dplyr 0.8.0 release candidate

Photo by Pau Casals

A new release of dplyr (0.8.0) is on the horizon, roughly planned for early January 2019.

Since it is a major release with some potential disruption, we’d love for the community to try it out, give us some feedback, and report issues before we submit to CRAN. This version represents about nine months of development, making dplyr more respectful of factors, and less surprising in its evaluation of expressions.

In this post, we’ll highlight the major changes. Please see the NEWS for a more detailed description of changes. Our formalised process for this release is captured in this issue.

# install.packages("devtools")
devtools::install_github("tidyverse/dplyr")

If needed, you can restore the release version by installing from CRAN:

install.packages("dplyr")

New grouping algorithm

Group creation

The algorithm behind group_by() has been redesigned to better respect factor levels, so that a group is created for each level of the factor, even if there is no data. This differs from previous versions of dplyr where groups were only created to match the observed data. This closes the epic issue 341, which dates back to 2014, and has generated a lot of press and frustration, see Zero Counts in dplyr for a recent walkthrough of the issue.

Let’s illustrate the new algorithm with the count() function:

df <- tibble(
  f1 = factor(c("a", "a", "a", "b", "b"), levels = c("a", "b", "c")), 
  f2 = factor(c("d", "e", "d", "e", "f"), levels = c("d", "e", "f")), 
  x  = c(1, 1, 1, 2, 2), 
  y  = 1:5
)
df
#> # A tibble: 5 x 4
#>   f1    f2        x     y
#>   <fct> <fct> <dbl> <int>
#> 1 a     d         1     1
#> 2 a     e         1     2
#> 3 a     d         1     3
#> 4 b     e         2     4
#> 5 b     f         2     5
df %>% 
  count(f1)
#> # A tibble: 3 x 2
#>   f1        n
#>   <fct> <int>
#> 1 a         3
#> 2 b         2
#> 3 c         0

Where previous versions of dplyr would have created only two groups (for levels a and b), it now creates one group per level, and the group related to the level c just happens to be empty.

Groups are still made to match the data on other types of columns:

df %>% 
  count(x)
#> # A tibble: 2 x 2
#>       x     n
#>   <dbl> <int>
#> 1     1     3
#> 2     2     2

Expansion of groups for factors happens at each step of the grouping, so if we group by f1 and f2 we get 9 groups,

df %>% 
  count(f1, f2)
#> # A tibble: 9 x 3
#>   f1    f2        n
#>   <fct> <fct> <int>
#> 1 a     d         2
#> 2 a     e         1
#> 3 a     f         0
#> 4 b     d         0
#> 5 b     e         1
#> 6 b     f         1
#> 7 c     d         0
#> 8 c     e         0
#> 9 c     f         0

When factors and non factors are involved in the grouping, the number of groups depends on the order. At each level of grouping, factors are always expanded to one group per level, but non factors only create groups based on observed data.

df %>% 
  count(f1, x)
#> # A tibble: 3 x 3
#>   f1        x     n
#>   <fct> <dbl> <int>
#> 1 a         1     3
#> 2 b         2     2
#> 3 c        NA     0

In this example, we group by f1 then x. At the first layer, grouping on f1 creates three groups. Each of these groups is then subdivided based on the values of the second variable x. Since x is always 1 when f1 is a the group is not further divided.

The last group, associated with the level c of the factor f1 is empty, and consequently has no values for the vector x. In that case, group_by() uses NA.

df %>% 
  count(x, f1)
#> # A tibble: 6 x 3
#>       x f1        n
#>   <dbl> <fct> <int>
#> 1     1 a         3
#> 2     1 b         0
#> 3     1 c         0
#> 4     2 a         0
#> 5     2 b         2
#> 6     2 c         0

When we group by x then f1 we initially split the data according to x which gives 2 groups. Each of these two groups is then further divided in 3 groups, i.e. one for each level of f1.

