What’s the Answer? (RStudio as a game-changer)

Biostars is a site for asking, answering and discussing bioinformatics questions and issues. We are members of the Biostars_logo community and find it very useful. Often questions and answers arise at Biostars that are germane to our readers (end users of genomics resources). Every Thursday we will be highlighting one of those items or discussions here in this thread. You can ask questions in this thread, or you can always join in at Biostars.

This week’s highlighted Biostar item is part of the week’s them on statistical computing. The post comes from someone who is a biologist, is remembering what it was like before we had the nice RStudio interface. And he offers some hand-holding to get new users started.

Tutorial: Few words for R beginners


As a biologist who started to learn R, I encountered a lot of problems on learning the subject. Now I don’t want to go into them but I just want to suggest what I think that can save you from wasting your time and energy fooling around without getting what you expect.

  1. Install R ! Of course!
  2. Install R-studio, this simplifies your life. Note: R-studio should be installed after R. (http://www.rstudio.com/). After this you always open R-studio not R. R is the actual program but R-studio gives it the nice interactive interface.
  3. Watch this webinar on R to get familiar with basics and why it’s good to have R-studio. http://bitesizebio.com/webinar/20600/beginners-introduction-to-r-statistical-software/
  4. Coursera offers this very nice course in R. Get the videos from their website and of course watch them! (https://www.coursera.org/course/rprog)
  5. While learning from the course, practice with swirl ( http://www.swirlstats.com ). Swirl was the best R teacher for me. It interactively makes you work around with R.
  6. Also https://www.datacamp.com/courses/introduction-to-r or generally https://www.datacamp.com is very good resource for self learners!
  7. Stuar51XT is a youtube channel that has very nice comprehensive R courses. Just in their videos search for “introduction to R programming” https://www.youtube.com/user/Stuar51XT .
  8. Practice and expand bioinformatics oriented R skills by “Institute for Integrative Genome Biology” manual. http://manuals.bioinformatics.ucr.edu/home/R_BioCondManual

If I go back to my pre-R era I would follow the above. I think its a good kick-off for those who want to learn R and start getting familiar with R’s environment.  I hope it helps you =)



But I also loved this response:

I would add, as someone who started using R around 13 years ago: RStudio has been a complete game-changer. It has made the software far more accessible to more people, brought together a great combination of developers, been responsible for many useful, innovative packages and all-in-all, is just A Good Thing.            – Neilfws

See, it’s not just me trying to lure you to RStudio. It is A Good Thing. There are some other comments over there too with more tips or chatter. Go have a look.