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Re: [vox] [fwd] R (programming language) Bay Area Users Group
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Re: [vox] [fwd] R (programming language) Bay Area Users Group

On Sun, 22 Feb 2009, Norm Matloff wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 10:55:22AM -0800, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > There are R specific search engines, and it's pretty easy to find
> > anything if you use cran instead of R (R's CPAN-alike is called CRAN)
> Ironically, the single-letter nature of R's name makes it hard to
> Google things. 

That's why I suggested using cran as a search term instead of R when
you find irrelevant results using R.

> The R documentation is also poor, in my opinion.

It certainly could be improved, but it's still fairly good. The main
issue I've found is that some of the more complex methods of invoking
functions like expression, call, eval, and subsitute don't have enough
examples, and it'd be nice to have more documentation of the ways in
which arguments are processed in R.

[The other aspect is a lot of the more introductory documentation is
primarily available in book form instead of being re-integrated into
the language descriptions and function documentation.]

> I only recently encountered a situation in which I need gfortran to
> compile something from CRAN.

It really depends on what you're using, and whether the packages
already exist. [For Debian at least, almost all of cran and most of
bioc and omegahat are already packaged.]

> I wasn't a big fan of R when I first started using it some years
> ago, but now I find it indispensable, and in fact I'm writing a book
> on R programming. It's an excellent language for data manipulation
> and data graphics.

Yeah, it's pretty much the only way to go if you're dealing with data
sets and doing any kind of statistical analysis on them. [I should
point out too, that people using R should check out Sweave,[1] which
enables you to embed R code (and its output) into LaTeX.]
> I have an introduction to R at
> http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/~matloff/R/RProg.pdf

It'd probably be good to spend some of this effort on improving the
base documentation of R too. [I'd note as well that your text doesn't
spend much time dealing with some of the less trivial, but more useful
aspects of coding in R, like grid graphics, argument handling, object
methods, etc.]

Don Armstrong

1: http://www.stat.umn.edu/~charlie/Sweave/
a friend will help you move
a best friend will help you move bodies
but if you have to move your best friend's body
you're on your own
 -- a softer world #242

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu
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