Re: [Rd] Converting SEXP to primitive C types

From: Prof Brian Ripley <>
Date: Tue 11 Jul 2006 - 19:17:40 GMT

On Tue, 11 Jul 2006, Michael Petrovich wrote:

> I'm new to R development, so this may be a trivial question.
> In C, How do you convert a SEXP value returned by an R function to a
> primitive C type (int, double, char, array, etc.)? I've tried using
> the INTEGER(x), VECTOR_ELT(x,i), and similar functions found in /src/
> include/Rinternals.h, but doing so results in incorrect results or a
> seg-fault.

See `Writing R Extensions', the documentation for that file. You cannot just guess that an object has the appropriate SEXPTYPE: you have to check it (or coerce to it). In your example it is likely to be a REALSXP (it could be an INTSXP), so you need to cover all possible cases.

> For example, I modified /tests/Embedding/Rerror.c so that it tries to
> print the value returned by the function defined in error.R:
> val = Test_tryEval(e, &errorOccurred);
> printf("Returned: {%d}\n", VECTOR_ELT(val, 0) );
> Where error.R is contains:
> foo <-
> function(x=3, y=6)
> {
> z <- x * y
> z
> }
> But the output is just "0", not the correct "18". Any ideas?
> Thanks for your help!

Brian D. Ripley,        
Professor of Applied Statistics,
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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