r,sorting,object,ls , Reading and listing objects in the order they appear in the source file in R


Reading and listing objects in the order they appear in the source file in R

Question:

Tag: r,sorting,object,ls

I have a file with list of paths to URLs and and files that resembles the extract bellow:

urls_queries_files.R

url_some_dta <- "url_goes_here"
backup_some_dta <- "path to the backup rds file goes here"
url_exotic_dta <- "another_url"
backup_exotic_dta <- "some backup rds file"
url_mysterious_dta <- "url goes here"
backup_mysterious_dta <- "backup rds file for myst. dta"

I'm reading those files via the source command:

source(file = "urls_queries_files.R", local = TRUE)

When I list the objects, the objects appear in the alphabetical order:

> ls()
[1] "backup_exotic_dta"  "backup_mysterious_dta" "backup_some_dta" "url_exotic_dta"       
[5] "url_mysterious_dta"    "url_some_dta" 

This is problematic, as I'm interested in reading those objects in the order they are listed in the original file (urls_queries_files.R). The reason being that I want to draft a short script that will create backup rds files upon the successful download of the URL. I will draft a simple loop that performs the download using the value from the first object and if this is successful saving the rds file (the rds files and URLs are later used to populate data frames). All of that is fairly straightforward, but it would be much simpler if I could refer to the objects in the way they are listed in the original file. I could simply then:

all_objs <- ls()

and make my operations by: all_objs[i] and all_objs[i+1]. It appears that ls with sorting set to FALSE also does not return the desired results:

> ls(sorted = FALSE)
[1] "url_mysterious_dta"    "url_exotic_dta"       
[3] "backup_mysterious_dta" "backup_exotic_dta"    
[5] "url_some_dta"          "backup_some_dta" 

My questions are:

  1. How to list R objects in the order they are typed in the source file?
  2. Out of curiosity: Running ls with sorted = FALSE appears to return a list that does not correspond to what was typed in the source file. Consequently, I'm wondering how does source command determine which object appears first on the list ?

Answer:

There's no way to get the order of variable definition after sourcing the file without explicitly recording the order in the file itself. One way to do this would be to put the variables in a list.


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