Getting attributes to use xts objects

January 12, 2013

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

An earlier post illustrated that R object attributes can be set at the C++ level. Naturally, we can also read them from an object. This proves particularly useful for xts objects which are, in essence, numerical matrices with added attributed that are used by a rich set of R operators and functions.

Here, we show how to access these attributes.


using namespace Rcpp;
// [[Rcpp::export]]
std::vector<std::string> xtsAttributes(NumericMatrix X) {
    std::vector<std::string> nm = RObject(X).attributeNames();
    return nm;

A first example simply creates a random xts object of twenty observations. We then examine the set of attributes and return it in a first program.

  n <- 20
  Z <- xts(100+cumsum(rnorm(n)),,1,12,20,21,22) + 60*(1:n))
[1] "dim"         "index"       "class"       ".indexCLASS" "tclass"     
[6] ".indexTZ"    "tzone"      

The same result is seen directly in R:

[1] "dim"         "index"       "class"       ".indexCLASS" "tclass"     
[6] ".indexTZ"    "tzone"      
  all.equal(xtsAttributes(Z), names(attributes(Z)))
[1] TRUE

Now, given the attributes we can of course access some of these. The index() function xts objects returns the index. Here, we know we have a Datetime object so we can instantiate it at the C++ level. (Real production code would test types etc).

// [[Rcpp::export]]
DatetimeVector xtsIndex(NumericMatrix X) {
    DatetimeVector v(NumericVector(RObject(X).attr("index")));
    return v;
 [1] "2013-01-12 20:22:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:23:22 CST"
 [3] "2013-01-12 20:24:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:25:22 CST"
 [5] "2013-01-12 20:26:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:27:22 CST"
 [7] "2013-01-12 20:28:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:29:22 CST"
 [9] "2013-01-12 20:30:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:31:22 CST"
[11] "2013-01-12 20:32:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:33:22 CST"
[13] "2013-01-12 20:34:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:35:22 CST"
[15] "2013-01-12 20:36:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:37:22 CST"
[17] "2013-01-12 20:38:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:39:22 CST"
[19] "2013-01-12 20:40:22 CST" "2013-01-12 20:41:22 CST"

Further operations such as subsetting based on the datetime vector or adjustments to time zones are left as an exercise.

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