a segfault.
        Thanks to Andrey Riabushenko and Michael Schermerhorn for reporting. Tests added.
    o   On empty tables, := now changes column type and adds new 0 length columns ok, fixing
        #2274. Tests added.
    o   Deleting multiple columns out-of-order is no longer a segfault, #2223. Test added.
        Reminder: deleting columns by reference is relatively instant, regardless of table size.
    o   Mixing column adds and deletes in one := gave incorrect results, #2251. Thanks to
        Michael Nelson for reporting. Test added.
            DT[,`:=`(newcol=col1+1L,col1=NULL)]             # same
    o   Out of bound positions in the LHS of := are now caught. Root cause of crash in #2254.
        Thanks to Thell Fowler for reporting. Tests added.
            DT[,(ncol(DT)+1):=1L]   # out of bounds error (add new columns by name only)
            DT[,ncol(DT):=1L]       # ok
    o   A recycled column plonk RHS of := no longer messes up setkey and := when used on that
        object afterwards, #2298. For example,
            DT = data.table(a=letters[3:1],x=1:3)
            DT[,c("x1","x2"):=x]  # ok (x1 and x2 are now copies of x)
            setkey(DT,a)          # now ok rather than wrong result
        Thanks to Timothee Carayol for reporting. Tests added.

    o   Join columns are now named correctly when j is .SD, a subset of .SD, or similar, #2281.
            DT[c("a","b"),.SD[...]]    # result's first column now named key(DT)[1] rather than 'V1'

    o   Joining an empty i table now works without error (#2194). It also retains key and has a consistent
        number and type of empty columns as the non empty by-without-by case. Tests added.
    o   by-without-by with keyed i where key isn't the 1:n columns of i could crash, #2314. Many thanks
        to Garrett See for reporting with reproducible example data file. Tests added.
    o   DT[,col1:=X[Y,col2]] was a crash, #2311. Due to RHS being a data.table. mult="first"
        (or drop=TRUE in future) was likely intended. Thanks to Anoop Shah for reporting with
        reproducible example. Root cause (recycling of list columns) fixed and tests added.
    o   Grouping by a column which somehow has names, no longer causes an error, #2307.
          DT = data.table(a=1:3,b=c("a","a","b"))
          setattr(DT$b, "names", c("a","b","c"))  # not recommended, just to illustrate
          DT[,sum(a),by=b]  # now ok
    o   gWidgetsWWW wasn't known as data.table aware, even though it mimicks executing
        code in .GlobalEnv, #2340. So, data.table is now gWidgetsWWW-aware. Further packages
        can be added if required by changing a new variable :
        by using assignInNamespace(). Thanks to Zach Waite and Yihui Xie for investigating and
        providing reproducible examples :

    o   Optimization of lapply when FUN is a character function name now works, #2212.
            DT[,lapply(.SD, "+", 1), by=id]  # no longer an error
            DT[,lapply(.SD, `+`, 1), by=id]  # same, worked before
        Thanks to Michael Nelson for highlighting. Tests added.
    o   Syntactically invalid column names (such as "Some rate (%)") are now preserved in X[Y] joins and
        merge(), as intended. Thanks to George Kaupas (#2193i) and Yang Zhang (#2090) for reporting.
        Tests added.
    o   merge() and setcolorder() now check for duplicate column names first rather than a less helpful
        error later, #2193ii. Thanks to Peter Fine for reporting. Tests added.
    o   Column attributes (such as 'comment') are now retained by X[Y] and merge(), #2270. Thanks to
        Allan Engelhardt for reporting. Tests added.
    o   A matrix RHS of := is now treated as vector, with warning if it has more than 1 column, #2333.
        Thanks to Alex Chernyakov for highlighting. Tests added.
            DT[,b:=scale(a)]   # now works rather than creating an invalid column of type matrix
    o   last() is now S3 generic for compatibility with xts::last, #2312. Strictly speaking, for speed,
        last(x) deals with vector, list and data.table inputs directly before falling back to
        S3 dispatch. Thanks to Garrett See for reporting. Tests added.
    o   DT[,lapply(.SD,sum)] in the case of no grouping now returns a data.table for consistency, rather
        than list, #2263. Thanks to Justin and mnel for highlighting. Existing test changed.
    o   L[[2L]][,newcol:=] now works, where L is a list of data.table objects, #2204. Thanks to Melanie Bacou
        for reporting. Tests added. A warning is issued when the first column is added if L was created with
        list(DT1,DT2) since R's list() copies named inputs. Until reflist() is implemented, this warning can be
        ignored or suppressed.
    o   DT[J(data.frame(...))] now works again, giving the same result as DT[data.frame(...)], #2265.
        Thanks to Christian Hudon for reporting. Tests added.
    o   A memory leak has been fixed, #2191 and #2284. All data.table objects leaked the over allocated column
        pointer slots; i.e., when a data.table went out of scope or was rm()'d this memory wasn't released and
        gc() would report growing Vcells. For a 3 column data.table with a 100 allocation, the growth was
        1.5Kb per data.table on 64bit (97*8*2 bytes) and 0.75Kb on 32bit (97*4*2 bytes).
        Many thanks to Xavier Saint-Mleux and Sasha Goodman for the reproducible examples and
        assistance. Tests added.
    o   rbindlist now skips empty (0 row) items as well as NULL items. So the column types of the result are
        now taken from the first non-empty data.table. Thanks to Garrett See for reporting. Test added.
    o   setnames did not update column names correctly when passed integer column positions and those
        column names contained duplicates, fixed. This affected the column names of queries involving
        two or more by expressions with a named list inside {}. Thanks to Steve Lianoglou for finding and
        fixing. Tests added.
            DT[, {list(name1=sum(v),name2=sum(w))}, by="a,b"]  # now ok, no blank column names in result
            DT[, list(name1=sum(v),name2=sum(w)), by="a,b"]    # ok before


    o   J() now issues a warning (when used *outside* DT[...]) that using it
        outside DT[...] is deprecated. See item below in v1.8.2.
        Use data.table() directly instead of J(), outside DT[...]. Or, define
        an alias yourself. J() will continue to work *inside* DT[...] as documented.
    o   DT[,LHS:=RHS,...] no longer prints DT. This implements #2128 "Try again to get
        DT[i,j:=value] to return invisibly". Thanks to discussions here :
        FAQs 2.21 and 2.22 have been updated.

    o   DT[] now returns DT rather than an error that either i or j must be supplied.
        So, ending with [] at the console is a convenience to print the result of :=, rather
        than wrapping with print(); e.g.,
            DT[i,j:=value]...oops forgot print...[]
        is the same as :

    o   A warning is now issued when by is set equal to the by-without-by join columns,
        causing x to be subset and then grouped again. The warning suggests removing by or
        changing it, #2282. This can be turned off using options(datatable.warnredundantby=FALSE)
        in case it occurs after upgrading, until those lines can be modified.
        Thanks to Ben Barnes for highlighting :
    o   Description of how join columns are determined in X[Y] syntax has been further clarified
        in ?data.table. Thanks to Alex :
    o   ?transform and example(transform) has been fixed and embelished, #2316.
        Thanks to Garrett See's suggestion.
    o   ?setattr has been updated to document that it takes any input, not just data.table, and
        can be used on columns of a data.frame, for example.
    o   Efficiency warnings when joining between a factor column and a character column are now downgraded
        to messages when verbosity is on, #2265(i). Thanks to Christian Hudon for the suggestion.

THANKS TO BETA TESTING (bugs caught in 1.8.3 before release to CRAN)

    o   Combining a join with mult="first"|"last" followed by by inside the same [...] gave incorrect
        results or a crash, #2303. Many thanks to Garrett See for the reproducible example and
        pinpointing in advance which commit had caused the problem. Tests added.
    o   Examples in ?data.table have been updated now that := no longer prints. Thanks to Garrett See.


    o   There are now 869 raw tests. should return precisely this number of
        tests passed. If not, then somehow, a slightly stale version from R-Forge is likely
        installed; please reinstall from CRAN.

    o   v1.8.3 was an R-Forge only beta release. v1.8.4 was released to CRAN.

