[Gretl-devel] some bugs and issues

Allin Cottrell cottrell at wfu.edu
Wed Feb 1 16:33:53 EST 2012

On Wed, 1 Feb 2012, Sven Schreiber wrote:

> I'm feeling uneasy about the fact that now in some places in 
> the localized GUI you can enter "2,5", whereas in other 
> cases you cannot do that (as discussed in this thread). This 
> causes potential confusion or frustration.


> So let me have another go at a suggestion for the GUI inputs (including
> function calls, not just pure numbers). The proposal goes as follows:
> * Starting point (sic! -- and which I said before): allowing double
> meanings for commas in a single expression is out of the question IMHO.
> So that means that somebody who uses commas as decimal separators *must*
> use something else as function argument separator. I suggest(ed) the
> semicolon.
> * Needless to say (?), all this does not apply to hansl scripts.
> * First solution: Gretl already has a preference option for choosing the
> localized decimal separator. (Personally I prefer to work with the '.'
> for example.) If that preference is set to localized, it seems logical
> to actually _require_ the input in GUI windows in this localized form.
> For example under the German (de_DE) locale: "2,5*corr(ser1;ser2)" Note
> the semicolon (see above)!
> * Extended solution "1b": Gretl could try to be clever and apply a
> conversion according to the following algorithm, which tries to maintain
> the current behavior where hansl-style input is always allowed:
> - Are both a semicolon and a dot present? raise an error
> - Is a semicolon present? Then treat it as localized and internally
> convert the local decimal separator to dot, and semicolon to comma.
> - Is a dot present (irrespective of the presence of a comma)? Then
> assume hansl (C-style) rules and do not convert.
> - Is only a comma present (and no dot or semicolon)? If the comma is not
> inside parentheses, must be a decimal separator, treat everything as
> localized. If the comma is inside parentheses, it gets more difficult
> and nasty...
> But again, given the existing GUI preference option for choosing the
> style of the decimal separator, I think there is a strong case for
> requiring this chosen style in the GUI, which resolves all ambiguities.
> (At the cost of introducing a new character for function argument
> separation in the GUI, which would have to be suitably documented.)

A couple of comments on this.

First, I wonder how many users want to see the decimal comma 
on output, but would prefer to keep the input in a "genr" box 
consistent with hansl?

Second, there's another character that would need fixing, 
namely the ';' that is used for terminating a matrix row, as 

m = {1.1, 2.2 ; 3.3, 4.4}

I suppose this would have to become something like

m = {1,1; 2,2 X 3,3; 4,4}

but what's the 'X'? I guess ':' would be an obvious choice, 
but it means things already.


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