[R] naive question

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at myway.com
Wed Jun 30 17:48:44 CEST 2004

Tony Plate <tplate <at> blackmesacapital.com> writes:

> I get the best read performance out of S-plus by using 
> a homegrown binary file format with each column stored in a contiguous 
> block of memory and meta data (i.e., column types and dimensions) stored at 
> the start of the file.  The S-plus read function reads the columns one at a 
> time using readRaw(). One would be able to do something similar in R.  If 
> you have to read from a text file, then, as others have suggested, writing 
> a C program wouldn't be that hard, as long as you make the format inflexible.

At one time there was a program around (independent of R) that would read in
a file in numerous formats including text and write out an R .rda file
(among other formats).  The .rda file could then be rapidly read into R
using the R load command.  Unfortunately the author withdrew it and it is 
no longer available.

I suspect that if someone came up with such a program in C code but to keep 
it simple just restricted it to ASCII input files with a minimum number 
of data types and .rda or homegrown binary output it would be of 
general interest to the R community.

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