[R] Staging area for data before read into R

Ted Byers r.ted.byers at gmail.com
Mon Oct 20 22:43:14 CEST 2008

Define "better".

Really, it depends on what you need to do (are all your data appropriately
represented in a 2D array?) and what resources are available.  If all your
data can be represented using a 2D array, then Excel is probably your best
bet for th enear term.  If not, you might as well bite the bullit and learn
to use an RDBMS, as there are few other data management options that can
cope with relational or hierarchical or object oriented data.

I use a number of different RDBMS (ranging from MS SQL to PostgreSQL and
MySQL).  I also use Excel on occasion, and plain text editors (like Emacs),
to create CSV files.  Which I use depends on the details of the particular
problem I am facing.

While I have not yet explored them, I did notice that R includes a number of
facilities for editing data (and the list of options is all the longer when
I use help.search("edit").

It may be a bit quicker for you to study up on basic use of something like
PostgreSQL, combined with pl/r (something I wish MySQL had), than it would
be to diligently examine all the different options open to you using R.  (I
have a couple books I could recommend that would likely be sufficient for
you to figure out what you need to do with either PostgreSQL or MySQL in a
matter of a week or two).



stephen sefick wrote:
> I am wondering if there is a better alternative than Excel for data
> storage that does not require database knowledge (I will eventually
> have to learn this, but it is not on my immediate todo list).  I need
> something that is not limited to 256 columns... I don't need any of
> the built in functions in excel just a spreadsheet like program with
> cells that hold data in a data.frame format for a staging area before
> I get it into R.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  This is not
> a direct r question, but all of you folks have more experience than I
> do and I am having a time finding what I need with google.
> thanks in advance
> -- 
> Stephen Sefick
> Research Scientist
> Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy
> Let's not spend our time and resources thinking about things that are
> so little or so large that all they really do for us is puff us up and
> make us feel like gods.  We are mammals, and have not exhausted the
> annoying little problems of being mammals.
> 								-K. Mullis
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