Missing values for julia



Project Status: Active - The project has reached a stable, usable state and is being actively developed. Build Status Build status DataValues codecov


This package provides the type DataValue that is used to represent missing data. The type is very similar to Nullable in julia base. It differs from Nullable by providing a small number of additional features that make common operations on data easier.

Currently the main use of this type is in the Query.jl, IterableTables.jl and DataValueArrays.jl package.

This repo is based on the following principles/ideas:

  • This type is meant to make life for data scientists as easy as possible. That is the main guiding principle.
  • We hook into the dot broadcasting mechanism from julia 0.6 to provide lifting functionality for functions that don't have specific methods for DataValue arguments.
  • The & and | operators follow the 3VL semantics for DataValues.
  • Comparison operators like ==, < etc. on DataValues return Bool values, i.e. they are normal predicates.
  • Common arithmetic inplace operators like + have methods that lift DataValue arguments without the use of the dot broadcast syntax.
  • The package provides a configurable whitelist approach to lifting (see below).

Any help with this package would be greatly appreciated!

Configurable whitelist lifting

There is currently a debate whether the call site lifting via the . mechanism is a good solution to the lifting problem, or whether it is too cumbersome. To gain some data on this question, the package here implements both the . mechanism and a more traditional whitelist approach to lifting. The . call-site lifting approach is always enabled, but users can manually enable or disable the whitelist approach by calling the enable_whitelist_lifting() and disable_whitelist_lifting() functions. A call to either of these functions will enable or disable whitelist lifting as a configuration in the julia package itself, i.e. that choice is remembered across julia instances. Whitelist lifting is enabled by default in the package.

When whitelist lifting is enabled, the package aims to add methods with DataValue arguments to many functions from julia base. If you come across a function that is missing whitelist lifted methods, please open a PR or an issue so that we can add those methods.

My expectation is that eventually one of these approaches (. lifting and whitelist lifting) will be picked as the only supported one, or maybe someone will find a third, even better option.

Feedback on these two options would be most welcome. In particular, I would very much appreciate any feedback on whether the . lifting approach is indeed too cumbersome or not. Please report back what you think of both approaches here or over in the data domain on the julia forums!

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