Custom as and wrap converters example

January 20, 2013

(This article was first published on Rcpp Gallery, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

The RcppBDT package interfaces Boost.Date_Time with R. Both systems have their own date representations—and this provides a nice example of custom as<>() and wrap() converters. Here, we show a simplified example.

We start with the forward declarations:


#include  	// Gregorian calendar types, no I/O

namespace Rcpp {

    // 'date' class boost::gregorian::date
    // non-intrusive extension via template specialisation
    template <> boost::gregorian::date as(SEXP dt);
    // non-intrusive extension via template specialisation
    template <> SEXP wrap(const boost::gregorian::date &d);

Given these forward declarations, we can now define the converters.

For as(), we first instantiate a date object and use it to obtain the year, month and day fields to create a boost::gregorian date.

Similarly, for the inverse operation, we construct an Rcpp date from these components.


// define template specialisations for as and wrap
namespace Rcpp {
    template <> boost::gregorian::date as(SEXP dtsexp) {
        Rcpp::Date dt(dtsexp);
        return boost::gregorian::date(dt.getYear(), dt.getMonth(), dt.getDay());

    template <> SEXP wrap(const boost::gregorian::date &d) {
        boost::gregorian::date::ymd_type ymd = d.year_month_day();     // convert to y/m/d struct
        return Rcpp::wrap( Rcpp::Date( ymd.year, ymd.month, ));

With these converters, we can now use a Boost Date_Time function. As a simple example, we use the compute the first given weekday after a date function.

// [[Rcpp::export]]
Rcpp::Date getFirstDayOfWeekAfter(int weekday, SEXP date) {
    boost::gregorian::first_day_of_the_week_after fdaf(weekday);
    boost::gregorian::date dt = Rcpp::as<boost::gregorian::date>(date);
    return Rcpp::wrap( fdaf.get_date(dt) );

We can use this to, say, find the first Monday after New Year in 2020:

getFirstDayOfWeekAfter(1, as.Date("2020-01-01"))
[1] "2020-01-06"

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