One of the powerful features of working with Crunch is that you and all of your collaborators work off of the same data, whether you use the web client or use R. Circumstances may arise in which you are working in R and want to add or modify variables in a Crunch dataset, and the
crunch package facilitates that. It provides an idiomatic R interface to manipulating a Dataset, doing so efficiently, without copying data off of the server to transform it. In addition, when you create variables that are derived from other variables, they retain their functional connection on the server, such that changes to the input variables automatically propagate to the derived variable.
In our sample dataset, we don’t have an “Age” variable, but we do have “Birth Year” (
birthyr). We can create an age variable simply by taking the current year and subtracting the “Birth Year” variable from it–just as you would do if you were working with a
ds$age <- 2015 - ds$birthyr
Now, we have an age variable, and it looks like we’d expect it would relative to
## Min. 1st Qu. Median Mean 3rd Qu. Max. ## 22.00 38.00 48.50 49.62 59.75 90.00
## Min. 1st Qu. Median Mean 3rd Qu. Max. ## 1925 1955 1966 1965 1977 1993
Age is now a derived variable, functionally linked to
birthyr on the server. Note that in order to create
age, we didn’t pull any values off of the server; we just supplied the derivation expression.
class(2015 - ds$birthyr)
##  "CrunchExpr" ## attr(,"package") ##  "crunch"
We can also use these expressions to update values. Suppose, just for demonstration purposes, that we want to truncate the range of the
birthyr variable and set it to 1945 everywhere where it is less than 1945. We can once again write the R code we’d write if we were working with a
data.frame, even though we’re working with a Crunch dataset:
ds$birthyr[ds$birthyr < 1945] <- 1945
If we look at the summary again, we’ll see that our data have been updated, and the minimum Birth Year is now 1945.
## Min. 1st Qu. Median Mean 3rd Qu. Max. ## 1945 1955 1966 1966 1977 1993
Not only that: since
age is a function of
birthyr on the server, its values also update now that we’ve modified
birthyr. Max age is now 70, or 2015 - 1945.
## Min. 1st Qu. Median Mean 3rd Qu. Max. ## 22.00 38.00 48.50 48.98 59.75 70.00
Once again, we’ve done this operation by turning idiomatic R expressions into Crunch expression syntax.
class(ds$birthyr < 1945)
##  "CrunchLogicalExpr" ## attr(,"package") ##  "crunch"
The work gets done without having to pull data off of the server.