        **                                          **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.8.2    **
        **                                          **


    o   Numeric columns (type 'double') are now allowed in keys and ad hoc
        by. J() and SJ() no longer coerce 'double' to 'integer'. i join columns
        which mismatch on numeric type are coerced silently to match
        the type of x's join column. Two floating point values
        are considered equal (by grouping and binary search joins) if their
        difference is within sqrt(.Machine$double.eps), by default. See example
        in ? Completes FRs #951, #1609 and #1075. This paves the
        way for other atomic types which use 'double' (such as POSIXct and bit64).
        Thanks to Chris Neff for beta testing and finding problems with keys
        of two numeric columns (bug #2004), fixed and tests added.

    o   := by group is now implemented (FR#1491) and sub-assigning to a new column
        by reference now adds the column automatically (initialized with NA where
        the sub-assign doesn't touch) (FR#1997). := by group can be combined with all
        types of i, so ":= by group" includes grouping by `i` as well as by `by`.
        Since := by group is by reference, it should be significantly faster than any
        method that (directly or indirectly) `cbind`s the grouped results to DT, since
        no copy of the (large) DT is made at all. It's a short and natural syntax that
        can be compounded with other queries.

    o   Prettier printing of list columns. The first 6 items of atomic vectors
        are collapsed with "," followed by a trailing "," if there are more than
        6, FR#1608. This difference to data.frame has been added to FAQ 2.17.
        Embedded objects (such as a data.table) print their class name only to avoid
        seemingly mangled output, bug #1803. Thanks to Yike Lu for reporting.
        For example:
        > data.table(x=letters[1:3],
                     y=list( 1:10, letters[1:4], data.table(a=1:3,b=4:6) ))
           x            y
        1: a 1,2,3,4,5,6,
        2: b      a,b,c,d
        3: c <data.table>

    o   Warnings added when joining character to factor, and factor to character.
        Character to character is now preferred in joins and needs no coercion.
        Even so, these coercions have been made much more efficient by taking
        a shallow copy of i internally, avoiding a full deep copy of i.

    o   Ordered subsets now retain x's key. Always for logical and keyed i, using
        base::is.unsorted() for integer and unkeyed i. Implements FR#295.

    o   mean() is now automatically optimized, #1231. This can speed up grouping
        by 20 times when there are a large number of groups. See wiki point 3, which
        is no longer needed to know. Turn off optimization by setting

    o   DT[,lapply(.SD,...),by=...] is now automatically optimized, #2067. This can speed
        up applying a function by column by group, by over 20 times. See wiki point 5
        which is no longer needed to know. In other words:
        is now just as fast as :
        Don't forget to use .SDcols when a subset of columns is needed.

    o   The package is now Byte Compiled (when installed in R 2.14.0 or later). Several
        internal speed improvements were made in this version too, such as avoiding
        internal copies. If you find 1.8.2 is faster, before attributing that to Byte
        Compilation, please install the package without Byte Compilation and compare
        ceteris paribus. If you find cases where speed has slowed, please let us know.

    o   sapply(DT,class) gets a significant speed boost by avoiding a call to unclass()
        in called by lapply(DT,...), which copied the entire object.
        Thanks to a question by user1393348 on Stack Overflow, implementing #2000.

    o   The J() alias is now deprecated outside DT[...], but will still work inside
        DT[...], as in DT[J(...)].
        J() is conflicting with function J() in package XLConnect (#1747)
        and rJava (#2045). For data.table to change is easier, with some efficiency
        advantages too. The next version of data.table will issue a warning from J()
        when used outside DT[...]. The version after will remove it. Only then will
        the conflict with rJava and XLConnect be resolved.
        Please use data.table() directly instead of J(), outside DT[...].

    o   New DT[.(...)] syntax (in the style of package plyr) is identical to
        DT[list(...)], DT[J(...)] and DT[data.table(...)]. We plan to add ..(), too, so
        that .() and ..() are analogous to the file system's ./ and ../; i.e., .()
        evaluates within the frame of DT and ..() in the parent scope.

    o   New function rbindlist(l). This does the same as"rbind",l), but much


    o   DT[,f(.SD),by=colA] where f(x)=x[,colB:=1L] was a segfault, bug#1727.
        This is now a graceful error to say that using := in .SD's j is
        reserved for future use. This was already caught in most circumstances,
        other than via f(.SD). Thanks to Leon Baum for reporting. Test added.

    o   If .N is selected by j it is now renamed "N" (no dot) in the output, to
        avoid a potential conflict in subsequent grouping between a column called
        ".N" and the special .N variable, fixing #1720. ?data.table updated and
        FAQ 4.6 added with detailed examples. Tests added.

    o   Moved data.table setup code from .onAttach to .onLoad so that it
        is also run when data.table is simply `import`ed from within a package,
        fixing #1916 related to missing data.table options.

    o   Typos fixed in ?":=", thanks to Michael Weylandt for reporting.

    o   base::unname(DT) now works again, as needed by plyr::melt(). Thanks to
        Christoph Jaeckel for reporting. Test added.

    o   CJ(x=...,y=...) now retains the column names x and y, useful when CJ
        is used independently (since x[CJ(...)] takes join column names from x).
        Restores behaviour lost somewhere between 1.7.1 and 1.8.0, thanks
        to Muhammad Waliji for reporting. Tests added.

    o   A column plonk via set() was only possible by passing NULL as i. The default
        for i is now NULL so that missing i invokes a column plonk, too (when length(value)
        == nrow(DT)). A column plonk is much more efficient than creating 1:nrow(DT) and
        passing that as i to set() or DT[i,:=] (almost infinitely faster). Thanks to
        testing by Josh O'Brien in comments on Stack Overflow. Test added.

    o   Joining a factor column with unsorted and unused levels to a character column
        now matches properly, fixing #1922. Thanks to Christoph Jäckel for the reproducible
        example. Test added.

    o   'by' on an empty table now returns an empty table (#1945) and .N, .SD and .BY are
        now available in the empty case (also #1945). The column names and types of
        the returned empty table are consistent with the non empty case. Thanks to
        Malcolm Cook for reporting. Tests added.

    o   DT[NULL] now returns the NULL data.table, rather than an error. Test added.
        Use DT[0] to return an empty copy of DT.

    o   .N, .SD and .BY are now available to j when 'by' is missing, "", character()
        and NULL, fixing #1732. For consistency so that j works unchanged when by is
        dynamic and passed one of those values all meaning 'don't group'. Thanks
        to Joseph Voelkel reporting and Chris Neff for further use cases. Tests added.

    o   chorder(character()) was a seg fault, #2026. Fixed and test added.

    o   When grouping by i, if the first row of i had no match, .N was 1 rather than 0.
        Fixed and tests added. Thanks to a question by user1165199 on Stack Overflow :

    o   All object attributes are now retained by grouping; e.g., tzone of POSIXct is no
        longer lost, fixing #1704. Test added. Thanks to Karl Ove Hufthammer for reporting.

    o   All object attributes are now retained by recycling assign to a new column (both
        <- and :=); e.g., POSIXct class is no longer lost, fixing #1712. Test added. Thanks
        to Leon Baum for reporting.

    o   unique() of ITime no longer coerces to integer, fixing #1719. Test added.

    o   rbind() of DT with an irregular list() now recycles the list items correctly,
        #2003. Test added.

    o   setcolorder() now produces correct error when passed missing column names. Test added.

