Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Amazing R Markdown

I teach a new basic econometrics course using R, and I am quite proud of my Guide to R for SCU Economics Students (available here), which features a series of instructive tutorials with accompanying R scripts and data. I revise it and revise it and revise it, using one of humankind's most infuriating creations, Word. If I change the code, or a graphic, I have to run the R and print and paste the results into the script. Then, make sure Word has not gone and F-ed up the formatting, then print to pdf and upload.

But lo and behold: R Markdown. Simple text entry, intuitive formatting, embedded R code that will run and show the code and/or results in your document, formatted for optimal clarity. Saved automatically to HTML. Post and fuhgeddaboudit. Open source and free. Seems almost to have been designed with my needs specifically in mind. Outstanding. The sooner I can move my Guide to Markdown the better.

Bill Gates, you really are a good man. But I will gradually wean myself from your bloated annoying products, I swear I will.

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