The DuckDB R API can be installed using
install.packages. Please see the installation page for details.
Basic API Usage
The standard DuckDB R API implements the DBI interface for R. If you are not familiar with DBI yet, see here for an introduction.
Startup & Shutdown
To use DuckDB, you must first create a connection object that represents the database. The connection object takes as parameter the database file to read and write from. If the database file does not exist, it will be created (the file extension may be
.duckdb, or anything else). The special value
:memory: (the default) can be used to create an in-memory database. Note that for an in-memory database no data is persisted to disk (i.e. all data is lost when you exit the R process). If you would like to connect to an existing database in read-only mode, set the
read_only flag to
TRUE. Read-only mode is required if multiple R processes want to access the same database file at the same time.
library("DBI") # to start an in-memory database con <- dbConnect(duckdb::duckdb(), dbdir = ":memory:") # to use a database file (not shared between processes) con <- dbConnect(duckdb::duckdb(), dbdir = "my-db.duckdb", read_only = FALSE) # to use a database file (shared between processes) con <- dbConnect(duckdb::duckdb(), dbdir = "my-db.duckdb", read_only = TRUE)
Connections are closed implicitly when they go out of scope or if they are explicitly closed using
dbDisconnect(). To shut down the database instance associated with the connection, use
DuckDB supports the standard DBI methods to send queries and retreive result sets.
dbExecute() is meant for queries where no results are expected like
CREATE TABLE or
UPDATE etc. and
dbGetQuery() is meant to be used for queries that produce results (e.g.
SELECT). Below an example.
# create a table dbExecute(con, "CREATE TABLE items(item VARCHAR, value DECIMAL(10,2), count INTEGER)") # insert two items into the table dbExecute(con, "INSERT INTO items VALUES ('jeans', 20.0, 1), ('hammer', 42.2, 2)") # retrieve the items again res <- dbGetQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM items") print(res) # item value count # 1 jeans 20.0 1 # 2 hammer 42.2 2
DuckDB also supports prepared statements in the R API with the
dbGetQuery methods. Here is an example:
# prepared statement parameters are given as a list dbExecute(con, "INSERT INTO items VALUES (?, ?, ?)", list('laptop', 2000, 1)) # if you want to reuse a prepared statement multiple times, use dbSendStatement() and dbBind() stmt <- dbSendStatement(con, "INSERT INTO items VALUES (?, ?, ?)") dbBind(stmt, list('iphone', 300, 2)) dbBind(stmt, list('android', 3.5, 1)) dbClearResult(stmt) # query the database using a prepared statement res <- dbGetQuery(con, "SELECT item FROM items WHERE value > ?", list(400)) print(res) # item # 1 laptop
Do not use prepared statements to insert large amounts of data into DuckDB. See below for better options.
To write a R data frame into DuckDB, use the standard DBI function
dbWriteTable(). This creates a table in DuckDB and populates it with the data frame contents. For example:
dbWriteTable(con, "iris_table", iris) res <- dbGetQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM iris_table LIMIT 1") print(res) # Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species # 1 5.1 3.5 1.4 0.2 setosa
It is also possible to “register” a R data frame as a virtual table, comparable to a SQL
VIEW. This does not actually transfer data into DuckDB yet. Below is an example:
duckdb::duckdb_register(con, "iris_view", iris) res <- dbGetQuery(con, "SELECT * FROM iris_view LIMIT 1") print(res) # Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species # 1 5.1 3.5 1.4 0.2 setosa
DuckDB keeps a reference to the R data frame after registration. This prevents the data frame from being garbage-collected. The reference is cleared when the connection is closed, but can also be cleared manually using the
Also refer to the data import documentation for more options of efficiently importing data.
DuckDB also plays well with the dbplyr / dplyr packages for programmatic query construction from R. Here is an example:
library("DBI") library("dplyr") con <- dbConnect(duckdb::duckdb()) duckdb::duckdb_register(con, "flights", nycflights13::flights) tbl(con, "flights") |> group_by(dest) |> summarise(delay = mean(dep_time, na.rm = TRUE)) |> collect()
When using dbplyr, CSV and Parquet files can be read using the
write.csv(mtcars, "mtcars.csv") tbl(con, "mtcars.csv") |> group_by(cyl) |> summarise(across(disp:wt, .fns = mean)) |> collect()