Showing posts from July, 2018

New R package 'debugr' - use automatic debug messages to improve your code

debugr is a new package designed to support debugging in R. It mainly provides the dwatch() function which prints a debug output to the console or to a file. A debug output can consist of a static text message, the values of one or more objects (potentially transformed by applying some functions) or the value of one or multiple (more complex) R expressions.

Whether or not a debug message is displayed can be made dependent on the evaluation of a criterion phrased as an R expression. Generally, debug messages are only shown if the debug mode is activated. The debug mode is activated and deactivated with debugr_switchOn() and debugr_switchOff(), respectively, which change the logical value in the global options. Since debug messages are only displayed in debug mode, the dwatch() function calls can even remain in the original code as they remain silent and won't have any effect until the debug mode is switched on again.

Read more:

The package's vignette: https://cloud…

A thought experiment: How CRAN saved 3,620 (working) lives

Given the vast amount of R packages available today, it makes sense (at least to me, as a trained economist) to ask a simple yet difficult question: How much value has been created by all those packages?

As all R stuff on CRAN is open-source (which is a blessing), there is no measureable GDP contribution in terms of market value that we can use to provide a quick answer. But all of us R users know the pleasant feeling, if not to say the excitement, of finding a package that provides exactly the functionality we have been looking for so long. This saves us the time of developing the functionality ourselves. So, apparantly, the time saving is one way to estimate the beneficial effect of the package sharing on CRAN.
Here comes a simple (and not too serious) approach to estimating this effect. 
(Side note: I am well aware of the extremely high concentration of capable statisticians and data scientists in the R community, so be clement with my approach, I am, as you will see shortly, not aimi…

New package 'packagefinder' - Search for packages from the R console

There are over 12,700 R packages on CRAN. How to find the right one for you? The new package 'packagefinder' helps you search for packages on CRAN right from the R console.

With 'packagefinder' you can search for multiple keywords in the name, title and description of the CRAN package, either case-sensitive or insensitive and define your own weighting scheme for the search results, if you like. Once you have found a promising package, you can use the simple function go() to go to the package's CRAN webpage or view its PDF manual, directly from the R console without having to installing the package first. Of course, you can also install the package easily, if you want to try it out.

Check our 'packagefinder' on CRAN:

And leave your comments on GitHub ( or contact me via Twitter or e-mail. Your ideas are highly appreciated!