by Jens Carl Streibig, Professor Emeritus at University of Copenhagen
Editor's introduction: for background on the miniCRAN package, see our previous blog posts:
MiniCRAN saves my neck when out in regions where seamless running internet is and exception rather than the rule. R is definitely the programme to offer universities and research institutions in agriculture because it is open source, no money involved, and the help, although sometimes a bit nerdy, is easy to access. I usually tell my student not to buy books on specific topics because R is dynamic and within a couple of years some of the functions in the book is obsolete and thud discourage the average user. Look at the documentation at the r-project.org or in rseek.org.
I have recently been teaching in Turkey and Iran. Sometimes the internet is ok other times it is not. Before it was a struggle to get the particularly packages downloaded and install via RStudio. In a workshop in Iran we could not download the essential packages. A shrewd student downloaded dependencies and distributed the zipfiles to her fellow students. After some glitches we got all up and running.
When I became aware of miniCRAN at the useR!2015 meeting all my R problems were almost solved, with help from the maintainer, Andrie de Vries at Revolution Analytics, we got it to work, when given a workshop on dose-response, also in Iran two weeks ago. Everything went all right for those students who could not install the packages at home. Some windows version were in a poor state of repair, so they could not run RStudio and we had to provide all the dependencies, but no problem they were all in the miniCRAN repository.