    o   merge() with common names, and, all.y=TRUE (or all=TRUE) no longer returns an error, #2011.
        Tests added. Thanks to a question by Ina on Stack Overflow :

    o   Removing or setting datatable.alloccol to NULL is no longer a memory leak, #2014.
        Tests added. Thanks to a question by Vanja on Stack Overflow :

    o   DT[,2:=someval,with=FALSE] now changes column 2 even if column 1 has the same (duplicate)
        name, #2025. Thanks to Sean Creighton for reporting. Tests added.

    o   merge() is now correct when all=TRUE but there are no common values in the two
        data.tables, fixing #2114. Thanks to Karl Ove Hufthammer for reporting.  Tests added.

    o   An method has been added for ITime, so that ITime can be passed to ggplot2
        without error, #1713. Thanks to Farrel Buchinsky for reporting. Tests added.
        ITime axis labels are still displayed as integer seconds from midnight; we don't know why ggplot2
        doesn't invoke ITime's as.character method. Convert ITime to POSIXct for ggplot2, is one approach.

    o   setnames(DT,newnames) now works when DT contains duplicate column names, #2103.
        Thanks to Timothee Carayol for reporting. Tests added.

    o   subset() would crash on a keyed table with non-character 'select', #2131. Thanks
        to Benjamin Barnes for reporting. The root cause was non character inputs to chmatch
        and %chin%. Tests added.

    o   Non-ascii column names now work when passed as character 'by', #2134. Thanks to
        Karl Ove Hufthammer for reporting. Tests added.
            DT[, mean(foo), by=ÆØÅ]      # worked before
            DT[, mean(foo), by="ÆØÅ"]    # now works too
            DT[, mean(foo), by=colA]     # worked before
            DT[, mean(foo), by="colA"]   # worked before


    o   Incorrect syntax error message for := now includes advice to check that
        DT is a data.table rather than a data.frame. Thanks to a comment by
        gkaupas on Stack Overflow.

    o   When set() is passed a logical i, the error message now includes advice to
        wrap with which() and take the which() outside the loop (if any) if possible.

    o   An empty data.table (0 rows, 1+ cols) now print as "Empty data.table" rather
        than "NULL data.table". A NULL data.table, returned by data.table(NULL) has
        0 rows and 0 cols.  DT[0] returns an empty data.table.

    o   0 length by (such as NULL and character(0)) now return a data.table when j
        is vector, rather than vector, for consistency of return types when by
        is dynamic and 'dont group' needs to be represented. Bug fix #1599 in
        v1.7.0 was fixing an error in this case (0 length by).

    o   Default column names for unnamed columns are now consistent between 'by' and
        non-'by'; e.g. these two queries now name the columns "V1" and "V2" :
            DT[,list("a","b")]      # used to name the columns 'a' and 'b', oddly.

    o   Typing ?merge now asks whether to display ? or ?,
        and ? works directly. Thanks to Chris Neff for suggesting.

    o   Description of how join columns are determined in X[Y] syntax has been clarified
        in ?data.table. Thanks to Juliet Hannah and Yike Lu.

    o   DT now prints consistent row numbers when the column names are reprinted at the
        bottom of the output (saves scrolling up). Thanks to Yike Lu for reporting #2015.
        The tail as well as the head of large tables is now printed.

THANKS TO BETA TESTING (i.e. bugs caught in 1.8.1 before release to CRAN) :

    o   Florian Oswald for #2094: DT[,newcol:=NA] now adds a new logical column ok.
        Test added.

    o   A large slow down (2s went up to 40s) when iterating calls to DT[...] in a
        for loop, such as in example(":="), was caught and fixed in beta, #2027.
        Speed regression test added.

    o   Christoph Jäckel for #2078: by=c(...) with i clause broke. Tests added.

    o   Chris Neff for #2065: keyby := now keys, unless, i clause is present or
        keyby is not straightforward column names (in any format). Tests added.

    o   :=NULL to delete, following by := by group to add, didn't add the column,
        #2117. Test added.

    o   Combining i subset with by gave incorrect results, #2118. Tests added.

    o   Benjamin Barnes for #2133: rbindlist not supporting type 'logical'.
        Tests added.

    o   Chris Neff for #2146: using := to add a column to the result of a simple
        column subset such as DT[,list(x)], or after changing all column names
        with setnames(), was an error. Fixed and tests added.


    o   There are now 717 raw tests, plus S4 tests.

    o   v1.8.1 was an R-Forge only beta release. v1.8.2 was released to CRAN.

        **                                          **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.8.0    **
        **                                          **


    o   character columns are now allowed in keys and are preferred to
        factor. data.table() and setkey() no longer coerce character to
        factor. Factors are still supported. Implements FR#1493, FR#1224
        and (partially) FR#951.

    o   setkey() no longer sorts factor levels. This should be more convenient
        and compatible with ordered factors where the levels are 'labels', in
        some order other than alphabetical. The established advice to paste each
        level with an ordinal prefix, or use another table to hold the factor
        labels instead of a factor column, is no longer needed. Solves FR#1420.
        Thanks to Damian Betebenner and Allan Engelhardt raising on datatable-help
        and their tests have been added verbatim to the test suite.

    o   unique(DT) and duplicated(DT) are now faster with character columns,
        on unkeyed tables as well as keyed tables, FR#1724.

    o   New function set(DT,i,j,value) allows fast assignment to elements
        of DT. Similar to := but avoids the overhead of [.data.table, so is
        much faster inside a loop. Less flexible than :=, but as flexible
        as matrix subassignment. Similar in spirit to setnames(), setcolorder(),
        setkey() and setattr(); i.e., assigns by reference with no copy at all.

            M = matrix(1,nrow=100000,ncol=100)
            DF =
            DT =
            system.time(for (i in 1:1000) DF[i,1L] <- i)   # 591.000s
            system.time(for (i in 1:1000) DT[i,V1:=i])     #   1.158s
            system.time(for (i in 1:1000) M[i,1L] <- i)    #   0.016s
            system.time(for (i in 1:1000) set(DT,i,1L,i))  #   0.027s

    o   New functions chmatch() and %chin%, faster versions of match()
        and %in% for character vectors. R's internal string cache is
        utilised (no hash table is built). They are about 4 times faster
        than match() on the example in ?chmatch.

    o   Internal function sortedmatch() removed and replaced with chmatch()
        when matching i levels to x levels for columns of type 'factor'. This
        preliminary step was causing a (known) significant slowdown when the number
        of levels of a factor column was large (e.g. >10,000). Exacerbated in
        tests of joining four such columns, as demonstrated by Wes McKinney
        (author of Python package Pandas). Matching 1 million strings of which
        of which 600,000 are unique is now reduced from 16s to 0.5s, for example.
        Background here :

    o gains a use.names argument, by default TRUE.
        Set to FALSE to combine columns in order rather than by name. Thanks to
        a question by Zach on Stack Overflow :

    o   New argument 'keyby'. An ad hoc by just as 'by' but with an additional setkey()
        on the by columns of the result, for convenience. Not to be confused with a
        'keyed by' such as DT[...,by=key(DT)] which can be more efficient as explained
        by FAQ 3.3.  Thanks to Yike Lu for the suggestion and discussion (FR#1780).

    o   Single by (or keyby) expressions no longer need to be wrapped in list(),
        for convenience, implementing FR#1743; e.g., these now works :
        instead of needing :

    o   Unnamed 'by' expressions have always been inspected using all.vars() to make
        a guess at a sensible column name for the result. This guess now includes
        function names via all.vars(functions=TRUE), for convenience; e.g.,
        now returns a column called 'month' rather than 'date'. It is more robust to
        explicitly name columns, though; e.g.,
            DT[,sum(v),by=list("Guaranteed name"=month(date))]

    o   For a surprising speed boost in some circumstances, default options such as
        'datatable.verbose' are now set when the package loads (unless they are already
        set, by user's profile for example). The 'default' argument of base::getOption()
        was the culprit and has been removed internally from all 11 calls.


