You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2016.

It’s nearly summeRtime in Australia! Join RStudio Chief Data Scientist Hadley Wickham for his popular Master R workshop in Melbourne.

Register here:

Melbourne will be Hadley’s first and only scheduled Master R workshop in Australia. Whether you live or work nearby or you just need one more good reason to visit Melbourne in the Southern Hemisphere spring, consider joining him at the Cliftons Melbourne on December 12th and 13th. It’s a rare opportunity to learn from one of the R community’s most popular and innovative authors and package developers.

Hadley’s workshops usually sell out. This is his final Master R in 2016 and he has no plans to offer another in the area in 2017. If you’re an active R user and have been meaning to take this class, now is the perfect time to do it!

We look forward to seeing you in Melbourne!

We are excited to announce that submissions for lightning talks at rstudio::conf are now open! Lightning talks are short (5 minute) high energy presentations that give you the chance to talk about an interesting project that you’ve tackled with R. Short talks, or demos of your R code, R packages, and shiny apps are great options. See some of the great lightning talks from the Shiny Developer Conference (scroll down to user talks).

Submit your lightning talk proposal here!

Submissions are due December 1, 2016. We’ll announce the accepted talks on December 15. (You must be a registered attendee of rstudio::conf to present a lightning talk.)

Shiny Server and Shiny Server Pro are now available! This release includes new features to support Shiny 0.14. It also updates our Node.js to 0.10.47, which includes important security fixes for SSL/TLS.

Connection robustness (a.k.a. grey-outs)

Shiny’s architecture is built on top of websockets, which are long-lived network connections between the browser and an R session on the server. If this connection is broken for any reason, the browser is no longer able to communicate with its R session on the server. Shiny indicates this to the user by turning the page background grey and fading out the page contents.

In Shiny 0.14 and Shiny Server 1.4.7, we’ve done work at both the server and package levels to minimize the amount of greyouts users will see. Simply by upgrading Shiny Server, transient (<15sec) network interruptions should no longer disrupt Shiny apps. And for many Shiny apps, a secondary, opt-in reconnection mechanism should all but eliminate grey-outs. This article on has all the details.

Bookmarkable state

Shiny 0.14 introduced a “bookmarkable state” feature that made it possible to snapshot the state of a running Shiny app, and send it to someone as a URL to try in their own browser. At the app author’s option, the app state could either be fully encoded in the URL, or written to disk and referred to by a short ID. This latter approach requires support from the server, and that support is now officially provided by Shiny Server and Shiny Server 1.4.7. (This functionality is not yet available for, however.)

Coming soon: Shiny Server 1.5.0

Just a heads up: Shiny Server (Pro) 1.5.0 is coming in a few weeks. Shiny Server was originally written using Node.js 0.10, which is nearing the end of its lifespan. This release will move to Node.js 6.x.

Due to the complexity of this upgrade, Shiny Server 1.5.0 will not add any new features, except for supporting perfect forward secrecy for SSL/TLS connections. The focus will be entirely on ensuring a smooth and stable release.

rstudio::conf 2017, the conference on all things R and RStudio, is only 90 days away. Now is the time to claim your spot or grab one of the few remaining seats at Training Days – including the new Tidyverse workshop.


Whether you’re already registered or still working on it, we’re delighted today to announce the full conference schedule, so that you can plan your days in Florida.

rstudio::conf 2017 takes place January 12-14 at the Gaylord Resorts in Kissimmee, Florida. There are over 30 talks and tutorials to choose from that are sure to accelerate your productivity in R and RStudio. In addition to the highlights below, topics include the latest news on R notebooks, sparklyr, profiling, the tidyverse, shiny, r markdown, html widgets, data access and the new enterprise-scale publishing capabilities of RStudio Connect.

