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Re: Options and FilterOptions

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg961] Re: Options and FilterOptions
  • From: wagner at bullwinkle.cs.Colorado.EDU (Dave Wagner)
  • Date: Thu, 4 May 1995 03:34:14 -0400
  • Organization: University of Colorado, Boulder

In article <3nppkt$ohp at>,
Allan Hayes  <hay@haystack> wrote:
>Here are some general points about options and the function  
>FilterOptions that might be of use.
>1) Options can be of the form name:> value as well as name->value .
>So, one should normally use the form
>	foo[___, opts___?OptionQ]
>2) Nested list of options are accepted by OptionQ
>	OptionQ[{a->b,{{x :> y}}}]
>	True
>and by other functions: eg
>	Plot[x,{x,0,1}, {Frame ->True}];
>They can appear, or be generated, in code (though with care we  
>could probably avoid this).
>Unfortunately we find
> (92 lines of discussion deleted)


  Thanks for pointing out that options could be specified as delayed
rules; I never would have thought of that.  In truth, I still can't
think of a case in which you'd want to specify an option that way *in a
function call* --- that is, I can see why one sometimes needs delayed
rules in Options[foo], but not in foo[___, opts].

  Judging from the discussion in your posting, using OptionQ introduces
a large number of potential problems.  The ability to pass lists of
options to built-in functions appears to be an undocumented feature; I
have never seen this before, and upon checking The Book I can't find
any mention of it.  So, I propose we apply the principle of Occam's
Razor and conclude that using OptionQ is too complicated to be "right."

  I therefore propose the following pattern for matching a sequence of

	foo[___, opts:(_Rule | _RuleDelayed)...]

This does seem better than what I've been advocating, plus it avoids
all the "gotchas" that seem to be involved with nested lists of
options.  I don't think that users should complain that a function
doesn't support an undocumented feature.

  On the other hand, if you can point to anyplace that the lists-of-options
feature is documented, I'll eat these bits! :-)

		Dave Wagner
		Principia Consulting
		(303) 786-8371
		princon at

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