R Community Explorer – R User Groups

September 9, 2019
By

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By Ben Ubah, Claudia Vitolo and Rick Pack

We
recently announced
an R-Ladies focused open-source
dynamic dashboard
built using R and Javascript. That work has now been
extended to encompass all R user groups organized through Meetup.com. You can
find this new dashboard at this link
and its code, here.

The R user group support program and the R-Ladies project, are featured in
two out of three top-level R
Consortium projects

How We Identified R User Groups on Meetup

Identifying all R user groups on Meetup.com required
more effort than R-Ladies groups. While R-ladies groups are centrally created and their names
follow a standard convention, the names of other R user groups are more difficult to predict.

We extended Curtis
Kephart
’s technique for using string matching to retrieve upcoming R events
to:

  • Match among all data science groups on Meetup
    (7700 +) those with strings like “r user”,
    “r-user”,“r-lab”,“phillyr”,“rug”,“bioconductor”,“r-data”,“rug” in their Meetup
    URL names. We then performed a second round of string matching to search for
    strings like “programming-in-r”, “r-programming-”, “-using-r”, “r-language”,
    and “r-project-for-statistical” in the groups’ topics field.
  • Retrieve all user groups that mention
    “r-project-for-statistical-computing” in their topics separately.
  • Retrieve all R-Ladies groups separately, which
    was necessary to avoid missing some groups.

Procedure

For this dashboard, the following procedure was followed:

  1. We
    used the meetupr
    package to extract R user groups from Meetup.com
  2. Improved
    the existing find_groups()
    and get_events()
    functions in meetupr
    to meet our requirements
    and switched from the defunct Meetup API keys to OAuth 2.0 authentication
    system. This switch was quite complicated and will be discussed further in
    another article.
  3. Transformed
    the data retrieved from Meetup  via meetupr
    from data frames to JSON, GeoJSON and CSV
  4. Stored
    the data by committing the JSON/GeoJSON/CSV files to the GitHub repository of
    the project.
  5. Developed
    a static HTML dashboard interface based on an open-source Bootstrap template
  6. Rendered
    the stored data via the dashboard interface
  7. Automated
    the process of extracting R user groups, data transformation and storage.
  8. Deployed
    the dashboard via GitHub Pages

The
Tools We Used

Combining
R (for data-analysis) and JavaScript (for data-presentation) is at the heart of
this project as this combination offers great flexibility with automation and
deployment.

We
used a mix of these tools to develop the dashboard:

  1. R, RStudio and the following packages:
  • meetupr, curl, jsonlite and leafletR
  1. Javascript and the following libraries: jquery.js, d3.js, echarts.js, leaflet.js, leaflet-markercluster.js and lodash.js
  2. Gentelella Admin Dashboard Bootstrap HTML template
  3. Travis CI to automatically build the project, execute R scripts and bash commands
  4. Bash commands to call R scripts and commit modified files to GitHub

Acknowledgments

We
appreciate Curtis
Kephart (RStudio)
for contributing
code that helped us with ideas on identifying R user groups on Meetup.

We also
thank the authors of the meetupr package for their excellent work.
Special thanks to Jenny Bryan, Erin LeDell, and Greg
Sutcliffe
for their help
over the last month with implementing the requirements for the new Meetup OAuth
2.0 authentication system.

The post R Community Explorer – R User Groups appeared first on R Consortium.

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