Schedule Highlights

– Hadley Wickham, Chief Scientist, RStudio: Data Science in the Tidyverse
– Andrew Flowers, Economics Writer, FiveThirtyEight: Finding and Telling Stories with R
– J.J. Allaire, Software Engineer, CEO & Founder: RStudio Past, Present and Future

– Winston Chang, Software Engineer, RStudio: Building Dashboards with Shiny
– Charlotte Wickham, Oregon State University: Happy R Users Purrr
– Yihui Xie, Software Engineer, RStudio: Advanced R Markdown
– Jenny Bryan, University of British Columbia: Happy Git and GitHub for the UseR

Featured Speakers
– Max Kuhn, Senior Director Non-Clinical Statistics, Pfizer
– Dirk Eddelbuettel, Ketchum Trading: Extending R with C++: A Brief Introduction to Rcpp
– Hilary Parker, Stitch Fix: Opinionated Analysis Development“
Bryan Lewis, Paradigm4: “Fun with htmlwidgets”
Ryan Hafen, Hafen Consulting: “Interactive plotting with rbokeh and crosstalk”
Julia Silge, Datassist: “Text mining, the tidy way”
Bob Rudis, Rapid7: “Writing readable code with pipes”

Featured Talk
– Joseph Rickert, R Ambassador, RStudio: R’s Role in Data Science

Be sure to visit for the full schedule and latest updates and don’t forget to download the RStudio conference app to help you plan your days in detail.

Special Reminder: When you register, make sure you purchase your ticket for Friday evening at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The park is reserved exclusively for rstudio::conf attendees. It’s an extraordinary experience we’re sure you’ll enjoy!

We appreciate our sponsors and exhibitors!

If there’s one word that could describe the default styling of Shiny applications, it might be “minimalist.” Shiny’s UI components are built using the Bootstrap web framework, and unless the appearance is customized, the application will be mostly white and light gray.

Fortunately, it’s easy to add a bit of flavor to your Shiny application, with the shinythemes package. We’ve just released version 1.1.1 of shinythemes, which includes many new themes from, as well as a theme selector which you can use to test out different themes on a live Shiny application.

Here’s an example of the theme selector in use (try out the app here):


To install the latest version of shinythemes, run:


To use the theme selector, all you need to do is add this somewhere in your app’s UI code:


Once you’ve chosen which theme you want, all you need to do is use the theme argument of the bootstrapPage, fluidPage, navbarPage, or fixedPage functions. If you want to use “cerulean”, you would do this:

fluidPage(theme = shinytheme("cerulean"),

To learn more and see screenshots of the different themes, visit the shinythemes web page. Enjoy!

Today we’re excited to announce R Notebooks, which add a powerful notebook authoring engine to R Markdown. Notebook interfaces for data analysis have compelling advantages including the close association of code and output and the ability to intersperse narrative with computation. Notebooks are also an excellent tool for teaching and a convenient way to share analyses.


You can try out R Notebooks today in the RStudio Preview Release.

Interactive R Markdown

As an authoring format, R Markdown bears many similarities to traditional notebooks like Jupyter and Beaker. However, code in notebooks is typically executed interactively, one cell at a time, whereas code in R Markdown documents is typically executed in batch.

R Notebooks bring the interactive model of execution to your R Markdown documents, giving you the capability to work quickly and iteratively in a notebook interface without leaving behind the plain-text tools and production-quality output you’ve come to rely on from R Markdown.

R Markdown Notebooks Traditional Notebooks
Plain text representation
Same editor/tools used for R scripts
Works well with version control
Focus on production output
Output inline with code
Output cached across sessions
Share code and output in a single file
Emphasized execution model Interactive & Batch Interactive

This video provides a bit more background and a demonstration of notebooks in action:

Iterate Quickly

In a typical R Markdown document, you must re-knit the document to see your changes, which can take some time if it contains non-trivial computations. R Notebooks, however, let you run code and see the results in the document immediately. They can include just about any kind of content R produces, including console output, plots, data frames, and interactive HTML widgets.


You can see the progress of the code as it runs:


You can preview the results of individual inline expressions, too:


Even your LaTeX equations render in real-time as you type:


This focused mode of interaction doesn’t require you to keep the console, viewer, or output panes open. Everything you need is at your fingertips in the editor, reducing distractions and helping you concentrate on your analysis. When you’re done, you’ll have a formatted, reproducible record of what you’ve accomplished, with plenty of context, perfect for your own records or sharing with others.

Batteries Included

R Notebooks can run more than just R code. You can run chunks written in other languages, like Python, Bash, or C++ (Rcpp).


It’s even possible to run SQL directly:


This makes an R Notebook an excellent tool for orchestrating a reproducible, end-to-end data analysis workflow; you can easily ingest data using your tool of choice, and share data among languages by using packages like feather, or ordinary CSV files.

Reproducible Notebooks

While you can run chunks (and even individual lines of R code!) in any order you like, a fully reproducible document must be able to be re-executed start-to-finish in a clean environment. There’s a built-in command to do this, too, so it’s easy to test your notebooks for reproducibility.


