Strings? Dates? In a statistical programming package?
As soon as you read files or print reports, you need strings. When you work with real-world problems, you need dates.
R has facilities for both strings and dates. They are clumsy compared to string-oriented languages such as Perl, but then it’s a matter of the right tool for the job. I wouldn’t want to perform logistic regression in Perl.
R has a variety of classes for working with dates and times; which is nice if you prefer having a choice but annoying if you prefer living simply. There is a critical distinction among the classes: some are date-only classes, some are datetime classes. All classes can handle calendar dates (e.g., March 15, 2010), but not all can represent a datetime (11:45 AM on March 1, 2010).
The following classes are included in the base distribution of R:
Date class can represent a
calendar date but not a clock time. It is a solid,
general-purpose class for working with dates, including
conversions, formatting, basic date arithmetic, and time-zone handling. Most of the
date-related recipes in this book are built on the
This is a datetime class, and it can represent a moment in time with an accuracy of one second. Internally, the datetime is stored as the number of seconds since January 1, 1970, and so is a very compact representation. This class is recommended for storing datetime information (e.g., in data frames). ...