Group preservation

The grouping structure is more coherently preserved by dplyr verbs.

df %>% 
  group_by(x, f1) %>% 
  summarise(y = mean(y))
#> # A tibble: 6 x 3
#> # Groups:   x [2]
#>       x f1        y
#>   <dbl> <fct> <dbl>
#> 1     1 a       2  
#> 2     1 b     NaN  
#> 3     1 c     NaN  
#> 4     2 a     NaN  
#> 5     2 b       4.5
#> 6     2 c     NaN

The expression mean(y) is evaluated for the empty groups as well, and gives consistent results with :

mean(numeric())
#> [1] NaN

In particular the result of filter() preserves the grouping structure of the input data frame.

df %>% 
  group_by(x, f1) %>% 
  filter(y < 4)
#> # A tibble: 3 x 4
#> # Groups:   x, f1 [6]
#>   f1    f2        x     y
#>   <fct> <fct> <dbl> <int>
#> 1 a     d         1     1
#> 2 a     e         1     2
#> 3 a     d         1     3

The resulting tibble after the filter() call has six groups, the same exact groups that were made by group_by(). Previous versions of dplyr would perform an implicit group_by() after the filtering, potentially losing groups.

Because this is potentially disruptive, filter() has gained a .preserve argument, when .preserve is FALSE the data is first filtered and then regrouped:

df %>% 
  group_by(x, f1) %>% 
  filter(y < 5, .preserve = FALSE)
#> # A tibble: 4 x 4
#> # Groups:   x, f1 [6]
#>   f1    f2        x     y
#>   <fct> <fct> <dbl> <int>
#> 1 a     d         1     1
#> 2 a     e         1     2
#> 3 a     d         1     3
#> 4 b     e         2     4

Note however, that even .preserve = FALSE respects the factors that are used as grouping variables, in particular filter( , .preserve = FALSE) is not a way to discard empty groups. The forcats 📦 may help:

iris %>% 
  group_by(Species) %>% 
  filter(stringr::str_detect(Species, "^v")) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  group_by(Species = forcats::fct_drop(Species))
#> # A tibble: 100 x 5
#> # Groups:   Species [2]
#>    Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species   
#>           <dbl>       <dbl>        <dbl>       <dbl> <fct>     
#>  1          7           3.2          4.7         1.4 versicolor
#>  2          6.4         3.2          4.5         1.5 versicolor
#>  3          6.9         3.1          4.9         1.5 versicolor
#>  4          5.5         2.3          4           1.3 versicolor
#>  5          6.5         2.8          4.6         1.5 versicolor
#>  6          5.7         2.8          4.5         1.3 versicolor
#>  7          6.3         3.3          4.7         1.6 versicolor
#>  8          4.9         2.4          3.3         1   versicolor
#>  9          6.6         2.9          4.6         1.3 versicolor
#> 10          5.2         2.7          3.9         1.4 versicolor
#> # … with 90 more rows

New grouping fuctions

The grouping family is extended with new functions:

  • group_nest() : similar to tidyr::nest() but focusing on the grouping columns rather than the columns to nest
  • group_split() : similar to base::split() but the grouping is subject to the data mask
  • group_keys() : retrieves a tibble with one row per group and one column per grouping variable
  • group_rows() : retrieves a list of 1-based integer vectors, each vector represents the indices of the group in the grouped data frame

The primary use case for these functions is with already grouped data frames, that may directly or indirectly originate from group_by().

data <- iris %>% 
  group_by(Species) %>% 
  filter(Sepal.Length > mean(Sepal.Length))

