R – Resources

Since I jabber on and on about R so much, it makes sense that I would have a big long list of R resources. So here’s a list, in quasi-random (not pseudo-random, mind you) order.

General R Links

(Do not confuse with Admiral R, that’s different)

  • The R Project - Gotta start at the very beginning… a very good place to start.
  • Quick R - Really well organized R site designed to get you up and going fast. When first getting started with R I used this daily. Let me see if I can say this clearly:

If you only get one R resource from this page, get QuickR

  • The R Inferno - This is an interesting document really written for programmers. It’s written a little tongue in cheek parodying Dante’s Inferno. If you imagine you may want to create your own object classes, this is an important read. This was written by Patrick Burns over at Burns Statistics. My first good list of R resources came from Mr. Burns. He’s certifiably an R Guru.
  • R Tips – Not the whole R… only the tip (but 56 pages if you print it all!) – This site used to be called Stats ‘R’ Us and the Toy’s ‘R’ Us lawyers (a.k.a. desk jockeys) sent them a cease and desist letter. What a load of crap. As if anyone is going to confuse a statistics site with a toy store. I wish there was a toy store named Cerebral Mastication because I’d buy all my kids toys there!
  • Stats With R – a French hosted (in English and French) site with a good intro to prob distributions, ANOVA analysis, regression, graphics, and mixed models. I’m personally not into mixed models, cause Daddy just don’t swing that way. But if that’s your thing, I’m OK with that. Just don’t email me pictures.
  • A (Not So) Short Intro to S4 Object Oriented Programming in R – PDF – I think that trying to write a short introduction to S4 object programming in R is like trying to write a brief summary of the Arab/ Israeli conflict. You end up with 68 pages and it feels like you didn’t give it justice and left all the exciting bits out. If you don’t know what S4 objects are you will find the answer on page 2 of this manuscript. Then you can have drinks with your computer scientist friends and sound like you are not a total idiot. Although if you are having drinks with computer scientists, you may not be an idiot, but you probably are a nerd. I mean that in the best way possible, nerdboy.
  • R Quick Reference Card – PDF – A couple of small print reference pages on syntax. This is not really useful unless you already understand how to use R. Also nice if you are taking an R class and want to get this tattooed on your thigh so you can cheat on the tests! Just don’t forget to wear shorts to the tests. They notice if you take your pants off to see the tattoos on your thighs. Don’t ask me how I know. And don’t ask to see my ‘Pythagorean theorem.’ That’s only for my wife.
  • Quick start Video - Oh yeah, learn to use R in 10 minutes. Starts with downloading R through basic statistics. Get some popcorn and watch an R movie. Unfortunately, no nudity or violence. And not much of a plot, really. Just a bunch of computer stuff. Oh, and there’s a sequel already.
  • R Mailing List Search and the RSeek project- I don’t really ever post a question to the R mailing list. I just don’t want Professor Brian Ripley telling me that I am an buttmuncher and should have my computing rights taken away and my hands cut off. Not that he’s ever terse, it’s just my fear. So I use the R Mailing List Search tool. Generally I’m not the first idiot to ask a given question. Generally in life I find that idiocy is almost always ahead of me. Especially in the line at Costco…

Specific R Uses

  • Rmetrics - They say it best on their site when they say it is a, “premier open source solution for teaching financial market analysis and valuation of financial instruments.” Don’t you love when someone calls their own stuff “premier.” I want to make a package and call it “a reasonable first attempt by a somewhat average guy.” I like truth in advertising.
  • R (D)Com Server – Make R play with Excel and other Programs! – Purists tend to hate this kind of stuff. They feel that you should be using one tool or another. Not me, sometimes I drive screws with a hammer. And I like it! Sometimes I cut twigs with a chainsaw too. Just for the noise and the smell of two stroke engine exhaust. Little boys never do really grow up.
  • R for SAS and SPSS users – This is a site, a free manuscript and a book. Springer liked the original free manuscript so much they paid the author to make it into a book. I wonder if Springer will like my site so much they want me to write a book? I guess I better not make a lot of Kraut jokes or Hitler comments. I like Germans. I drive a Porsche. But I call it a ‘poorsh’ like a hillbilly because I think it sounds pretentious to say ‘Por-sha’ unless I am talking to car snobs who I don’t want to think I am a hillbilly… Cause I am a redneck, not a hillbilly.
  • SAS to R to SAS - PDF on going back and forth between R and SAS – Only 7 pages, in case you are lazy and want a SAS/R article that you can read in one sitting. I know what you are thinknig. Wash your hands when you are done with that. Yes, you can read it in one ‘visit.’
  • R Programming For Programmers of Other Languages - Good short site with info on programming R if you have experience in another language.
  • R Tutorial From Union College - Quick and dirty intro into basic data types, operations, and statistics.
  • Introduction to Statistical Modeling in R - 100 PDF pages of stats modeling goodness. This is written by P.M.E. Altham, one of the fine chaps at the Statistical Laboratory, University of Cambridge. I bet he wears a smashing tweed jacket and hunts foxes on the weekend! Professor Altham teaches a 3rd year undergrad stats class and this manuscript is part of the text. He has a really excellent site with lots of other resources including data and code examples.

R Ecosystem

This is stuff that is related to R but not exactly part of R or a publication about R.

  • Revolution Computing - This is a company that has built a business model around specialized versions of R (parallel computing, etc), and providing commercial support for R. They seem to be really good citizens in the R community and provide some interesting services. They like this list so much they gave me a mention on their blog. Woot. I’m famous! Any ideas how I can use this new fame for free beer and sporting event tickets? Please drop me an email if you have any ideas.


  1. Tal Galili says:

    Hi there,
    I thought you might also wish to mention:

    Thanks for the great list :)


  2. Tal Galili says:

    BTW, I found your site looking for articles about “plyr”, and I now see you have a good collection of articles about R in your blog:

    I encourage you to add your site to R-bloggers:

    p.s: also consider adding the plugin “subscribe to comments” to your blog.


  3. Thanks, JD! The video seems to help a lot of people.

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