You can now extend RStudio with add-ins

February 12, 2016
By

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

The latest update to RStudio, the cross-platform open-source integrated development environment for the R language from the team at RStudio, adds many new features for R developers. But perhaps the most significant update is one which allows R developers to add their own new features to RStudio: add-ins. 

RStudio Add-ins appear under the new "Add-ins" menu in the RStudio toolbar. The menu is (a little sadly) empty by default, but you can your own new menu items to implement custom keyboard shortcuts, insert "snippets" of R code, or in fact do anything that R itself can do. For example, this add-in makes it easy to apply the "formatR" function from the tidyr package to clean up the R code in the current script file.

Demo-reformat

To create your own add-ins for RStudio, you'll need to write an R package to contain the R functions called by the menu item, and then register the package as an add-in in a file called addins.dcf. (If you're new to writing R packages, check out this guide by Hilary Parker.) For basic things like keyboard shortcuts a simple R function call is all you need, but you can also create a user interface for your add-in (like the one seen above) using Shiny Gadgets, a variant of Shiny apps designed for use within RStudio itself. Again, only R code is needed here.

RStudio v0.99.878 also brings a number of other new features, including the ability to edit multiple source files simultaneously in tear-off windows, and — yay! — Emacs keybindings. (On a personal note, it's sweet to see some of the command keystrokes I introduced with S-mode back in the day get a second wind in RStudio.) Follow the link below for more details on this latest update.

RStudio blog: New Release of RStudio (v0.99.878)

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