Shiny App for CRAN packages

May 13, 2013
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(This article was first published on PremierSoccerStats » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Over the past few days, I have been introduced to a few new-to-me R packages, via some comments from the Shiny guys and the R-bloggers site. This seems a rather haphazard way of acquiring knowledge and I cannot be alone in thinking that this is not the most productive way to become aware of new/better packages. Word of mouth and occasional recommendations on sites like StackOverflow are all well and good but may be insufficient given the multitude of packages and growing user base

The CRAN site does a useful job with their summaries by Topic View but several packages I use the most e.g. ‘plyr’,'stringr’, and ‘XML appear to be absent. Perhaps a new topic or two devoted to manipulation and webscraping would help

It would be great to have a site where experts could review both new packages and revisions of the more-popular established ones. Crantastic does allow users to review and rate packages but there is a pretty low response. It also allows people to list the packages they use. This is potentially a good way of showing the most popular, and presumably most useful, packages but again the total data barely averages 1 per CRAN package. Still, better than nothing and I suggest more participation there would be helpful pending any data on actual CRAN downloads by package

As mentioned in my last post, I have been working on some CRAN stats and decided to produce a Shiny app which may help a trifle in this area. It will be regularly updated and summarizes all packages, by Topic group, as well as providing the detailed description and other details such as revision timeline by individual package. Nothing that new, but bringing info together in a different format. Please note that it takes a while to load. Hope some of you find it useful (2182)

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