R: A Guide for Developers

This is a guide written from the perspective of a software developer on the world of the quirky language of R.

It's an overview and look at the world of R and contains many external resources for finding out more.

What is R

Also known as the 18th letter of the English alphabet, the R we're discussing is a programming language used for years in the world of statistical analysis.

Derived from the older language S in 1995, logically it could have been called T but the two creators had R in their initials. "R" is also more appropriate for pirate related jokes. .

In the modern world, R is an open-source interpreted language, used extensively in data science and related disciplines. Mostly strong in the academic and science worlds, it has gained prominence in recent years with integration into databases such as SQL Server and Oracle.

What R Can Offer You

R is especially strong in the field of data science, favoured for data visualisation and statistical analysis.

Another strength of R is the support of a huge and active community and a wide ecosystem of packages.

It also has undocumented uses which I'll cover in a separate series, such as being good for presentations

Ugly Truths of R

R is not for everyone, with many many programmers looking to get into data science choosing Python instead.

Described as a weird language, R is regarded as a hard language to learn.

For many experienced programmers one of the hardest parts is expecting it to work like other languages.

Resources of R

R has many good resources for R with R Bloggers a good place to start, including the blog of Steph Locke, who introduced me to R.

There are conferences around the world and local user groups.

I'll also be covering more sections in future articles.

5 Tutorials for R

Setting Up Your Environment

Some Useful Commands

Getting Involved with Packages

Best Practices of R

Stepping into the Hadleyverse



Duncan Thomson

A Remote Software and Database Contractor specialised in Umbraco, Duncan works from wherever he finds himself. He is the co-organiser of the Python Exeter and Data Science Exeter meetup groups and speaks about Remote Working, Umbraco, Python and .NET Outside of work he is keen on travel, random generation, foreign languages and good food.

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