[R] Managing R objects with 'make'

Taylor, Z Todd todd.taylor at pnl.gov
Fri May 11 19:03:39 CEST 2001

I frequently use Makefiles to manage routine data manipulations
and repeated analyses where the "raw" data tend to change
with time.  With S/Splus, this has worked quite naturally, as
long as I'm careful to use S object names that map directly
to Unix/Linux filenames.

For example, say I'm building a particular graphic (chart.ps)
from a data.frame in S (mydata) that comes from an external
data file (mydata.csv).  The makefile snippet would look like:

   chart.ps: .Data/mydata mkchart.src
   	Splus < mkchart.src > mkchart.log 2>&1

   .Data/mydata: mydata.csv build_mydata.src
   	Splus < build_mydata.src > build_mydata.log 2>&1

Of course, build_mydata.src would do a read.table on
mydata.csv plus other necessary transformations.

I'm looking for suggestions how I might achieve similar
functionality using R.

My work involves many other programs besides S, so I'm
very reluctant to abandon the Makefile approach to use R.
But it's not obvious to me that I can use 'make' to manage
individual objects in R.

Any thoughts?

Z. Todd Taylor
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Todd.Taylor at pnl.gov
Why do 'write down' and 'write up' mean the same thing?

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