data %>% 
  group_nest()
#> # A tibble: 3 x 2
#>   Species    data             
#>   <fct>      <list>           
#> 1 setosa     <tibble [22 × 4]>
#> 2 versicolor <tibble [24 × 4]>
#> 3 virginica  <tibble [22 × 4]>
data %>% 
  group_split()
#> [[1]]
#> # A tibble: 22 x 5
#>    Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species
#>           <dbl>       <dbl>        <dbl>       <dbl> <fct>  
#>  1          5.1         3.5          1.4         0.2 setosa 
#>  2          5.4         3.9          1.7         0.4 setosa 
#>  3          5.4         3.7          1.5         0.2 setosa 
#>  4          5.8         4            1.2         0.2 setosa 
#>  5          5.7         4.4          1.5         0.4 setosa 
#>  6          5.4         3.9          1.3         0.4 setosa 
#>  7          5.1         3.5          1.4         0.3 setosa 
#>  8          5.7         3.8          1.7         0.3 setosa 
#>  9          5.1         3.8          1.5         0.3 setosa 
#> 10          5.4         3.4          1.7         0.2 setosa 
#> # … with 12 more rows
#> 
#> [[2]]
#> # A tibble: 24 x 5
#>    Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species   
#>           <dbl>       <dbl>        <dbl>       <dbl> <fct>     
#>  1          7           3.2          4.7         1.4 versicolor
#>  2          6.4         3.2          4.5         1.5 versicolor
#>  3          6.9         3.1          4.9         1.5 versicolor
#>  4          6.5         2.8          4.6         1.5 versicolor
#>  5          6.3         3.3          4.7         1.6 versicolor
#>  6          6.6         2.9          4.6         1.3 versicolor
#>  7          6           2.2          4           1   versicolor
#>  8          6.1         2.9          4.7         1.4 versicolor
#>  9          6.7         3.1          4.4         1.4 versicolor
#> 10          6.2         2.2          4.5         1.5 versicolor
#> # … with 14 more rows
#> 
#> [[3]]
#> # A tibble: 22 x 5
#>    Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species  
#>           <dbl>       <dbl>        <dbl>       <dbl> <fct>    
#>  1          7.1         3            5.9         2.1 virginica
#>  2          7.6         3            6.6         2.1 virginica
#>  3          7.3         2.9          6.3         1.8 virginica
#>  4          6.7         2.5          5.8         1.8 virginica
#>  5          7.2         3.6          6.1         2.5 virginica
#>  6          6.8         3            5.5         2.1 virginica
#>  7          7.7         3.8          6.7         2.2 virginica
#>  8          7.7         2.6          6.9         2.3 virginica
#>  9          6.9         3.2          5.7         2.3 virginica
#> 10          7.7         2.8          6.7         2   virginica
#> # … with 12 more rows
data %>% 
  group_keys()
#> # A tibble: 3 x 1
#>   Species   
#>   <fct>     
#> 1 setosa    
#> 2 versicolor
#> 3 virginica
data %>% 
  group_rows()
#> [[1]]
#>  [1]  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
#> 
#> [[2]]
#>  [1] 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45
#> [24] 46
#> 
#> [[3]]
#>  [1] 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68

Alternatively, these functions may be used on an ungrouped data frame, together with a grouping specification that is subject to the data mask. In that case, the grouping is implicitly performed by group_by():

iris %>% 
  group_nest(Species)
#> # A tibble: 3 x 2
#>   Species    data             
#>   <fct>      <list>           
#> 1 setosa     <tibble [50 × 4]>
#> 2 versicolor <tibble [50 × 4]>
#> 3 virginica  <tibble [50 × 4]>

