ipython notebook for R: Quickstart for Ubuntu

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If you’re like me, you love ipython notebook but often write R.  RStudio’s integrated RMarkdown is nice, but for some contexts like quick demos or basic training, a browser-based interface is unbeatable.  What if we could get the best of both worlds – an ipython notebook for R?

The answer is rNotebook, and if you haven’t seen it yet, take a moment to watch the video below from Ramnath Vaidyanathan, its creator:

Now, before I get your hopes up too high, it’s not under very active development and it doesn’t come with the maturity that you get from ipython notebook (e.g., keyboard shortcuts, password-protection, multiple notebooks).  That said, it’s definitely worth a try!

To get started quickly, I’ve put together a basic gist that will get an Ubuntu 13.04 up and running with a live rNotebook instance.  Dan and I will be using rNotebook in our class on Legal Analytics at MSU in the upcoming week, and I’ll be launching an EC2 t1.micro for each of the students. We’ll see how it goes!

To run it on your own, just `wget` and `sudo bash` execute rnotebook_prepare.sh. Then, point your browser at port 8100 wherever you’ve installed, e.g., http://localhost:8100/. Good luck!

N.B.: The WebSockets implementation is not currently compatible with versions of Chrome 30+ due to loose RFC compliance. You’ll need to use FF or a version of Chrome pre-30.

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