    o   Fixed a `suffixes` handling bug in that was
        only recently introduced during the recent "fast-merge"-ing reboot.
        Briefly, the bug was only triggered in scenarios where both
        tables had identical column names that were not part of `by` and
        ended with *.1. cf. "merge and auto-increment columns in y[x]"
        test in tests/test-data.frame-like.R for more information.

    o   Adding a column using := on a data.table just loaded from disk was
        correctly detected and over allocated, but incorrectly warning about
        a previous copy. Test 462 tested loading from disk, but suppressed
        warnings (sadly). Fixed.

    o   data.table unaware packages that use DF[i] and DF[i]<-value syntax
        were not compatible with data.table, fixed. Many thanks to Prasad Chalasani
        for providing a reproducible example with base::droplevels(), and
        Helge Liebert for providing a reproducible example (#1794) with stats::reshape().
        Tests added.

    o already preserved DF's attributes but not any inherited
        classes such as nlme's groupedData, so nlme was incompatible with
        data.table. Fixed. Thanks to Dieter Menne for providing a reproducible
        example. Test added.

    o   The internal row.names attribute of .SD (which exists for compatibility with
        data.frame only) was not being updated for each group. This caused length errors
        when calling any non-data.table-aware package from j, by group, when that package
        used length of row.names. Such as the recent update to ggplot2. Fixed.

    o   When grouped j consists of a print of an object (such as ggplot2), the print is now
        masked to return NULL rather than the object that ggplot2 returns since the
        recent update v0.9.0. Otherwise data.table tries to accumulate the (albeit
        invisible) print object. The print mask is local to grouping, not generally.

    o   'by' was failing (bug #1880) when passed character column names where one or more
        included a space. So, this now works :
            DT[,sum(v),by="column 1"]
        and j retains spaces in column names rather than replacing spaces with "."; e.g.,
            DT[,list("a b"=1)]
        Thanks to Yang Zhang for reporting. Tests added. As before, column names may be
        back ticked in the usual R way (in i, j and by); e.g.,
            DT[,sum(`nicely named var`+1),by=month(`long name for date column`)]

    o   unique() on an unkeyed table including character columns now works correctly, fixing
        #1725. Thanks to Steven Bagley for reporting. Test added.

    o   %like% now returns logical (rather than integer locations) so that it can be
        combined with other i clauses, fixing #1726. Thanks to Ivan Zhang for reporting. Test


    o   Joshua Ulrich for spotting a missing PACKAGE="data.table"
        in .Call in setkey.R, and suggesting as.list.default() and
        unique.default() to avoid dispatch for speed, all implemented.


    o   Providing .SDcols when j doesn't use .SD is downgraded from error to warning,
        and verbosity now reports which columns have been detected as used by j.

    o   check.names is now FALSE by default, for convenience when working with column
        names with spaces and other special characters, which are now fully supported.
        This difference to data.frame has been added to FAQ 2.17.

        **                                          **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.10   **
        **                                          **


    o   New function setcolorder() reorders the columns by name
        or by number, by reference with no copy. This is (almost)
        infinitely faster than DT[,neworder,with=FALSE].

    o   The prefix i. can now be used in j to refer to join inherited
        columns of i that are otherwise masked by columns in x with
        the same name.


    o   tracemem() in example(setkey) was causing CRAN check errors
        on machines where R is compiled without memory profiling available,
        for efficiency. Notably, R for Windows, Ubuntu and Mac have memory
        profiling enabled which may slow down R on those architectures even
        when memory profiling is not being requested by the user. The call to
        tracemem() is now wrapped with try().

    o   merge of unkeyed tables now works correctly after breaking in 1.7.8 and
        1.7.9. Thanks to Eric and DM for reporting. Tests added.

    o   nomatch=0 was ignored for the first group when j used join inherited
        scope. Fixed and tests added.


    o   Updating an existing column using := after a key<- now works without warning
        or error. This can be useful in interactive use when you forget to use setkey()
        but don't mind about the inefficiency of key<-. Thanks to Chris Neff for
        providing a convincing use case. Adding a new column uing := after key<-
        issues a warning, shallow copies and proceeds, as before.

    o   The 'datatable.pre.suffixes' option has been removed. It was available to
        obtain deprecated merge() suffixes pre v1.5.4.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.9   **
        **                                         **


   o    New function setnames(), referred to in 1.7.8 warning messages.
        It makes no copy of the whole data object, unlike names<- and
        colnames<-. It may be more convenient as well since it allows changing
        a column name, by name; e.g.,

          setnames(DT,"oldcolname","newcolname")  # by name; no match() needed
          setnames(DT,3,"newcolname")             # by position
          setnames(DT,2:3,c("A","B"))             # multiple
          setnames(DT,c("a","b"),c("A","B"))      # multiple by name
          setnames(DT,toupper(names(DT)))         # replace all

        setnames() maintains truelength of the over-allocated names vector. This
        allows := to add columns fully by reference without growing the names
        vector. As before with names<-, if a key column's name is changed,
        the "sorted" attribute is updated with the new column name.


   o    Incompatibility with reshape() of 3 column tables fixed
        (introduced by 1.7.8) :
          Error in setkey(ans, NULL) : x is not a data.table
        Thanks to Damian Betebenner for reporting and
        reproducible example. Tests added to catch in future.

   o    setattr(DT,...) still returns DT, but now invisibly. It returns
        DT back again for compound syntax to work; e.g.,
        Again, thanks to Damian Betebenner for reporting.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.8   **
        **                                         **


   o    unique(DT) now works when DT is keyed and a key
        column is called 'x' (an internal scoping conflict
        introduced in v1.6.1). Thanks to Steven Bagley for

   o    Errors and seg faults could occur in grouping when
        j contained character or list columns. Many thanks
        to Jim Holtman for providing a reproducible example.

   o    Setting a key on a table with over 268 million rows
        (2^31/8) now works (again), #1714. Bug introduced in
        v1.7.2. setkey works up to the regular R vector limit
        of 2^31 rows (2 billion). Thanks to Leon Baum
        for reporting.

   o    Checks in := are now made up front (before starting to
        modify the data.table) so that the data.table isn't
        left in an invalid state should an error occur, #1711.
        Thanks to Chris Neff for reporting.

   o    The 'Chris crash' is fixed. The root cause was that key<-
        always copies the whole table. The problem with that copy
        (other than being slower) is that R doesn't maintain the
        over allocated truelength, but it looks as though it has.
        key<- was used internally, in particular in merge(). So,
        adding a column using := after merge() was a memory overwrite,
        since the over allocated memory wasn't really there after
        key<-'s copy.

        data.tables now have a new attribute '.internal.selfref' to
        catch and warn about such copies in future. All internal
        use of key<- has been replaced with setkey(), or new function
        setkeyv() which accepts a vector, and do not copy.