Rich Output Formats

Since they’re built on R Markdown, R Notebooks work seamlessly with other R Markdown output types. You can use any existing R Markdown document as a notebook, or render (knit) a notebook to any R Markdown output type.


The same document can be used as a notebook when you’re quickly iterating on ideas and later rendered to a wholly different format for publication – no duplication of code, data, or output required.

Share and Publish

R Notebooks are easy to share with collaborators. Because they’re plain-text files, they work well with version control systems like Git. Your collaborators don’t even need RStudio to edit them, since notebooks can be rendered in the R console using the open source rmarkdown package.

Rendered notebooks can be previewed right inside RStudio:


While the notebook preview looks similar to a rendered R Markdown document, the notebook preview does not execute any of your R code chunks; it simply shows you a rendered copy of the markdown in your document along with the most recent chunk output. Because it’s very fast to generate this preview (again, no R code is executed), it’s generated every time you save the R Markdown document.

The generated HTML file has the special extension .nb.html. It is self-contained, free of dependencies, and can be viewed locally or published to any static web hosting service.


It also includes a bundled copy of the R Markdown source file, so it can be seamlessly opened in RStudio to resume work on the notebook with all output intact.

Try It Out

To try out R Notebooks, you’ll need to download the latest RStudio Preview Release.

You can find documentation on notebook features on the R Notebooks page on the R Markdown website, and we’ve also published a video tutorial in our R Notebooks Webinar.

We believe the R Notebook will become a powerful new addition to your toolkit. Give it a spin and let us know what you think!


haven 1.0.0 is a major release, and indicates that haven is now largely feature complete and has been tested on many real world datasets. There are four major changes in this version of haven:

  1. Improvements to the underlying ReadStat library
  2. Better handling of “special” missing values
  3. Improved date/time support
  4. Support for other file metadata.

There were also a whole bunch of other minor improvements and bug fixes: you can see the complete list in the release notes.


Haven builds on top of the ReadStat C library by Evan Miller. This version of haven includes many improvements thanks to Evan’s hard work on ReadStat:

  • Can read binary/Ross compressed SAS files.
  • Support for reading and writing Stata 14 data files.
  • New write_sas() allows you to write data frames out to sas7bdat files. This is still somewhat experimental.
  • read_por() now actually works.
  • Many other bug fixes and minor improvements.

Missing values

haven 1.0.0 includes comprehensive support for the “special” types of missing values found in SAS, SPSS, and Stata. All three tools provide a global “system missing value”, displayed as .. This is roughly equivalent to R’s NA, although neither Stata nor SAS propagate missingness in numeric comparisons (SAS treats the missing value as the smallest possible number and Stata treats it as the largest possible number).

Each tool also provides a mechanism for recording multiple types of missingness:

  • Stata has “extended” missing values, .A through .Z.
  • SAS has “special” missing values, .A through .Z plus ._.
  • SPSS has per-column “user” missing values. Each column can declare up to three distinct values or a range of values (plus one distinct value) that should be treated as missing.

Stata and SAS only support tagged missing values for numeric columns. SPSS supports up to three distinct values for character columns. Generally, operations involving a user-missing type return a system missing value.

Haven models these missing values in two different ways:

  • For SAS and Stata, haven provides tagged_na() which extend R’s regular NA to add a single character label.
  • For SPSS, haven provides labelled_spss() that also models user defined values and ranges.

Use zap_missing() if you just want to convert to R’s regular NAs.

You can get more details in the semantics vignette.


Support for date/times has substantially improved:

  • read_dta() now recognises “%d” and custom date types.
  • read_sav() now correctly recognises EDATE and JDATE formats as dates. Variables with format DATE, ADATE, EDATE, JDATE or SDATE are imported as Date variables instead of POSIXct.
  • write_dta() and write_sav() support writing date/times.
  • Support for hms() has been moved into the hms package. Time varibles now have class c("hms", "difftime") and a unitsattribute with value “secs”.

Other metadata

Haven is slowly adding support for other types of metadata:

  • Variable formats can be read and written. Similarly to to variable labels, formats are stored as an attribute on the vector. Use zap_formats() if you want to remove these attributes.
  • Added support for reading file “label” and “notes”. These are not currently printed, but are stored in the attributes if you need to access them.