iris %>% 
  group_split(Species)
#> [[1]]
#> # A tibble: 50 x 5
#>    Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species
#>           <dbl>       <dbl>        <dbl>       <dbl> <fct>  
#>  1          5.1         3.5          1.4         0.2 setosa 
#>  2          4.9         3            1.4         0.2 setosa 
#>  3          4.7         3.2          1.3         0.2 setosa 
#>  4          4.6         3.1          1.5         0.2 setosa 
#>  5          5           3.6          1.4         0.2 setosa 
#>  6          5.4         3.9          1.7         0.4 setosa 
#>  7          4.6         3.4          1.4         0.3 setosa 
#>  8          5           3.4          1.5         0.2 setosa 
#>  9          4.4         2.9          1.4         0.2 setosa 
#> 10          4.9         3.1          1.5         0.1 setosa 
#> # … with 40 more rows
#> 
#> [[2]]
#> # A tibble: 50 x 5
#>    Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species   
#>           <dbl>       <dbl>        <dbl>       <dbl> <fct>     
#>  1          7           3.2          4.7         1.4 versicolor
#>  2          6.4         3.2          4.5         1.5 versicolor
#>  3          6.9         3.1          4.9         1.5 versicolor
#>  4          5.5         2.3          4           1.3 versicolor
#>  5          6.5         2.8          4.6         1.5 versicolor
#>  6          5.7         2.8          4.5         1.3 versicolor
#>  7          6.3         3.3          4.7         1.6 versicolor
#>  8          4.9         2.4          3.3         1   versicolor
#>  9          6.6         2.9          4.6         1.3 versicolor
#> 10          5.2         2.7          3.9         1.4 versicolor
#> # … with 40 more rows
#> 
#> [[3]]
#> # A tibble: 50 x 5
#>    Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species  
#>           <dbl>       <dbl>        <dbl>       <dbl> <fct>    
#>  1          6.3         3.3          6           2.5 virginica
#>  2          5.8         2.7          5.1         1.9 virginica
#>  3          7.1         3            5.9         2.1 virginica
#>  4          6.3         2.9          5.6         1.8 virginica
#>  5          6.5         3            5.8         2.2 virginica
#>  6          7.6         3            6.6         2.1 virginica
#>  7          4.9         2.5          4.5         1.7 virginica
#>  8          7.3         2.9          6.3         1.8 virginica
#>  9          6.7         2.5          5.8         1.8 virginica
#> 10          7.2         3.6          6.1         2.5 virginica
#> # … with 40 more rows

iris %>% 
  group_keys(Species)
#> # A tibble: 3 x 1
#>   Species   
#>   <fct>     
#> 1 setosa    
#> 2 versicolor
#> 3 virginica

These functions are related to each other in how they handle and organize the grouping information and who/what is responsible for maintaining the relation between the data and the groups.

  • A grouped data frame, as generated by group_by() stores the grouping information as an attribute of the data frame, dplyr verbs use that information to maintain the relationship

  • When using group_nest() the data is structured as a data frame that has a list column to hold the non grouping columns. The result of group_nest() is not a grouped data frame, therefore the structure of the data frame maintains the relationship.

  • When using group_split() the data is split into a list, and each element of the list contains a tibble with the rows of the associated group. The user is responsible to maintain the relationship, and may benefit from the assistance of the group_keys() function, especially in the presence of empty groups.

Iterate on grouped tibbles by group

The new group_map() function provides a purrr style function that can be used to iterate on grouped tibbles. Each conceptual group of the data frame is exposed to the function with two pieces of information:

  • The subset of the data for the group, exposed as .x.
  • The key, a tibble with exactly one row and columns for each grouping variable, exposed as .y
mtcars %>% 
  group_by(cyl) %>%
  group_map(~ head(.x, 2L))
#> # A tibble: 6 x 11
#> # Groups:   cyl [3]
#>     cyl   mpg  disp    hp  drat    wt  qsec    vs    am  gear  carb
#> * <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>
#> 1     4  22.8  108     93  3.85  2.32  18.6     1     1     4     1
#> 2     4  24.4  147.    62  3.69  3.19  20       1     0     4     2
#> 3     6  21    160    110  3.9   2.62  16.5     0     1     4     4
#> 4     6  21    160    110  3.9   2.88  17.0     0     1     4     4
#> 5     8  18.7  360    175  3.15  3.44  17.0     0     0     3     2
#> 6     8  14.3  360    245  3.21  3.57  15.8     0     0     3     4

mtcars %>%
  group_by(cyl) %>%
  group_map(~ tibble(mod = list(lm(mpg ~ disp, data = .x))))
#> # A tibble: 3 x 2
#> # Groups:   cyl [3]
#>     cyl mod     
#> * <dbl> <list>  
#> 1     4 <S3: lm>
#> 2     6 <S3: lm>
#> 3     8 <S3: lm>

The lambda function must return a data frame. group_map() row binds the data frames, recycles the grouping columns and structures the result as a grouped tibble.

Changes in filter and slice

Besides changes described previously related to preservation of the grouping structure, filter() and slice() now reorganize the data by groups for performance reasons:

tibble(
  x = c(1, 2, 1, 2, 1), 
  y = c(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
) %>% 
  group_by(x) %>% 
  filter(y < 5)
#> # A tibble: 4 x 2
#> # Groups:   x [2]
#>       x     y
#>   <dbl> <dbl>
#> 1     1     1
#> 2     1     3
#> 3     2     2
#> 4     2     4

Redesigned hybrid evaluation

What’s hybrid evaluation again ?

