Blog Archives

New version of assertive and answers to tutorial exercises

July 16, 2015
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New version of assertive and answers to tutorial exercises

I gave a tutorial at useR on testing R code, which turned out to be a great way of getting feedback on my code! Based on the suggestions by attendees, I’ve made a big update to the package, which is now on CRAN. Full details of the new features can be access in the ?changes

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The state of assertions in R

July 3, 2015
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The state of assertions in R

“Assertion” is computer-science jargon for a run-time check on your code. In R , this typically means function argument checks (“did they pass a numeric vector rather than a character vector into your function?”), and data quality checks (“does the date-of-birth column contain values in the past?”). The four packages R currently has four packages

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From cats to zombies, Wednesday at useR2015

July 1, 2015
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From cats to zombies, Wednesday at useR2015

The morning opened with someone who I was too bleary eyed to work out who it was. Possibly the dean of the University of Aalborg. Anyway, he said that this is the largest ever useR conference, and the first ever in a Nordic country. Take that, Norway! Also, considering that there are now quite a

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How I made every tech company that I may ever want to work for in the future hate me, or “GO R Consortium!”

June 30, 2015
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How I made every tech company that I may ever want to work for in the future hate me, or “GO R Consortium!”

It turns out that when people tell you things, you should listen. Like when Joe Rickert of Microsoft says “this is not news, please don’t repeat what I’m about to say”, you should maybe take note and keep your mouth shut. I’m not quite sure how I missed that, but I did. So on Sunday

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Everyone loves R markdown and Github; stories from the R Summit, day two

June 28, 2015
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Everyone loves R markdown and Github; stories from the R Summit, day two

More excellent talks today! Andrie de Vries of Microsoft kicked off today’s talks with a demo of checkpoint. This is his package for assisting reproducibility by letting you install packages from a specific date. The idea is that a lot of R packages, particularly those from PhD projects don’t get maintained, and suffer bitrot. That

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The Workflow of Infinite Shame, and other stories from the R Summit

June 27, 2015
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The Workflow of Infinite Shame, and other stories from the R Summit

At day one of the R Summit at Copenhagen Business School there was a lot of talk about the performance of R, and alternate R interpreters. Luke Tierney of the University of Iowa, the author of the compiler package, and R-Core member who has been working on R’s performance since, well, pretty much since R

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Thoughts on R’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Documentation

March 10, 2015
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Thoughts on R’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Documentation

A couple of days ago Pete Werner had a rant about the state of R’s documentation. A lot of it was misguided, but it had some legitimate complaints, and the fact that people can perceive R’s documentation as being bad (whether accurate or not) is important in itself. The exponential growth in R’s popularity means

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Many package updates on CRAN

February 4, 2015
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Many package updates on CRAN

Over the last week or two I’ve been pushing all my packages to CRAN. pathological (for working with file paths), runittotestthat (for converting RUnit tests to testthat tests), and rebus (formerly regex, for building regular expressions in a human readable way) all make their CRAN debuts. assertive, for run-time testing your code has more checks

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How do you get things into base-R?

January 15, 2015
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How do you get things into base-R?

A couple of months ago I spotted that the examples for the paste function weren’t very good, and actually, there were quite a few functions that new users of R are likely to encounter, that weren’t well explained. I’ve now managed to get some updated examples into R (paste, sum, NumericConstants, pie, a couple dozen

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Update on improving examples in base-R

December 24, 2014
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Update on improving examples in base-R

Last month I was ranting about the state of some of the examples in base-R, particularly the paste function. Martin Maechler has now kindly taken my suggested examples and added them into R. Hopefully this will reduce the number of newbie questions about “how do I join these strings together”. Since Martin showed some interest

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