        Many thanks to Chris Neff for extended dialogue, providing a
        reproducible example and his patience. This problem was not just
        in pre 2.14.0, but post 2.14.0 as well. Thanks also to Christoph
        Jäckel, Timothée Carayol and DM for investigations and suggestions,
        which in combination led to the solution.

   o    An example in ?":=" fixed, and j and by descriptions
        improved in ?data.table. Thanks to Joseph Voelkel for


   o    Multiple new columns can be added by reference using
        := and with=FALSE; e.g.,

   o    := now recycles vectors of non divisible length, with
        a warning (previously an error).

   o    When setkey coerces a numeric or character column, it
        no longer makes a copy of the whole table, FR#1744. Thanks
        to an investigation by DM.

   o    New function setkeyv(DT,v) (v stands for vector) replaces
        key(DT)<-v syntax. Also added setattr(). See ?copy.

   o    merge() now uses (manual) secondary keys, for speed.


   o    The loc argument of setkey has been removed. This wasn't very
        useful and didn't warrant a period of deprecation.

   o    datatable.alloccol has been removed. That warning is now
        controlled by datatable.verbose=TRUE. One option is easer.

   o    If i is a keyed data.table, it is no longer an error if its
        key is longer than x's key; the first length(key(x)) columns
        of i's key are used to join.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.7   **
        **                                         **


   o    Previous bug fix for random crash in R <= 2.13.2
        related to truelength and over-allocation didn't
        work, 3rd attempt. Thanks to Chris Neff for his
        patience and testing. This has shown up consistently
        as error status on CRAN old-rel checks (windows and
        mac). So if they pass, this issue is fixed.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.6   **
        **                                         **


   o    An empty list column can now be added with :=, and
        data.table() accepts empty list().
        Empty list columns contain NULL for all rows.


   o    Adding a column to a data.table loaded from disk could
        result in a memory corruption in R <= 2.13.2, revealed
        and thanks to CRAN checks on windows old-rel.

   o    Adding a factor column with a RHS to be recycled no longer
        loses its factor attribute, #1691. Thanks to Damian
        Betebenner for reporting.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.5   **
        **                                         **


   o    merge()-ing a data.table where its key is not the first
        few columns in order now works correctly and without
        warning, fixing #1645. Thanks to Timothee Carayol for

   o    Mixing nomatch=0 and mult="last" (or "first") now works,
        #1661. Thanks to Johann Hibschman for reporting.

   o    Join Inherited Scope now respects nomatch=0, #1663. Thanks
        to Johann Hibschman for reporting.

   o    by= could generate a keyed result table with invalid key;
        e.g., when by= expressions return NA, #1631. Thanks to
        Muhammad Waliji for reporting.

   o    Adding a column to a data.table loaded from disk resulted
        in an error that truelength(DT)<length(DT).

   o    CJ() bogus values and logical error fixed, #1689. Thanks to
        Damian Betebenner and Chris Neff for reporting.

   o    j=list(.SD,newcol=...) now gives friendly error suggesting cbind
        or merge afterwards until := by group is implemented, rather than
        treating .SD as a list column, #1647. Thanks to a question by
        Christoph_J on Stack Overflow.


   o    rbind now cross-refs colnames as data.frame does, rather
        than always binding by column order, FR#1634. A warning is
        produced when the colnames are not in a consistent order.
        Thanks to Damian Betebenner for highlighting. rbind an
        unnamed list to bind columns by position.

   o    The 'bysameorder' argument has been removed, as intended and
        warned in ?data.table.

   o    New option datatable.allocwarn. See ?truelength.


   o    There are now 472 raw tests, plus S4 tests.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.4   **
        **                                         **


   o    v1.7.3 failed CRAN checks (and could crash) in R pre-2.14.0.
        Over-allocation in v1.7.3 uses truelength which is initialized
        to 0 by R 2.14.0, but not initialized pre-2.14.0. This was
        known and coded for but only tested in 2.14.0 before previous
        release to CRAN.


   o    Two unused C variables removed to pass warning from one CRAN
        check machine (r-devel-fedora). -Wno-unused removed from
        Makevars to catch this in future before submitting to CRAN.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.3   **
        **                                         **


    o   data.table now over-allocates its vector of column pointer slots
        (100 by default). This allows := to add columns fully by
        reference as suggested by Muhammad Waliji, #1646. When the 100
        slots are used up, more space is automatically allocated.

        Over allocation has negligible overhead. It's just the vector
        of column pointers, not the columns themselves.

    o   New function alloc.col() pre-allocates column slots. Use
        this before a loop to add many more than 100 columns, for example,
        to avoid the warning as data.table grows its column pointer vector
        every additional 100 columns; e.g.,
            alloc.col(DT,10000)  # reserve 10,000 column slots

    o   New function truelength() returns the number of column pointer
        slots allocated, always >= length() other than just after a table
        has been loaded from disk.

    o   New option 'datatable.nomatch' allows the default for nomatch
        to be changed from NA to 0, as wished for by Branson Owen.

    o   cbind(DT,...) now retains DT's key, as wished for by Chris Neff
        and partly implementing FR#295.


    o   Assignment to factor columns (using :=, [<- or $<-) could cause
        'variable not found' errors and a seg fault in some circumstances
        due to a new feature in v1.7.0: "Factor columns on LHS of :=, [<-
        and $<- can now be assigned new levels", fixing #1664. Thanks to
        Daniele Signori for reporting.

    o   DT[i,j]<-value no longer crashes when j is a factor column and value
        is numeric, fixing #1656.

    o   An unnecessarily strict machine tolerance test failed CRAN checks
        on Mac preventing v1.7.2 availability for Mac (only).


    o   := now has its own help page in addition to the examples in ?data.table,
        see help(":=").

    o   The error message from X[Y] when X is unkeyed has been lengthened to
        including advice to call setkey first and see ?setkey. Thanks to a
        comment by ilprincipe on Stack Overflow.

    o   Deleting a missing column is now a warning rather than error. Thanks
        to Chris Neff for suggesting, #1642.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.2   **
        **                                         **


    o   unique and duplicated methods now work on unkeyed tables (comparing
        all columns in that case) and both now respect machine tolerance for
        double precision columns, implementing FR#1626 and fixing bug #1632.
        Their help page has been updated accordingly with detailed examples.
        Thanks to questions by Iterator and comments by Allan Engelhardt on
        Stack Overflow.

    o   A new method has been added, since passing a (pure)
        list to data.table() now creates a single list column.


    o   Assigning to a column variable using <- or = in j now
        works (creating a local copy within j), rather than
        persisting from group to group and sometimes causing a crash.
        Non column variables still persist from group to group; e.g.,
        a group counter. This fixes the remainder of #1624 thanks to
        Steve Lianoglou for reporting.

    o   A crash bug is fixed when j returns a (strictly) NULL column next
        to a non-empty column, #1633. This case was anticipated and coded
        for but an errant LENGTH() should have been length(). Thanks
        to Dennis Murphy for reporting.

    o   The first column of data.table() can now be a list column, fixing
        #1640. Thanks to Stavros Macrakis for reporting.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.1   **
        **                                         **


    o   .SD is now locked, partially fixing #1624. It was never
        the intention to allow assignment to .SD. Take a 'copy(.SD)'
        first if needed. Now documented in ?data.table and new FAQ 4.5
        including example. Thanks to Steve Lianoglou for reporting.

    o   := now works with a logical i subset; e.g.,
        Thanks to Muhammad Waliji for reporting.


    o   Error message "column <name> of i is not internally type integer"
        is now more helpful adding "i doesn't need to be keyed, just
        convert the (likely) character column to factor". Thanks to
        Christoph_J for his SO question.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.7.0   **
        **                                         **


    o   data.table() now accepts list columns directly rather than
        needing to add list columns to an existing data.table; e.g.,

            DT = data.table(x=1:3,y=list(4:6,3.14,matrix(1:12,3)))

        Thanks to Branson Owen for reminding. As before, list columns
        can be created via grouping; e.g.,

            DT = data.table(x=c(1,1,2,2,2,3,3),y=1:7)
            DT2 = DT[,list(list(unique(y))),by=x]
                 x      V1
            [1,] 1    1, 2
            [2,] 2 3, 4, 5
            [3,] 3    6, 7

        and list columns can be grouped; e.g.,

                 x V1
            [1,] 1 16
            [2,] 0 12

        Accordingly, one item has been added to FAQ 2.17 (differences
        between data.frame and data.table): data.frame(list(1:2,"k",1:4))
        creates 3 columns, data.table creates one list column.

    o   subset, transform and within now retain keys when the expression
        does not 'touch' key columns, implemeting FR #1341.

    o   Recycling list() items on RHS of := now works; e.g.,

            # set columns 1 and 3 to 1L and remove columns 2 and 4

    o   Factor columns on LHS of :=, [<- and $<- can now be assigned
        new levels; e.g.,

