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env_names() returns object names from an enviroment env as a character vector. All names are returned, even those starting with a dot. env_length() returns the number of bindings.






An environment.


A character vector of object names.

Names of symbols and objects

Technically, objects are bound to symbols rather than strings, since the R interpreter evaluates symbols (see is_expression() for a discussion of symbolic objects versus literal objects). However it is often more convenient to work with strings. In rlang terminology, the string corresponding to a symbol is called the name of the symbol (or by extension the name of an object bound to a symbol).


There are deep encoding issues when you convert a string to symbol and vice versa. Symbols are always in the native encoding. If that encoding (let's say latin1) cannot support some characters, these characters are serialised to ASCII. That's why you sometimes see strings looking like <U+1234>, especially if you're running Windows (as R doesn't support UTF-8 as native encoding on that platform).

To alleviate some of the encoding pain, env_names() always returns a UTF-8 character vector (which is fine even on Windows) with ASCII unicode points translated back to UTF-8.


env <- env(a = 1, b = 2)
#> [1] "a" "b"