[R] Dynamic Creation and Use of Object Names

Ivan Krylov kry|ov@r00t @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Mon Aug 23 10:20:39 CEST 2021

On Mon, 23 Aug 2021 08:37:54 +0200
Dr Eberhard Lisse <nospam using lisse.NA> wrote:

> create the variables dynamically and add them to to
> the grid (dynamically, ie adding more countries)

In my opinion, creating variables in the global environment
programmatically may lead to code that is hard to understand and debug
[*]. A key-value data structure (a named list or a separate
environment) would avoid the potential problems from variable name
collision. How about the following:

1. Put the countries in a vector: c('Namibia', 'Germany', ...)

2. Use lapply() to get a list of objects returned from your PICTURE

3. To save the pictures into individual files, loop over the list. You
   can use setNames on the step 1 or 2 to make it a named list and keep
   the country names together with their pictures:
   for (n in names(pictures)) {
     ggsave(paste0(n, '.png'), ...)

   (You can also use the png() device and plot straight to the file,
   avoiding the need to draw the plot in the window for a fraction of a
   second and for ggsave().)

4. Use the grobs= argument of grid.arrange() to pass the list of
   objects to arrange instead of passing individual objects via ...

Best regards,

[*] For example, there's this FAQ for a different language:

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