base (version 3.5.2)

memCompress: In-memory Compression and Decompression


In-memory compression or decompression for raw vectors.


memCompress(from, type = c("gzip", "bzip2", "xz", "none"))

memDecompress(from, type = c("unknown", "gzip", "bzip2", "xz", "none"), asChar = FALSE)



A raw vector. For memCompress a character vector will be converted to a raw vector with character strings separated by "\n".


character string, the type of compression. May be abbreviated to a single letter, defaults to the first of the alternatives.


logical: should the result be converted to a character string?


A raw vector or a character string (if asChar = TRUE).


type = "none" passes the input through unchanged, but may be useful if type is a variable.

type = "unknown" attempts to detect the type of compression applied (if any): this will always succeed for bzip2 compression, and will succeed for other forms if there is a suitable header. It will auto-detect the ‘magic’ header ("\x1f\x8b") added to files by the gzip program (and to files written by gzfile), but memCompress does not add such a header.

bzip2 compression always adds a header ("BZh").

Compressing with type = "xz" is equivalent to compressing a file with xz -9e (including adding the ‘magic’ header): decompression should cope with the contents of any file compressed with xz version 4.999 and some versions of lzma. There are other versions, in particular ‘raw’ streams, that are not currently handled.

All the types of compression can expand the input: for "gzip" and "bzip2" the maximum expansion is known and so memCompress can always allocate sufficient space. For "xz" it is possible (but extremely unlikely) that compression will fail if the output would have been too large.

See Also


extSoftVersion for the versions of the zlib, bzip2 and xz libraries in use. for background on data compression,,,,, and for references about the particular schemes used.


Run this code
txt <- readLines(file.path(R.home("doc"), "COPYING"))
txt.gz <- memCompress(txt, "g")
txt2 <- strsplit(memDecompress(txt.gz, "g", asChar = TRUE), "\n")[[1]]
stopifnot(identical(txt, txt2))
txt.bz2 <- memCompress(txt, "b")
## can auto-detect bzip2:
txt3 <- strsplit(memDecompress(txt.bz2, asChar = TRUE), "\n")[[1]]
stopifnot(identical(txt, txt3))

## xz compression is only worthwhile for large objects
txt.xz <- memCompress(txt, "x")
txt3 <- strsplit(memDecompress(txt.xz, asChar = TRUE), "\n")[[1]]
stopifnot(identical(txt, txt3))
# }

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