The world is filled with programming languages designed for various purposes. Some of them might appear new, but they’ve been around for decades, and one of such is the programming language known as R. In recent years, R has exploded on the scene to become one of the most used, and things could stay like this for multiple years to come.
R programming language
R is a programming language & software environment is used by statisticians and data miners for statistical computing & graphics. Before making the steps to dig directly into programming with R, you must first understand what the language is, and its capabilities.
- What is R programming language
- R packages
- What is RStudio
Let’s look at this in more detail.
1] What is R programming language
For those who might be wondering, the programming language was created by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman in 1993. Furthermore, note that most of the R libraries are written using R, but for others, C, C++, and Fortran are preferred.
From what we’ve gathered, the idea behind R is all about statistical computing. It is primarily used by data miners, statisticians, data analysis, and more. Simply put, if you want to generate data quickly and efficiently, then R is the way to go.
As of February, of this year, R has been rated as the 13th most used programming language in the world. Before that, it was in the top 10, so we can come to the conclusion that R is used quite often around the world. In fact, companies such as Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, and Google all take advantage of this language in different ways.
So, as it stands, R is primarily used for statistical inference, data analysis, and machine learning algorithms.
2] R packages
To get the most out of R, the user is required to take advantage of all the packages it brings to the table. As of right now, there are around 12,000 packages, and each is stored in CRAN. Now, if you weren’t aware, CRAN is both free and open source. The option is there to download any one of them to perform statistical tasks.
Some of these packages include the likes of ggplot2, tidyr, tidyverse, XML, data.table, scales, dplyr, and much more.
Download R from the official website.
3] What is R Studio
If you want to have an easier time using R, then the best option is to download RStudio. With this program is an integrated development environment for R, and it works quite well from our experience. In truth, both R and RStudio are different versions of the same thing.
Download RStudio from the official website.
You see, if you are new to using R, then your best option to learn is to take advantage of what RStudio has to offer. In fact, we are going to list the top reasons why you should use RStudio instead of R if you can.
- Full-text editor
- Dock windows
- Much better user interface
1] Full-text editor
One of the major downsides of the regular version of R is the fact that it doesn’t have a full-featured text editor. If you want to use syntax highlighting, and much more, then you’re out of luck. Having a good text editor makes for a world of difference when attempting to learn a new programming language.
2] Dock windows
There are times when we have no idea where the text file containing all our awesome code has gone. That’s because R doesn’t dock windows, but RStudio does. All relevant windows are docked together, which makes them easier to find when compared to using the regular version of R.
Yes, RStudio has the option for the user to autocomplete texts. Just press the tab key and the tool will try to fix your mistakes. We say try because it doesn’t always make the right decisions, so keep that in mind before moving forward.
4] Much better user interface
Let’s be honest about this. The regular version of R has a dated UI, but that is fine for advanced users who already know what they’re doing. Not to mention, the minimalistic look ensures snappy performance, so no need to invest in a beefy computer.
Despite all of that, we still prefer RStudio because it showcases a full list of objects in the panel located at the upper-right. It’s a useful feature, and we suspect that even the advanced users will want to make use of it.