[R] Learning advanced R

Rich Shepard rshepard at appl-ecosys.com
Wed Mar 14 17:52:31 CET 2018

On Wed, 14 Mar 2018, Duncan Murdoch wrote:

> I'm all for learning more languages and using the one that's best for each
> job, but for people who don't know Python, it would be helpful to list the
> aspects in which it excels. When should an R user choose to write
> something in Python instead?


   "Best" is subjective, but my view is the language most comfortable and
familiar to the developer/analyst should be the one used.

   In my environmental consulting business I use both R and Python. While
Python has support for many statistical models I'm more comfortable with the
ones available in R. For spatial analyses (separate from spatial statistics)
I've used GRASS for > 20 years and it heavily uses Python. I also use Python
(along with emacs, awk, sed, and grep) for cleaning and organizing data. For
writing, I use LaTeX (a markup language) and the LyX GUI front end.

   Python has a lot of support for scientific and financial analyses, as does
R. Considering there are a gazillion programming languages available (and
used for essential applications, such as GnuCash (written in guile, a scheme
variant) which I use for business and personal bookkeeping, picking the
"best" one is strictly a personal matter. I prefer emacs, my system and
network admin friends prefer vi. In linux, at least, there are so many
options for doing a task that sometimes it's difficult to decide which to
use in a given situation.

   If the languages you know do all you need then learn a new one only if
it's to scratch an itch. :-)

Best regards,


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