My PLStroika and some thoughts on developing R packages

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I’ve been using R on a daily basis for more than seven years, and I’ve been developing R packages over the last three years. I consider myself an experienced useR and most of my coworkers consider me an R master. However, there are still a lot of things that I don’t know about R. To be honest, is not uncommon for me to learn something new about R almost everyday, whether it is a new way to perform some task, or a new trick to do some calculation. Part of the reason why I’m still learning so much is because of the availability of online resources like github and r-bloggers (just to mention two of them), that are full of rich information that otherwise I wouldn’t get access to.

From a developer’s standpoint, the exponential growth of Resources to help us create, design, and maintain R packages has been amazing. Compared to three years ago when I launched my first R package in 2009, now I have things like RStudio, roxygen2, devtools, knitr, as well as many blog posts and forums of discussion where other guys share their experiences, frustrations, and solutions to common -and not so common- problems. At least in my case, this abundance of tools has given me the opportunity to launch new packages in a faster way, and also to work on existing packages that I had temporarily abandoned because of the painstaking job of maintaining them.

Right now I’m in the middle of a redesigning process of my package plspm, and the website It’s been such an enormous challenge that I have even come up with the term PLStroika to nickname this project. Thanks to the resources that I already mentioned, I feel better equipped to perform a major surgery on my beloved plspm. I know the changes I’m making may affect some people’s work (hopefully not that many). But my only intention is to keep alive my packages while still providing useful and reliable software. By the way, this is the other reason why I haven’t been posting new stuff in this space. As soon as I’m done with the PLStroika and everything goes back to normal, I’ll come back with more posts.

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