Hybrid evaluation is used in summarise() and mutate() to replace potential expensive R operations by native C++ code that is group aware.

iris %>% 
  group_by(Species) %>% 
  summarise(Petal.Length = mean(Petal.Length))
#> # A tibble: 3 x 2
#>   Species    Petal.Length
#>   <fct>             <dbl>
#> 1 setosa             1.46
#> 2 versicolor         4.26
#> 3 virginica          5.55

In the example, the base::mean() function is never called because the hybrid alternative can directly calculate the mean for each group. Hybrid evaluation typically gives better performance because it needs fewer memory allocations.

In this example, a standard evaluation path would need to: - create subsets of the Petal.Length column for each group - call the base::mean() function on each subset, which would also imply a cost for S3 dispatching to the right method - collect all results in a new vector

In constrast, hybrid evaluation can directly allocate the final vector, and calculate all 3 means without having to allocate the subsets.

Flaws in previous version

Previous versions of hybrid evaluation relied on folding to replace part of the expression by their hybrid result. For example, there are hybrid versions of sum() and n(), so previous versions attempted to use them for:

iris %>% 
  group_by(Species) %>% 
  summarise(Petal.Length = sum(Petal.Length) / n())
#> # A tibble: 3 x 2
#>   Species    Petal.Length
#>   <fct>             <dbl>
#> 1 setosa             1.46
#> 2 versicolor         4.26
#> 3 virginica          5.55

The gain of replacing parts of the expression with the result of the hybrid versions was minimal, and the we had to rely on brittle heuristics to try to respect standard R evaluation semantics.

New implementation

The new hybrid system is stricter and falls back to standard R evaluation when the expression is not entirely recognized.

The hybrid_call() function (subject to change) can be used to test if an expression would be handled by hybrid or standard evaluation:

iris %>% hybrid_call(mean(Sepal.Length))
#> <hybrid evaluation>
#>   call      : base::mean(Sepal.Length)
#>   C++ class : dplyr::hybrid::internal::SimpleDispatchImpl<14, false, dplyr::NaturalDataFrame, dplyr::hybrid::internal::MeanImpl>
iris %>% hybrid_call(sum(Sepal.Length) / n())
#> <standard evaluation>
#>   call      : sum(Sepal.Length)/n()
iris %>% hybrid_call(+mean(Sepal.Length))
#> <standard evaluation>
#>   call      : +mean(Sepal.Length)

Hybrid is very picky about what it can handle, for example TRUE and FALSE are fine for na.rm= because they are reserved words that can’t be replaced, but T, F or any expression that would resolve to a scalar logical are not:

iris %>% hybrid_call(mean(Sepal.Length, na.rm = TRUE))
#> <hybrid evaluation>
#>   call      : base::mean(Sepal.Length, na.rm = TRUE)
#>   C++ class : dplyr::hybrid::internal::SimpleDispatchImpl<14, true, dplyr::NaturalDataFrame, dplyr::hybrid::internal::MeanImpl>
iris %>% hybrid_call(mean(Sepal.Length, na.rm = T))
#> <standard evaluation>
#>   call      : mean(Sepal.Length, na.rm = T)
iris %>% hybrid_call(mean(Sepal.Length, na.rm = 1 == 1))
#> <standard evaluation>
#>   call      : mean(Sepal.Length, na.rm = 1 == 1)

The first step of the new hybrid system consists of studying the expression and compare it to known expression patterns. If we find an exact match, then we have all the information we need, and R is never called to materialize the result.

When there is no match, the expression gets evaluated for each group using R standard evaluation rules in the data mask: a special environment that makes the columns available and uses contextual information for functions such as n() and row_number().

iris %>% 
  group_by(Species) %>% 
  summarise(Petal.Length = sum(Petal.Length) / n())
#> # A tibble: 3 x 2
#>   Species    Petal.Length
#>   <fct>             <dbl>
#> 1 setosa             1.46
#> 2 versicolor         4.26
#> 3 virginica          5.55

Performance

When summarise() or mutate() use expressions that cannot be handled by hybrid evaluation, they call back to R from the C++ internals for each group.

