[Rcpp-devel] Yet Another Design Question

Douglas Bates bates at stat.wisc.edu
Tue Apr 13 00:14:14 CEST 2010

One of the advantages of using S4 classes and methods in R is that
there are formal definitions of classes.  I plan eventually to write R
code that will take an S4 class definition and create a C++ class
definition and constructor code to mirror the R class using Rcpp

Right now my question is related to constructors.  If I have a slot in
an S4 class that is itself an S4 object, is there a way to chain the
constructor so that I generate the internal object without first
creating an empty object.

To be specific, I have an S4 class "reModule" that contains sparse
matrices of S4 class "dgCMatrix" and some information that is atomic.
The S4 definition is (more-or-less)

setClass("reModule", representation(Lambda = "dgCMatrix", Zt =
"dgCMatrix", theta = "numeric", Lind = "integer"))

and the definition of dgCMatrix is

setClass("dgCMatrix", representation(Dim = "integer", i = "integer", p
= "integer", x = "numeric")

Using Rcpp I define C++ classes

class dgCMatrix {

    Rcpp::IntegerVector Dim, i, p;
    Rcpp::NumericVector x;

class reModule {

    dgCMatrix Lambda, Zt;
    Rcpp::NumericVector theta;
    Rcpp::IntegerVector Lind;

If I define a constructor for the reModule without chaining to
constructors for the dgCMatrix objects then I need to define a
dgCMatrix::dgCMatrix() constructor and then redefine the Lambda and Zt
members inside the reModule constructor.  I think a more idiomatic C++
constructor definition is to chain to the other constructor as in

using namespace Rcpp;

reModule::reModule(S4 xp) :

but the compiler doesn't like constructing an S4 object from an

The way I have gotten around this is to use

Is that a reasonable construction to use?

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