[Rd] reinterpreting externalptr in R

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Tue Dec 25 18:15:56 CET 2012

On Dec 25, 2012, at 6:39 AM, andre__ wrote:

> Hi,
> I am using swig to build a wrapper for an c-function to use it in R. I would
> like to define a generic function, which gives back a void pointer. On the R
> side, I know what this pointer is pointing to, whether it is an integer or
> an string, or something else... but I need to somehow reinterpret the
> resulting "externalptr" into another form...
> a function that looks like the following:
> *void* test(){
>    std::string str="test";
>    return str.c_str();
> }*
> when I call this from R:
> *str <- test()
> typeof(str) % result is: "externalptr"*
> how could I reinterpret this to a charcterarray, to a numeric, to list, or
> ...

The simple answer is you can't. External pointers are entirely opaque to R, so *you* have to write that code that interprets them. Obviously it's then up to you to create the corresponding R object from the external pointer.

You may want to have a look at interface packages like Rcpp, rJava, Rserve, ... to understand how objects are converted to/from other languages.


> Thanks for any suggestions ;)
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