3. Program :: intro

Published by onesixx on




18.1 Intro

18.2 Piping alternatives

18.3 When not to use the pipe

The pipe is a powerful tool, but it’s not the only tool at your disposal, and it doesn’t solve every problem! Pipes are most useful for rewriting a fairly short linear sequence of operations. I think you should reach for another tool when:

  • Your pipes are longer than (say) ten steps. In that case, create intermediate objects with meaningful names. That will make debugging easier, because you can more easily check the intermediate results, and it makes it easier to understand your
    code, because the variable names can help communicate intent.

  • You have multiple inputs or outputs. If there isn’t one primary object being transformed, but two or more objects being combined together, don’t use the pipe.

  • You are starting to think about a directed graph with a complex dependency structure. Pipes are fundamentally linear and expressing complex relationships with them will typically yield confusing code.


Categories: Tidyverse


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