formatR: farewell to ugly R code

April 13, 2010

(This article was first published on Statistics, R, Graphics and Fun » R Language, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

It is not uncommon to see messy R code which is almost not human-readable like this:

 # rotation of the word "Animation"
# in a loop; change the angle and color
# step by step
for (i in 1:360) {
 # redraw the plot again and again
# rotate; use rainbow() colors
# pause for a while

Apparently it is pain reading unformatted R code, but on the other hand, it is natural for us to be lazy. I don’t care about adding spaces or indent to my raw R code — I’ll concentrate on programming first and format my code later. The R package ‘formatR‘ is intended to help us format our messy R code. Two lines of R code will show you the graphical interface of formatR:

# formatR depends on RGtk+, will be installed automatically
# please use the latest version of R (>=2.10.1)
# or formatR()

Then you can either paste your code into the text box or click the “Open” button to open an existing R code file. Click the “Convert” button and you are done!

formatR: unformatted R code

formatR: unformatted R code

formatR: tidy R code

formatR: tidy R code

There are several options in the “Preferences” panel, e.g. you can specify whether to keep comments or blank lines, or specify the width of the formatted R code.

No matter how messy your code looks like, formatR can make it tidy and structured as long as there are no syntax errors in your R code. If you prefer the command line interface, you may want to take a look at the function tidy.source() in the animation package.

Currently there are problems with the encoding of multi-byte characters, and I have not figured out how to deal with them.

Related Posts

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Statistics, R, Graphics and Fun » R Language. offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials on topics such as: Data science, Big Data, R jobs, visualization (ggplot2, Boxplots, maps, animation), programming (RStudio, Sweave, LaTeX, SQL, Eclipse, git, hadoop, Web Scraping) statistics (regression, PCA, time series, trading) and more...

If you got this far, why not subscribe for updates from the site? Choose your flavor: e-mail, twitter, RSS, or facebook...

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Search R-bloggers


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)