R, for example… Moving here
R is a statistical computation language. As a programming language, I am not too fond of it, but for many quick analysis and visualization problems, R is just the tool. The ggplot package from Hadley Wickham produces very good looking plots quickly.
observations about R:
- I thought I would master the basics in about 20% of the time it has actually taken. It seems R has a steep learning curve as they say. May this is only true when you are coming from other object/procedural languages (my experience is with C, Java, Python, C++…)?
- Nearly every frustration I have experience with R comes from not understanding the required form the data and not knowing the tools for transform data. When you get the data in the right structure, many powerful packages will give sophisticated answers in a line or two.
- When I start writing functions and loop in R, it is type to move to Python/NumPy/SciPy/Matplotlib.
- (There is an art to searching for things related to “R” on the web–almost as bad as searching for the game of “go”.)
I started posting R examples on Tumblr. The idea behind “R, for example…” is to provide input data, code and output to quickly walk through a short analysis illustrating new (to me) or useful R. But the Tumblr platform really isn’t very friendly to math, data and plots. Going forward, R examples will appear here on Skippy Records.