RStudio v0.99 Preview: Tools for Rcpp

April 14, 2015

(This article was first published on RStudio Blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Over the past several years the Rcpp package has become an indispensable tool for creating high-performance R code. Its power and ease of use have made C++ a natural second language for many R users. There are over 400 packages on CRAN and Bioconductor that depend on Rcpp and it is now the most downloaded R package.

In RStudio v0.99 we have added extensive additional tools to make working with Rcpp more pleasant, productive, and robust, these include:

  • Code completion
  • Source diagnostics as you edit
  • Code snippets
  • Auto-indentation
  • Navigable list of compilation errors
  • Code navigation (go to definition)

We think these features will go a long way to helping even more R users succeed with Rcpp. You can try the new features out now by downloading the RStudio Preview Release.

Code Completion

RStudio v0.99 includes comprehensive code completion for C++ based on Clang (the same underlying engine used by XCode and many other C/C++ tools):

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.13.31 PM

Completions are provided for the C++ language, Rcpp, and any other libraries you have imported.


As you edit C++ source files RStudio uses Clang to scan your code looking for errors, incomplete code, or other conditions worthy of warnings or informational notes. For example:

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.16.38 PM

Diagnostics alert you to the possibility of subtle problems and flag outright incorrect code as early as possible, substantially reducing iteration/debugging time.

Interactive C++

Rcpp includes some nifty tools to help make working with C++ code just as simple and straightforward as working with R code. You can “source” C++ code into R just like you’d source an R script (no need to deal with Makefiles or build systems). Here’s a Gibbs Sampler implemented with Rcpp:

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 4.40.36 PM

We can make this function available to R by simply sourcing the C++ file (much like we’d source an R script):

gibbs(100, 10)

Thanks to the abstractions provided by Rcpp, the code implementing the Gibbs Sampler in C++ is nearly identical to the code you’d write in R, but runs 20 times faster. RStudio includes full support for Rcpp’s sourceCpp via the Source button and Ctrl+Shift+Enter keyboard shortcut.

Try it Out

If you are new to C++ or Rcpp you might be surprised at how easy it is to get started. There are lots of great resources available, including:

You can give the new Rcpp features a try now by downloading the RStudio Preview Release. If you run into problems or have feedback on how we could make things better let us know on our Support Forum.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: RStudio Blog. 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...

Comments are closed.


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)