[R] Methods to explore R data structures

Greg Snow Greg.Snow at imail.org
Thu May 27 16:36:38 CEST 2010

The TkListView function in the TeachingDemos package is an interactive tool for looking at the structure and contents of lists and other objects.

Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
greg.snow at imail.org

> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-
> project.org] On Behalf Of Timothy Wu
> Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2010 3:14 AM
> To: r-help at r-project.org
> Subject: [R] Methods to explore R data structures
> Hi,
> I'm very confused about R structures and the methods to go with them.
> I'm
> using R for microarray analysis with Bioconductors. Suppose without
> reading
> the documentations, what's the best way to explore a data structure
> when you
> know nothing about it?
> I am currently using is() / class() to see what the object is. str() /
> attributes() to probe inside the object, and
> something at something$something
> to walk it and explore. Is there any other way? Also, without reading
> documentations, is there a way to know what functions are available to
> extract data from it? For example, there is sampleNames() which works
> on
> ExpressionSet and AnnotatedDataFrame (which is a part of
> ExpressionSet). How
> do I know they are available (as sometimes I can't recall where I've
> seen
> them and I forgot the function names). And what are R functions? Are
> those
> two separate functions or polymorphic functions? I'm also pretty
> confused
> about S3, S4, or the regular list. I guess I'm fairly confused about R
> in
> general.
> Any good source of reading (hopefully short and understandable, too)
> would
> be appreciated. Thanks.
> Timothy
> 	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]
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