[R] newbie to R but not to stats programming

Patrick Ball lookout_20005 at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 15 22:57:58 CEST 2001

Dear R-list

I am a newbie to R, but I have been doing statistical
programming for 15 years, in SAS, Stata, Perl, and
various idioms of SQL.  A number of basic working
issues have so far eluded me in R, so I thought I
would post several long and newbie messages in the
hope that several people will respond with different
ways to resolve these issues.  

I have read Maindonald's _ Intro_, and the Venebles et
al _Intro_ and I have browsed the  reference manual
and online help.  The Venebles et al _S_ book  is in
the mail.  I will be very pleased to RTFM if only you
can point me to the appropriate section.  

This said, I have some questions about work
organization in R.  In SAS and Stata, I frequently
reshape data sets.  I figured out how to merge, but
how do I check the quality of the merge (records in
both A and B, in A but not B, in B but not A, etc.). 
How do I append records from one data set to another? 
Is there an easy way to drop variables (columns) from
a data frame without copying the data frame?  How do I
add new variables -- do I have to use cbind()?  

Is the only way to manage log files to use UNIX file
redirection from the command line?  I have a set of
scripts in Stata that control log generation, time
stamping, project working directories, etc. Do people
on this list have similar scripts for R?  How are such
scripts included and would people be willing to share

Whenever I create variables,  I try to think of
different ways to check whether things went properly. 
In Stata, the "assert" command evaluates a logical
condiation over all records.  Is there a similar
facility or scripts (for different contexts) for R?   

Thanks very much for this discussion.  I will post two
other messages focusing on particular tasks.


- PB

Patrick Ball, PhD.
Deputy Director
AAAS Science and Human Rights Program

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