Set up Sublime Text for light-weight all-in-one data science IDE

[This article was first published on Opiate for the masses, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.


Sublime Text is a powerful text editor. Here I introduce how to add custom REPL config for remote/local R, Python, Scala, Spark, Hive, you name it (this is only tested for OS X).
The example below interprets local Python (top), R (middle) and Hive (bottom) code on remote.


IDE for everything

Good IDEs are everywhere. RStudio for R, Pycharm for Python, IntelliJ for Scala. But these are specialized in one language and what I wanted to have is a tool for broad and multi-language data science tasks with autocompletion, FTP, highlighter, formatter, split editing, local/remote evaluation and REPL. I especially wanted REPL functionality that takes single inputs, evaluates them, and returns the result for quick prototyping. Sublime Text is a popular text editor with massive amount of plugins that provides quite a lot of what you need. By adding custom REPL, Sublime Text becomes an all-in-one tool for every data science task from hadoop ETL, Spark machine learning, HTML/CSS editing to markdown reporting.

The above gif setup is heavily based on the following two packages

When you have them installed, the only thing you need to do is to add a new SublimeREPL config.

Add custom SublimeREPL config

First thing you need to do is to find out SublimeREPL config file location. Most probably you can find it by Sublime Text tab, Preferences, Brouse Packages, SublimeREPL, then config (I use OS X 10.10.5).

As an example, we are going to add remote_R sublime interepreter config. This should be useful when you have local R script and like to evaluate it remotelly.

cp -r R remote_R #This will create remote_R folder  
cd remote_R #Go to remote_R  
open . #Open the folder

You’ll find two files in the folder.
Now we are going to give SublimeREPL access to your remote R (I assume you can SSH to your remote).
Open the files and edit some lines as shown below.
Find the lines with #CHANGE , those are the ones I changed. You’ll see caption and id are no longer “R” but “remote_R”. And cmd now accesses to your remote R .

If you copy & paste the below code, don’t forget to delete #CHANGE blah blah comment. JSON doesn’t accept comments


        "id": "tools",
            "caption": "SublimeREPL",
            "mnemonic": "R",
            "id": "SublimeREPL",
                {"command": "repl_open",
                 "caption": "remote_R", #CHANGE
                 "id": "repl_remote_r", #CHANGE
                 "mnemonic": "R",
                 "args": {
                    "type": "subprocess",
                    "external_id": "r",
                    "additional_scopes": ["tex.latex.knitr"],
                    "encoding": {
                        "windows": "$win_cmd_encoding",
                        "linux": "utf8",
                        "osx": "utf8"
                    "soft_quit": "nquit(save="no")n",
                    "cmd": {"linux": ["R", "--interactive", "--no-readline"],
                            "osx": ["ssh","REMOTENAME","R", "--interactive", "--no-readline"], # CHANGE (lunux and windows not tested)
                            "windows": ["Rterm.exe", "--ess", "--encoding=$win_cmd_encoding"]},
                    "cwd": "$file_path",
                    "extend_env": {"osx": {"PATH": "{PATH}:/usr/local/bin"},
                                   "linux": {"PATH": "{PATH}:/usr/local/bin"},
                                   "windows": {}},
                    "cmd_postfix": "n",
                    "suppress_echo": {"osx": true,
                                      "linux": true,
                                      "windows": false},
                    "syntax": "Packages/R/R Console.tmLanguage"


        "caption": "SublimeREPL: remote_R", #CHANGE
        "command": "run_existing_window_command", "args":
            "id": "repl_remote_r", #CHANGE
            "file": "config/remote_R/Main.sublime-menu" #CHANGE

Now you should see new remote_R REPL functionality was added to your SublimeREPL if you type remote_R in Command Palette (default key binding is command + shift + p)

Code and little more hack

The above example is only to add remote R but basically the same procedure to add Python, Scala, Spark, Hive, Impala and technically anything on remote.
You might need to do a little trick in some cases so I also added config for Python and Hive to my Github page as an example.

The full codes are available from here.

Set up Sublime Text for light-weight all-in-one data science IDE was originally published by Kirill Pomogajko at Opiate for the masses on December 23, 2015.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Opiate for the masses. offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials about learning R and many other topics. Click here if you're looking to post or find an R/data-science job.
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

Never miss an update!
Subscribe to R-bloggers to receive
e-mails with the latest R posts.
(You will not see this message again.)

Click here to close (This popup will not appear again)