[Rd] xlsReadWrite Pro and embedding objects and files in Excel worksheets

Hin-Tak Leung hin-tak.leung at cimr.cam.ac.uk
Thu Feb 8 14:50:15 CET 2007

James W. MacDonald wrote:
> Have you looked at RDCOMClient? I would imagine you could do what you 
> want with this package.
> http://www.omegahat.org/RDCOMClient/

Interesting point. But the dcom client would be windows-specific?
(those I mentioned - the perl mondules, openoffice, run on windows,
as well as unix boxes - not sure about gnumeric :-).

In fact there is a very perverse way of doing it - ActiveState provides
a PerlCom product for hooking up dcom with activestate perl. i.e. you 
can go via R -> RDComClient -> PerlCom -> ActiveState Perl -> 
SpreadSheet::* . Just so that it does not require Excel installed
or an MS Office license...

In that sense, probably technology based on bridging over odbc
is also acceptable?


> Hin-Tak Leung wrote:
>> I don't know of any native xls read/write facility in R, either
>> in core or as add-ons (I could be wrong), but if you want some source 
>> code to scavenge on to build some R package out of it, there are two
>> perl modules, Spreadsheet::ParseExcel and Spreadsheet::WriteExcel
>> which are small enough to "read from front cover to back cover",
>> so to speak, might be useful for reference and steal code from.
>> The other open-source packages which can read/write excel files
>> are gnumeric and openoffice and probably too big to find one's way 
>> around the source code to steal there :-).
>> Good luck.
>> HTL
>> Mark W Kimpel wrote:
>>> Hans-Peter and other R developers,
>>> How are you? Have you made any progess with embedding Url's in Excel?
>>> Well, I have been busy thinking of more things for you to do;)
>>> My colleagues in the lab are not R literate, and some are barely 
>>> computer literate, so I give them everything in Excel workbooks. I 
>>> have gradually evolved a system such that these workbooks have become 
>>> compendia of my data, output, and methods. That, in fact, is why I 
>>> bought the Pro version of xlsReadWritePro. I have been saving 
>>> graphics as PDF files, then inserting them as object in Excel sheets.
>>> What I would like to be able to do is to embed objects (files) in 
>>> sheets of a workbook directly from within R. I would also like to be 
>>> able to save my current R workspace as an object embedded in a sheet 
>>> so that in the future, if packages change, I could go back and 
>>> recreate the analysis. I do not need to be able to manuipulate files 
>>> that R has not created, like a PDF file from another user. I would, 
>>> however, like to be able to save my graphics as PDF files inside a 
>>> worksheet, even if it meant creating a  temp file or something.
>>> Before people begin talking about how MySQL or some other database 
>>> could handle all that archiving, let me say that that is not what my 
>>> colleagues want. They want a nice Excel file that they can take home 
>>> on there laptops. One thing I like about worksheets is that they 
>>> themselves can contain many embedded files, so it keeps our virtual 
>>> desks neater and less confusing.
>>> Hans, if you could do this, it would be of tremendous benefit to me 
>>> and hopefully a lot of people. R developers tend to think that all 
>>> scientists are running Linux on 64-bit computers, but most biomedical 
>>> researches still store date in Excel files. This won't solve 
>>> everybody's needs, but it could be a start.
>>> Well, let me know what you think. I am cc'ing R-devel to see if any 
>>> of those guys have ideas as well.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Mark
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