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Make dataset arrays part of base MATLAB?

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Eric Sampson
Eric Sampson on 18 Jan 2013
Hi all, I was wondering if anyone else wished that the Statistic Toolbox's dataset arrays were included in base MATLAB. They are so handy! Even if just the basic dataset functionality was included in MATLAB, with the more advanced functionality/methods available only with a Stats toolbox license, that would be excellent IMHO. Thoughts?

Accepted Answer

owr
owr on 18 Jan 2013
I agree 100% and have advocated for this since they were first released in 2007-2008(?)
The difference between dataset objects and other Toolbox specific functionality (IMO) is that the dataset object is/could be a fundamental building block that is application neutral - it is not a specific mathematical method that is only useful to a small user base. Anyone who has the need to store/process/manipulate/import/export tabular data of mixed types could benefit.
Im also someone who would not own MATLAB without the Stats Toolbox due to my work requirements, however I dont think that is reason enough to make the move to core MATLAB unnecessary. Core MATLAB functionality rarely includes features that are compatible with Toolbox specific objects. Toolboxes need to respect/handle core MATLAB features, but not the other way around. There are many functions in core MATLAB that could benefit from being able to handle dataset inputs/outputs.
I also would like to see the objects moved to core MATLAB so that they can be further developed/optimized. Access to dataset objects through either "." or "(.,.)" indexing is quite slow due to the object's subsref method being written in MATLAB. If this could be somehow rewritten the way it is for doubles, cell arrays, etc. I suspect performance could be improved considerably.

More Answers (2)

Matt J
Matt J on 18 Jan 2013
Edited: Matt J on 18 Jan 2013
I'm sure most of us wish the same for any number of functions/classes in any number of toolboxes.
  1 Comment
Matt J
Matt J on 18 Jan 2013
You could try this FEX contribution
which looks to be a poor man's alternative to the Stats Toolbox's dataset object. I've never used it myself, though.

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Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 18 Jan 2013
To me MATLAB would be nearly useless without the stats toolbox so I could really care less where the dataset functionality comes from. In fact, I am actually impressed by how well MATLAB assigns functions to toolboxes. I have access to a lot of toolboxes, but the toolboxes I use functions from, I use a lot of functions. In other words, there are no toolboxes that I can think of that I consistently use just a single function from.

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