            DT = data.table(A=c("a","b"))
            DT[2,"A"] <- "c"  # adds new level automatically
            DT[2,A:="c"]      # same (faster)
            DT$A = "newlevel" # adds new level and recycles it

        Thanks to Damian Betebenner and Chris Neff for highlighting.
        To change the type of a column, provide a full length RHS (i.e.
        'replace' the column).


    o   := with i all FALSE no longer sets the whole column, fixing
        bug #1570. Thanks to Chris Neff for reporting.

    o   0 length by (such as NULL and character(0)) now behave as
        if by is missing, fixing bug #1599. This is useful when by
        is dynamic and a 'dont group' needs to be represented.
        Thanks to Chris Neff for reporting.

    o   NULL j no longer results in 'inconsistent types' error, but
        instead returns no rows for that group, fixing bug #1576.

    o   matrix i is now an error rather than using i as if it were a
        vector and obtaining incorrect results. It was undocumented that
        matrix might have been an acceptable type. matrix i is
        still acceptable in [<-; e.g.,
            DT[] <- 1L
        and this now works rather than assigning to non-NA items in some

    o   Inconsistent [<- behaviour is now fixed (#1593) so these examples
        now work :
            DT[x == "a", ]$y <- 0L
            DT["a", ]$y <- 0L
        But, := is highly encouraged instead for speed; i.e.,
            DT[x == "a", y:=0L]
            DT["a", y:=0L]
        Thanks to Leon Baum for reporting.

    o   unique on an unsorted table now works, fixing bug #1601.
        Thanks to a question by Iterator on Stack Overflow.

    o   Bug fix #1534 in v1.6.5 (see NEWS below) only worked if data.table
        was higher than IRanges on the search() path, despite the item in
        NEWS stating otherwise. Fixed.

    o   Compatibility with package sqldf (which can call"rbind",...)
        on an empty "...") is fixed and test added. data.table was switching
        on list(...)[[1]] rather than ..1. Thanks to RYogi for reporting #1623.


    o   cbind and rbind are no longer masked. But, please do read FAQ 2.23,
        4.4 and 5.1.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.6.6   **
        **                                         **


    o   Tests using .Call("Rf_setAttrib",...) passed CRAN acceptance
        checks but failed on many (but not all) platforms. Fixed.
        Thanks to Prof Brian Ripley for investigating the issue.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.6.5   **
        **                                         **


    o   The LHS of := may now be column names or positions
        when with=FALSE; e.g.,


        This implements FR#1499 'Ability to efficiently remove a
        vector of column names' by Timothee Carayol in addition to
        creating and assigning to multiple columns. We still plan
        to allow multiple := without needing with=FALSE, in future.

    o   setkey(DT,...) now returns DT (invisibly) rather than NULL.
        This is to allow compound statements; e.g.,

    o   setkey (and key<-) are now more efficient when the data happens
        to be already sorted by the key columns; e.g., when data is
        loaded from ordered files.

    o   If DT is already keyed by the columns passed to setkey (or
        key<-), the key is now rebuilt and checked rather than skipping
        for efficiency. This is to save needing to know to drop the key
        first to rebuild an invalid key. Invalid keys can arise by going
        'under the hood'; e.g., attr(DT,"sorted")="z", or somehow ending
        up with unordered factor levels. A warning is issued so the root
        cause can be fixed. Thanks to Timothee Carayol for highlighting.

    o   A new copy() function has been added, FR#1501. This copies a
        data.table (retaining its key, if any) and should now be used to
        copy rather than data.table(). Reminder: data.tables are not
        copied on write by setkey, key<- or :=.


    o   DT[,z:=a/b] and DT[a>3,z:=a/b] work again, where a and
        b are columns of DT. Thanks to Chris Neff for reporting,
        and his patience.

    o   Numeric columns with class attributes are now correctly
        coerced to integer by setkey and ad hoc by. The error
        similar to 'fractional data cannot be truncated' should now
        only occur when that really is true. A side effect of
        this is that ad hoc by and setkey now work on IDate columns
        which have somehow become numeric; e.g., via rbind(DF,DF)
        as reported by Chris Neff.

    o   .N is now 0 (rather than 1) when no rows in x match the
        row in i, fixing bug #1532. Thanks to Yang Zhang for

    o   Compatibility with package IRanges has been restored. Both
        data.table and IRanges mask cbind and rbind. When data.table's
        cbind is found first (if it is loaded after IRanges) and the
        first argument is not data.table, it now delegates to the next
        package on the search path (and above that), one or more of which
        may also mask cbind (such as IRanges), rather than skipping
        straight to base::cbind. So, it no longer matters which way around
        data.table and IRanges are loaded, fixing #1534. Thanks to Steve
        Lianoglou for reporting.


    o   setkey's verbose messages expanded.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.6.4   **
        **                                         **


    o   DT[colA>3,which=TRUE] now returns row numbers rather
        than a logical vector, for consistency.


    o   Changing a keyed column name now updates the key, too,
        so an invalid key no longer arises, fixing #1495.
        Thanks to Chris Neff for reporting.

    o   := already warned when a numeric RHS is coerced to
        match an integer column's type. Now it also warns when
        numeric is coerced to logical, and integer is coerced
        to logical, fixing #1500. Thanks to Chris Neff for

    o   The result of DT[,newcol:=3.14] now includes the new
        column correctly, as well as changing DT by reference,
        fixing #1496. Thanks to Chris Neff for reporting.

    o   :=NULL to remove a column (instantly, regardless of table
        size) now works rather than causing a segfault in some
        circumstances, fixing #1497. Thanks to Timothee Carayol
        for reporting.

    o   Previous within() and transform() behaviour restored; e.g.,
        can handle multiple columns again. Thanks to Timothee Carayol
        for reporting.

    o   cbind(DT,DF) now works, as does rbind(DT,DF), fixing #1512.
        Thanks to Chris Neff for reporting. This was tricky to fix due
        to nuances of the .Internal dispatch code in cbind and rbind,
        preventing S3 methods from working in all cases.
        R will now warn that cbind and rbind have been masked when
        the data.table package is loaded. These revert to base::cbind
        and base::rbind when the first argument is not data.table.

    o   Removing multiple columns now works (again) using
        DT[,c("a","b")]=NULL, or within(DT,rm(a,b)), fixing #1510.
        Thanks to Timothee Carayol for reporting.


    o   The package uses two features (packageVersion() and \href in Rd)
        added to R 2.12.0 and is therefore dependent on that release.
        A 'spurious warning' when checking a package using \href was
        fixed in R 2.12.2 patched but we believe that warning can safely
        be ignored in versions >= 2.12.0 and < 2.12.2 patched.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.6.3   **
        **                                         **


    o   Ad hoc grouping now returns results in the same order each
        group first appears in the table, rather than sorting the
        groups. Thanks to Steve Lianoglou for highlighting. The order
        of the rows within each group always has and always will be
        preserved. For larger datasets a 'keyed by' is still faster;
        e.g., by=key(DT).

    o   The 'key' argument of data.table() now accepts a vector of
        column names in addition to a single comma separated string
        of column names, for consistency. Thanks to Steve Lianoglou
        for highlighting.

    o   A new argument '.SDcols' has been added to [.data.table. This
        may be character column names or numeric positions and
        specifies the columns of x included in .SD. This is useful
        for speed when applying a function through a subset of
        (possibly very many) columns; e.g.,

    o   as(character, "IDate") and as(character, "ITime") coercion
        functions have been added. Enables the user to declaring colClasses
        as "IDate" and "ITime" in the various read.table (and sister)
        functions. Thanks to Chris Neff for the suggestion.

    o   DT[i,j]<-value is now handled by data.table in C rather
        than falling through to data.frame methods, FR#200. Thanks to
        Ivo Welch for raising speed issues on r-devel, to Simon Urbanek
        for the suggestion, and Luke Tierney and Simon for information
        on R internals.

