[R] Yet another batch mode question

Prof Brian D Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Tue Oct 9 08:32:25 CEST 2001

On Mon, 8 Oct 2001, Mark E. Fenner wrote:

> Hello all and thanks in advance,
> I know you can start R with either:
> 1.  R CMD BATCH myfile.R
> or
> 2. R < myfile.R

Um, you can't: try it to see the fatal error.

> My question is this:  what if I want multiple input files and/or command
> line arguments.  For example, under unix you can run a script command (in
> a shell language, perl, or python) like:
> python myScript.py
> or better yet, if you have things set up right, you can place a
> #!/usr/bin/python line at the beginning of the file and then just type (at
> the shell command line):
> ./myScript.py
> Now, if I wanted to specify a file to work with and a method to use, I
> would just do:
> ./myScript.py file1 method1
> How could I get this behavior in R?  With the commandArg() function I can
> retrieve the arguments at the command line, but I'm puzzling over the best
> way to implement this system at the command line so that it will be
> consistent regardless of how someone chooses to run the script (be it
> method 1 or 2 above).

At present 1 does not pass along further arguments, but sends R method 2
(well, with enough flags to make it work).

If you give 2 further arguments, you will get a strident warning like

auk% R foo
ARGUMENT 'foo' __ignored__

R : Copyright 2001, The R Development Core Team

> I suppose I could create a script file in {python, perl, bash, etc} that
> would simply take the arguments I want and provide them to R in a uniform
> manner but a "standalone" R method would be preferable.

Your examples are entirely Unix, so I am not sure if you are interested in
anything else, but R needs to be.  Already on Windows R allows a file name
to be used as an extra argument: this is needed for file associations and
for drag-and-drop to work.  We have considered allowing that on Unix too.
so that

R /path/to/.Rdata


R /path/to/somescript.R

might work.  (Only the first is implemented on Windows at present.)

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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