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Over the past few months I’ve added a few improvements to the repmis–miscellaneous functions for reproducible research–R package. I just want to briefly highlight two of them:

• source_XlsxData for downloading data in Excel formatted files.

Both of these capabilities are in repmis version 0.2.9 and greater.

## Caching

When working with data sourced directly from the internet, it can be time consuming (and make the data hoster angry) to repeatedly download the data. So, repmis’s source functions (source_data, source_DropboxData, and source_XlsxData) can now cache a downloaded data set by setting the argument cache = TRUE. For example:

DisData <- source_data("http://bit.ly/156oQ7a", cache = TRUE)

When the function is run again, the data set at http://bit.ly/156oQ7a will be loaded locally, rather than downloaded.

To delete the cached data set, simply run the function again with the argument clearCache = TRUE.

## source_XlsxData

I recently added the source_XlsxData function to download Excel data sets directly into R. This function works very similarly to the other source functions. There are two differences:

• You need to specify the sheet argument. This is either the name of one specific sheet in the downloaded Excel workbook or its number (e.g. the first sheet in the workbook would be sheet = 1).

• You can pass other arguments to the read.xlsx function from the xlsx package.

Here’s a simple example:

RRurl <- 'http://www.carmenreinhart.com/user_uploads/data/22_data.xls'

RRData <- source_XlsxData(url = RRurl, sheet = 2, startRow = 5)

startRow = 5 basically drops the first 4 rows of the sheet.