[R] Do you use R for data manipulation?

ronggui ronggui.huang at gmail.com
Mon May 11 17:20:30 CEST 2009

2009/5/6 Emmanuel Charpentier <charpent at bacbuc.dyndns.org>:
> Le mercredi 06 mai 2009 à 00:22 -0400, Farrel Buchinsky a écrit :
>> Is R an appropriate tool for data manipulation and data reshaping and data
>> organizing?
> [ Large Snip ! ... ]
> Depends on what you have to do.
> I've done what can be more or less termed "data management" with almost
> uncountable tools (from Excel (sigh...) to R with SQL, APL, Pascal, C,
> Basic (in 1982 !), Fortran and even Lisp in passing...).

> SQL has strong points : join is, to my tastes, more easily expressed in
> SQL than in most languages, projection and aggregation are natural.
> However, in SQL, there is no "natural" ordering of row tables, which
> makes expressing algorithms using this order difficult. Try for example
> to express the differences of a time series ... (it can be done, but it
> is *not* a pretty sight).
> On the other hand, R has some unique expressive possibilities (reshape()
> comes to mind).
> So I tend to use a combination of tools : except for very small samples,
> I tend to manage my data in SQL and with associated tools (think data
> editing, for example ; a simple form in OpenOffice's Base is quite easy
> to create, can handle anything for which an ODBC driver exists, and
> won't crap out for more than a few hundreds line...). finer manipulation
> is usually done in R with  native tools and sqldf.

> But, at least in my trade, the ability to handle Excel files is a must
> (this is considered as a standard for data entry. Sigh ...). So the
> first task is usually a) import data in an SQL database, and b) prepare
> some routines to dump SQL tables / R dataframes in Excel tor returning
> back to the original data author...

I don't think Excel is  a standard tool for data entry. Epidata entry
is much more professional.

>                                        Emmanuel Charpentier
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HUANG Ronggui, Wincent
PhD Candidate
Dept of Public and Social Administration
City University of Hong Kong
Home page: http://asrr.r-forge.r-project.org/rghuang.html

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