        [<- syntax still incurs one working copy of the whole
        table (as of R 2.13.1) due to R's [<- dispatch mechanism
        copying to `*tmp*`, so, for ultimate speed and brevity,
        the operator := may now be used in j as follows.

    o   := is now available to j and means assign to the column by
        reference; e.g.,


        This syntax makes no copies of any part of memory at all.

        m = matrix(1,nrow=100000,ncol=100)
        DF =
        DT =

        system.time(for (i in 1:1000) DF[i,1] <- i)
             user  system elapsed
          287.062 302.627 591.984

        system.time(for (i in 1:1000) DT[i,V1:=i])
             user  system elapsed
            1.148   0.000   1.158     ( 511 times faster )

        := in j can be combined with all types of i, such as binary
        search, and used to add and remove columns efficiently.
        Fast assigning within groups will be implemented in future.

        Reminder that data.frame and data.table both allow columns
        of mixed types, including columns which themselves may be
        type list; matrix may be one (atomic) type only.

        *Please note*, := is new and experimental.


    o   merge()ing two data.table's with user-defined `suffixes`
        was getting tripped up when column names in x ended in
        '.1'. This resulted in the `suffixes` parameter being

    o   Mistakenly wrapping a j expression inside quotes; e.g.,
        was appearing to work, but with wrong column names. This
        now returns a character column (the quotes should not
        be used). Thanks to Joseph Voelkel for reporting.

    o   setkey has been made robust in several ways to fix issues
        introduced in 1.6.2: #1465 ('R crashes after setkey')
        reported by Eugene Tyurin and similar bug #1387 ('paste()
        by group to create long comma separated strings can crash')
        reported by Nicolas Servant and Jean-Francois Rami. This
        bug was not reproducible so we are especially grateful for
        the patience of these people in helping us find, fix and
        test it.

    o   Combining a join, j and by together in one query now works
        rather than giving an error, fixing bug #1468. Discovered
        indirectly thanks to a post from Jelmer Ypma.

    o   Invalid keys no longer arise when a non-data.table-aware
        package reorders the data; e.g.,
            plyr::arrange(DT,y)       # same as DT[order(y)]
        This now drops the key to avoid incorrect results being
        returned the next time the invalid key is joined to. Thanks
        to Chris Neff for reporting.


    o   The startup banner has been shortened to one line.

    o   data.table does not support POSIXlt. Almost unbelievably
        POSIXlt uses 40 bytes to store a single datetime. If it worked
        before, that was unintentional. Please see ?IDateTime, or any
        other date class that uses a single atomic vector. This is
        regardless of whether the POSIXlt is a key column, or not. This
        resolves bug #1481 by documenting non support in ?data.table.


   o    Use of the DT() alias in j is no longer caught for backwards
        compatibility and is now fully removed. As warned in NEWS
        for v1.5.3, v1.4, and FAQs 2.6 and 2.7.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.6.2   **
        **                                         **


   o    setkey no longer copies the whole table and should be
        faster for large tables. Each column is reordered by reference
        (in C) using one column of working memory, FR#1006. User
        defined attributes on the original table are now also
        retained (thanks to Thell Fowler for reporting).

   o    A new symbol .N is now available to j, containing the
        number of rows in the group. This may be useful when
        the column names are not known in advance, for
        convenience generally, and for efficiency.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.6.1   **
        **                                         **


   o    j's environment is now consistently reused so
        that local variables may be set which persist
        from group to group; e.g., incrementing a group
        counter :
        Thanks to Andreas Borg for reporting.

   o    A new symbol .BY is now available to j, containing 1 row
        of the current 'by' variables, type list. 'by' variables
        may also be used by name, and are now length 1 too. This
        implements FR#1313. FAQ 2.10 has been updated accordingly.
        Some examples :

   o    i may now be type list, and works the same as when i
        is type data.table. This saves needing J() in as many
        situations and may be a little more efficient. One
        application is using .BY directly in j to join to a
        relatively small lookup table, once per group, for space
        and time efficiency. For example :


   o    A 'by' character vector of column names now
        works when there are less rows than columns; e.g.,
            DT[,sum(x),by=key(DT)]  where nrow(DT)==1.
        Many thanks to Andreas Borg for report, proposed
        fix and tests.

   o    Zero length columns in j no longer cause a crash in
        some circumstances. Empty columns are filled with NA
        to match the length of the longest column in j.
        Thanks to Johann Hibschman for bug report #1431.

   o now calls the same internal code
        (in C) that grouping calls. This fixes a bug when
        unique is called directly by user, and, NA exist
        in the key (which might be quite rare). Thanks to
        Damian Betebenner for bug report. unique should also
        now be faster.

   o    Variables in calling scope can now be used in j when
        i is logical or integer, fixing bug #1421. Thanks
        to Alexander Peterhansl for reporting.


    o   ?data.table now documents that logical i is not quite
        the same as i in [.data.frame. NA are treated as FALSE,
        and DT[NA] returns 1 row of NA, unlike [.data.frame.
        Three points have been added to FAQ 2.17. Thanks to
        Johann Hibschman for highlighting.

    o   Startup banner now uses packageStartupMessage() so the
        banner can be suppressed by those annoyed by banners,
        whilst still being helpful to new users.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.6     **
        **                                         **


   o    data.table now plays nicely with S4 classes. Slots can be
        defined to be S4 objects, S4 classes can inherit from data.table,
        and S4 function dispatch works on data.table objects. See the
        tests in inst/tests/test-S4.R, and from the R prompt:

   o now works more like
        (i) suffixes are consistent with; existing users
        may set options(datatable.pre.suffixes=TRUE) for backwards
        (ii) support for 'by' argument added (FR #1315).
        However, X[Y] syntax is preferred; some users never use merge.


   o    by=key(DT) now works when the number of rows is not
        divisible by the number of groups (#1298, an odd bug).
        Thanks to Steve Lianoglou for reporting.

   o    Combining i and by where i is logical or integer subset now
        works, fixing bug #1294. Thanks to Johann Hibschman for
        contributing a new test.

   o    Variable scope inside [[...]] now works without a workaround
        required. This can be useful for looking up which function
        to call based on the data e.g. DT[,fns[[fn]](colA),by=ID].
        Thanks to Damian Betebenner for reporting.

   o    Column names in self joins such as DT[DT] are no longer
        duplicated, fixing bug #1340. Thanks to Andreas Borg for


   o    Additions and updates to FAQ vignette. Thanks to Dennis
        Murphy for his thorough proof reading.

   o    Welcome to Steve Lianoglou who joins the project
        contributing S4-ization, testing using testthat, and more.

   o    IDateTime is now linked from ?data.table. data.table users
        unaware of IDateTime, please do take a look. Tom added
        IDateTime in v1.5 (see below).