This is an expensive operation because the expressions have to be evaluated with extra care. Traditionally it meant wrapping the expression in an R tryCatch() before evaluating, but R 3.5.0 has added unwind protection which we exposed to Rcpp. Consequently, the cost of evaluating an R expression carefully is lower than before.

We ran a benchmark calculating the means of 10,000 small groups with the release version of dplyr and this release candidate with and without using the unwind protect feature.

Just using the mean() function would not illustrate the feature, because dplyr would use hybrid evaluation and never use callbacks to R. So instead we defined a mean_ function that has the same body as base::mean(). We also compare this to the expression sum(x) / n() because it woudld have been handled by partial hybrid evaluation in previous versions.

This is not a comprehensive benchmark analysis, but on this small example we can read:

  • unwind protection has no impact when using the hybrid evaluation, this is not a surprise because the hybrid path does not call back to R.
  • hybrid evaluation performs better on the release candidate. This is a direct consequence of the redesign of hybrid evaluation.
  • unwind protection gives a performance boost mean_(). Please note that the x axis is on a log scale.
  • unwind protection more than compensates for no longer using partial hybrid evaluation.

nest_join

The nest_join() function is the newest addition to the join family.

band_members %>% 
  nest_join(band_instruments)
#> Joining, by = "name"
#> # A tibble: 3 x 3
#>   name  band    band_instruments
#> * <chr> <chr>   <list>          
#> 1 Mick  Stones  <tibble [0 × 1]>
#> 2 John  Beatles <tibble [1 × 1]>
#> 3 Paul  Beatles <tibble [1 × 1]>

A nest join of x and y returns all rows and all columns from x, plus an additional column that contains a list of tibbles. Each tibble contains all the rows from y that match that row of x. When there is no match, the list column is a 0-row tibble with the same column names and types as y.

nest_join() is the most fundamental join since you can recreate the other joins from it:

Scoped variants

The scoped (or colwise) verbs are the set of verbs with _at, _if and _all suffixes. These verbs apply a certain behaviour (for instance, a mutating or summarising operation) to a given selection of columns. This release of dplyr improves the consistency of the syntax and the behaviour with grouped tibbles.

A purrr-like syntax for passing functions

In dplyr 0.8.0, we have implemented support for functions and purrr-style lambda functions:

iris <- as_tibble(iris) # For concise print method

mutate_if(iris, is.numeric, ~ . - mean(.))
#> # A tibble: 150 x 5
#>    Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species
#>           <dbl>       <dbl>        <dbl>       <dbl> <fct>  
#>  1       -0.743      0.443         -2.36      -0.999 setosa 
#>  2       -0.943     -0.0573        -2.36      -0.999 setosa 
#>  3       -1.14       0.143         -2.46      -0.999 setosa 
#>  4       -1.24       0.0427        -2.26      -0.999 setosa 
#>  5       -0.843      0.543         -2.36      -0.999 setosa 
#>  6       -0.443      0.843         -2.06      -0.799 setosa 
#>  7       -1.24       0.343         -2.36      -0.899 setosa 
#>  8       -0.843      0.343         -2.26      -0.999 setosa 
#>  9       -1.44      -0.157         -2.36      -0.999 setosa 
#> 10       -0.943      0.0427        -2.26      -1.10  setosa 
#> # … with 140 more rows

