Learning RStudio for R statistical computing

Learning RStudio for R Statistical ComputingLearning RStudio for R Statistical Computing

MPJ Van der Loo, Edwin de Jonge (2012)
Packt Publishing p. 126, ISBN 13 9781782160601


The contents of the book: This book is a good introduction for new users of RStudio. I have recommended it to my students and they found it useful, as far as I know. It is not an in-depth guide to the IDE but it has most of what is needed to get anybody started and familiarized with most of the capabilities of RStudio. The current version of the book dates from 2012, and both R and RStudio have acquired new features, but most of them, are more advanced than what would fit in a short introduction like this.

What is not discussed in the book is 1) debugging, which has been relatively recently fully implemented in RStudio, thanks to improved support in R itself, 2) shiny and packrat integration, which are important, but advanced subjects, and 3) integration with Pandoc. Of these features an introduction to debugging in RStudio would be useful to anybody writing scripts and specially packages. Packrat is important for reproducible research.

The presentation of the book: The book is clear and concise. As R and RStudio are becoming the de-facto standard software in Academia for statistics and data analysis, R and RStudio are likely to become the software of choice even for introductory statistical and data analysis courses. For such courses this book would work very well as a companion text. It is especially good that the authors mention both web sites and books that the readers can use as sources of further information.

The aesthetics: The book is nicely typeset with many illustrations in colour which should engage unexperienced users and help them through the reading of the book.

[Updated on 2015-05-04] This is still an excellent introduction to RStudio, but RStudio has evolved a lot since 2012 and since I have written this review. Many of important new features in the current RStudio release (0.98), and especially in the current preview release (0.99) are not described in this edition of the book as they did not exist when it was written. The decreased rating stems from the book being out-of-date.

Rating: 3/5 (5/5 in 2012)

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