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.5.3   **
        **                                         **


   o    .SD no longer includes 'by' columns, FR#978. This resolves
        the long standing annoyance of duplicated 'by' columns
        when the j expression returns a subset of rows from .SD.
        For example, the following query no longer contains
        a redundant 'colA.1' duplicate.
            DT[,.SD[2],by=colA] #  2nd row of each group
        Any existing code that uses .SD may require simple
        changes to remove workarounds.

   o    'by' may now be a character vector of column names.
        This allows syntax such as DT[,sum(x),by=key(DT)].

   o    X[Y] now includes Y's non-join columns, as most users
        naturally expect, FR#746. Please do use j in one step
        (i.e. X[Y,j]) since that merges just the columns j uses and
        is much more efficient than X[Y][,j] or merge(X,Y)[,j].

   o    The 'Join Inherited Scope' feature is back on, FR#1095. This
        is consistent with X[Y] including Y's non-join columns, enabling
        natural progression from X[Y] to X[Y,j]. j sees columns in X
        first then Y.
        If the same column name exists in both X and Y, the data in
        Y can be accessed via a prefix "i." (not yet implemented).

   o    Ad hoc by now coerces double to integer (provided they are
        all.equal) and character to factor, FR#1051, as setkey
        already does.


   o    The default for mult is now "all", as planned and
        prior notice given in FAQ 2.2.

   o    ?[.data.table has been merged into ?data.table and updated,
        simplified, corrected and formatted.


   o    The DT() alias is now fully deprecated, as warned
        in NEWS for v1.4, and FAQs 2.6 and 2.7.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.5.2   **
        **                                         **


   o    'by' now works when DT contains list() columns i.e.
        where each value in a column may itself be vector
        or where each value is a different type. FR#1092.

   o    The result from merge() is now keyed. FR#1244.


    o   eval of parse()-ed expressions now works without
        needing quote() in the expression, bug #1243. Thanks
        to Joseph Voelkel for reporting.

    o   the result from the first group alone may be bigger
        than the table itself, bug #1245. Thanks to
        Steve Lianoglou for reporting.

    o   merge on a data.table with a single key'd column only
        and all=TRUE now works, bug #1241. Thanks to
        Joseph Voelkel for reporting.

    o   merge()-ing by a column called "x" now works, bug
        #1229 related to variable scope. Thanks to Steve
        Lianoglou for reporting.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.5.1   **
        **                                         **


    o   Fixed inheritance for other packages importing or depending
        on data.table, bugs #1093 and #1132. Thanks to Koert Kuipers
        for reporting.

    o   data.table queries can now be used at the debugger() prompt,
        fixing bug #1131 related to inheritance from data.frame.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.5     **
        **                                         **


    o   data.table now *inherits* from data.frame, for functions and
        packages which _only_ accept data.frame, saving time and
        memory of conversion. A data.table is a data.frame too; now returns TRUE.

    o   Integer-based date and time-of-day classes have been
        introduced. This allows dates and times to be used as keys
        more easily. See as.IDate, as.ITime, and IDateTime.
        Conversions to and from POSIXct, Date, and chron are

    o   [< and $< were revised to check for
        changes to the key-ed columns. [< also now allows
        data.table-style indexing for i. Both of these changes may
        introduce incompatibilities for existing code.

    o   Logical columns are now allowed in keys. Logical columns (and
        expressions that evaluate to logical) are now allowed in 'by'.
        Thanks to David Winsemius for highlighting.


    o   DT[,5] now returns 5 as FAQ 1.1 says, for consistency
        with DT[,c(5)] and DT[,5+0]. DT[,"region"] now returns
        "region" as FAQ 1.2 says. Thanks to Harish V for reporting.

    o   When a quote()-ed expression q is passed to 'by' using
        by=eval(q), the group column names now come from the list
        in the expression rather than the name 'q' (bug #974) and,
        multiple items work (bug #975). Thanks to Harish V for

    o   quote()-ed i and j expressions receive similar fixes, bugs
        #977 and #1058. Thanks to Harish V and Branson Owen for

    o   Multiple errors (grammar, format and spelling) in intro.Rnw
        and faqs.Rnw corrected by Dennis Murphy. Thank you.

    o   Memory is now reallocated in rare cases when the up front
        allocate for the result of grouping is insufficient. Bug
        #952 raised by Georg V, and also reported by Harish. Thank

    o   A function call foo(arg=sum(b)) now finds b in DT when foo
        contains DT[,eval(substitute(arg)),by=a], fixing bug #1026.
        Thanks to Harish V for reporting.

    o   If DT contains column 'a' then DT[J(unique(a))] now finds
        'a', fixing bug #1005. Thanks to Branson Owen for reporting.

    o   'by' on no data (for example when 'i' returns no rows) now
        works, fixing bug #709.

    o   'by without by' now heeds nomatch=NA, fixing bug #1015.
        Thanks to Harish V for reporting.

    o   DT[NA] now returns 1 row of NA rather than the whole table
        via standard NA logical recycling. A single NA logical is
        a special case and is now replaced by NA_integer_. Thanks
        to Branson Owen for highlighting the issue.

    o   NROW removed from data.table, since the in
        base::NROW now returns TRUE due to inheritance. Fixes bug
        #1039 reported by Bradley Buchsbaum. Thank you.

    o   setkey() now coerces character to factor and double to
        integer (provided they are all.equal), fixing bug #953.
        Thanks to Steve Lianoglou for reporting.

    o   'by' now accepts lists from the calling scope without the
        work around of wrapping with as.list() or {}, fixing bug
        #1060. Thanks to Johann Hibschman for reporting.


    o   The package uses the 'default' option of base::getOption,
        and is therefore dependent on R 2.10.0. Updated DESCRIPTION
        file accordingly. Thanks to Christian Hudon for reporting.

        **                                         **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.4.1   **
        **                                         **


    o   Vignettes tidied up.


    o   Out of order levels in key columns are now sorted by
        setkey. Thanks to Steve Lianoglou for reporting.

        **                                       **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.4   **
        **                                       **


    o   'by' faster. Memory is allocated first for the result, then
    populated directly by the result of j for each group. Can be 10
    or more times faster than tapply() and aggregate(), see
    timings vignette.

    o   j should now be a list(), not DT(), of expressions. Use of
    j=DT(...) is caught internally and replaced with j=list(...).

    o   'by' may be a list() of expressions. A single column name
    is automatically list()-ed for convenience. 'by' may still be
    a comma separated character string, as before.
        DT[,sum(x),by=region]                     # new
        DT[,sum(x),by=list(region,month(date))]   # new
        DT[,sum(x),by="region"]                   # old, ok too
        DT[,sum(x),by="region,month(date)"]       # old, ok too

    o   key() and key<- added. More R-style alternatives to getkey()
    and setkey().

    o   haskey() added. Returns TRUE if a table has a key.

    o   radix sorting is now column by column where possible, was
    previously all or nothing. Helps with keys of many columns.

    o   Added format method.

    o   22 tests added to, now 149.

    o   Three vignettes added : FAQ, Intro & Timings


    o   The DT alias is removed. Use 'data.table' instead to create
    objects. See 2nd new feature above.

    o   RUnit framework removed. is called from examples in .Rd so 'R CMD check'
    will run it. Simpler. An eval(body(
    is also in the .Rd, to catch namespace issues.

    o   Dependency on package 'ref' removed.

    o   Arguments removed:  simplify, incbycols and byretn.
    Grouping is simpler now, these are superfluous.


    o   Column classes are now retained by subset and grouping.

    o   tail no longer fails when a column 'x' exists.


    o   Minor : Join Inherited Scope not working, contrary
        to the documentation.


    o   v1.4 was essentially the branch at rev 44, reintegrated
    at rev 78.

        **                                       **
        **   CHANGES IN DATA.TABLE VERSION 1.3   **
        **                                       **


    o   Radix sorting added. Speeds up setkey and add-hoc 'by'
    by factor of 10 or more.

    o   Merge method added, much faster than base::merge method
    of data.frame.

    o   'by' faster. Logic moved from R into C. Memory is
    allocated for the largest group only, then re-used.

    o   The Sub Data is accessible as a whole by j using object
    .SD. This should only be used in rare circumstances. See FAQ.

    o   Methods added : duplicated, unique, transform, within,
    [<-, t, Math, Ops,, na.omit, summary

    o   Column name rules improved e.g. dots now allowed.

    o rownames improved.

    o   29 tests added to, now 127.


    o   Default of mb changed, now tables(mb=TRUE)


    o   ... removed in [.data.table.
    j may not be a function, so this is now superfluous.


    o   Incorrect version warning with R 2.10+ fixed.

    o   j enclosure raised one level. This fixes some bugs
    where the j expression previously saw internal variable
    names. It also speeds up grouping a little.


    o   v1.3 was not released to CRAN. R-Forge repository only.

        **                                        **
        **   VERSION 1.2 RELEASED CRAN AUG 2008   **
        **                                        **
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