And lists of functions and purrr-style lambda functions:

fns <- list(
  centered = mean,                # Function object
  scaled = ~ . - mean(.) / sd(.)  # Purrr-style lambda
)
mutate_if(iris, is.numeric, fns)
#> # A tibble: 150 x 13
#>    Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species
#>           <dbl>       <dbl>        <dbl>       <dbl> <fct>  
#>  1          5.1         3.5          1.4         0.2 setosa 
#>  2          4.9         3            1.4         0.2 setosa 
#>  3          4.7         3.2          1.3         0.2 setosa 
#>  4          4.6         3.1          1.5         0.2 setosa 
#>  5          5           3.6          1.4         0.2 setosa 
#>  6          5.4         3.9          1.7         0.4 setosa 
#>  7          4.6         3.4          1.4         0.3 setosa 
#>  8          5           3.4          1.5         0.2 setosa 
#>  9          4.4         2.9          1.4         0.2 setosa 
#> 10          4.9         3.1          1.5         0.1 setosa 
#> # … with 140 more rows, and 8 more variables: Sepal.Length_centered <dbl>,
#> #   Sepal.Width_centered <dbl>, Petal.Length_centered <dbl>,
#> #   Petal.Width_centered <dbl>, Sepal.Length_scaled <dbl>,
#> #   Sepal.Width_scaled <dbl>, Petal.Length_scaled <dbl>,
#> #   Petal.Width_scaled <dbl>

This is now the preferred syntax for passing functions to the scoped verbs because it is simpler and consistent with purrr. Counting from dplyr 0.8.0, the hybrid evaluator recognises and inlines these lambdas, so that native implementation of common algorithms will kick in just as it did with expressions passed with funs(). Consequently, we are soft-deprecating funs(): it will continue to work without any warnings for now, but will eventually start issuing warnings.

Behaviour with grouped tibbles

We have reviewed the documentation of all scoped variants to make clear how the scoped operations are applied to grouped tibbles. For most of the scoped verbs, the operations also apply on the grouping variables when they are part of the selection. This includes:

This is not the case for summarising and mutating variants where operations are not applied on grouping variables. The behaviour depends on whether the selection is implicit (all and if selections) or explicit (at selections). Grouping variables covered by explicit selections (with summarise_at(), mutate_at(), and transmute_at() are always an error. For implicit selections, the grouping variables are always ignored. In this case, the level of verbosity depends on the kind of operation:

In order to make it easier to explicitly remove the grouping columns from an _at selection, we have introduced a new selection helper group_cols(). Just like last_col() matches the last column of a tibble, group_cols() matches all grouping columns:

mtcars %>%
  group_by(cyl) %>%
  select(group_cols())
#> # A tibble: 32 x 1
#> # Groups:   cyl [3]
#>      cyl
#>  * <dbl>
#>  1     6
#>  2     6
#>  3     4
#>  4     6
#>  5     8
#>  6     6
#>  7     8
#>  8     4
#>  9     4
#> 10     6
#> # … with 22 more rows

This new helper is mostly intended for selection in scoped variants:

mtcars %>%
  group_by(cyl) %>%
  mutate_at(
    vars(starts_with("c")),
    ~ . - mean(.)
  )
#> Error: Column `cyl` can't be modified because it's a grouping variable

It makes it easy to remove explicitly the grouping variables:

mtcars %>%
  group_by(cyl) %>%
  mutate_at(
    vars(starts_with("c"), -group_cols()),
    ~ . - mean(.)
  )
#> # A tibble: 32 x 11
#> # Groups:   cyl [3]
#>      mpg   cyl  disp    hp  drat    wt  qsec    vs    am  gear   carb
#>    <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>  <dbl>
#>  1  21       6  160    110  3.9   2.62  16.5     0     1     4  0.571
#>  2  21       6  160    110  3.9   2.88  17.0     0     1     4  0.571
#>  3  22.8     4  108     93  3.85  2.32  18.6     1     1     4 -0.545
#>  4  21.4     6  258    110  3.08  3.22  19.4     1     0     3 -2.43 
#>  5  18.7     8  360    175  3.15  3.44  17.0     0     0     3 -1.5  
#>  6  18.1     6  225    105  2.76  3.46  20.2     1     0     3 -2.43 
#>  7  14.3     8  360    245  3.21  3.57  15.8     0     0     3  0.5  
#>  8  24.4     4  147.    62  3.69  3.19  20       1     0     4  0.455
#>  9  22.8     4  141.    95  3.92  3.15  22.9     1     0     4  0.455
#> 10  19.2     6  168.   123  3.92  3.44  18.3     1     0     4  0.571
#> # … with 22 more rows
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