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startsWith() is used to detect fixed initial substrings; it is more readable and more efficient than equivalents using grepl() or substr(). c.f. startsWith(x, "abc"), grepl("^abc", x), substr(x, 1L, 3L) == "abc".


string_boundary_linter(allow_grepl = FALSE)



Logical, default FALSE. If TRUE, usages with grepl() are ignored. Some authors may prefer the NA input to FALSE output conciseness offered by grepl(), which doesn't have a direct equivalent with startsWith() or endsWith().


Ditto for using endsWith() to detect fixed terminal substrings.

Note that there is a difference in behavior between how grepl() and startsWith() (and endsWith()) handle missing values. In particular, for grepl(), NA inputs are considered FALSE, while for startsWith(), NA inputs have NA outputs. That means the strict equivalent of grepl("^abc", x) is ! & startsWith(x, "abc").

We lint grepl() usages by default because the ! version is more explicit with respect to NA handling -- though documented, the way grepl() handles missing inputs may be surprising to some readers.

See also

linters for a complete list of linters available in lintr.