Re: [Rd] String to list and visa versa

From: Tom McCallum <>
Date: Wed 15 Nov 2006 - 10:52:00 GMT

On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 05:00:28 -0000, Prof Brian Ripley <> wrote:

> On Tue, 14 Nov 2006, Vladimir Dergachev wrote:
>> On Tuesday 14 November 2006 12:28 pm, Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
>>> This approach won't work in very many cases (but then nor will
>>> write.csv).
>>> The safest way I know is to use serialize() and unserialize(). Next to
>>> that, deparse(control="all") and parse(text=) are quite good and give a
>>> human-readable character representation.
>>> If fidelity is not the main issue, as.character and toString spring to
>>> mind. unlist is recursive, and is not going to come close to being
>>> faithful for other than very simple lists. And what if ',' is a
>>> character
>>> in one of the list elements?

>> Yes, but then one can replace ',' with something rarely used like \007.
>> I picked ',' because write.csv/read.csv worked before.
> But it quotes strings ....
>> You are right, for storage serialize/unserialize seem best, however for
>> manipulation one would usually prefer a well-defined format.


Thanks for the information, I think I am going to use the serialize/unserialize methods, which will mean I can't manipulate them outside R, but I can alter other parts of the project to accomodate this.


Dr. Thomas McCallum
Systems Architect,
Level E Limited
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