A Simple S3 Class for Representing Vectors of Binary Data ('BLOBS')

R's raw vector is useful for storing a single binary object. What if you want to put a vector of them in a data frame? The 'blob' package provides the blob object, a list of raw vectors, suitable for use as a column in data frame.

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The goal of blob is to provide a simple S3 class to represent a vector of binary objects, aka blobs. The blob class is a lightweight wrapper around a list of raw vectors, suitable for inclusion in a data frame.

In most cases you will not need to use this package explicitly: it will be used transparently by packages that need to load BLOB columns from databases or binary file formats.


You can install blob from github with:



To create a blob, use blob(), new_blob() or as.blob():

x1 <- charToRaw("Good morning")
x2 <- as.raw(c(0x48, 0x65, 0x6c, 0x6c, 0x6f))
new_blob(list(x1, x2))
#> [1] blob[12 B] blob[5 B]
blob(x1, x2)
#> [1] blob[12 B] blob[5 B]
as.blob(c("Good morning", "Good evening"))
#> [1] blob[12 B] blob[12 B]


blob 1.1.1 (2018-03-24)

  • Now suggesting pillar instead of importing tibble, and using colored formatting with the prettyunits package with B instead of b as units (#7, #9).

  • The blob class can now be used for S4 dispatch.

  • Calling c() on blob objects returns a blob.

blob 1.1.0 (2017-06-17)

  • New maintainer: Kirill Müller.

  • Added as.blob.blob()and as.data.frame.blob() methods (#3).

  • Size of very large blobs is displayed correctly.

blob 1.0.0

  • Initial release.

Reference manual

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1.1.1 by Kirill Müller, 10 months ago


Report a bug at https://github.com/tidyverse/blob/issues

Browse source code at https://github.com/cran/blob

Authors: Hadley Wickham [aut] , Kirill Müller [cre] , RStudio [cph]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

GPL-3 license

Imports methods, prettyunits

Suggests covr, pillar, testthat

Imported by DBItest, RPostgres, RSQLite, flobr, odbc.

Suggested by DBI, dbx, dplyr.teradata, sf.

See at CRAN