Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

My Favourite Tool - RStudio

My favorite tool is RStudio. This integrated development environment (IDE) is really a force multiplier for data analysis and reporting.

RStudio provides an excellent interface to the R programming language (that much should be obvious). However, it is much more than that. This application affords me easy workflows and shortcuts to interact with most of the other tools that I regularly use. These include:

  • GitHub/git - for keeping all of my projects under version control and public-facing.
  • make - for automating project builds and updates.
  • bash shell - for when the GUI just isn’t cutting it.
  • pandoc - to create beautiful reports as .pdf, .html, .docx, or .epub files.

Like Jupyter notebooks, RStudio fully supports literary programming and its own implementation of the markdown language. With packages like blogdown or bookdown, RStudio can easily be used to support the construction of static websites as well.

Even better, I can also use RStudio to build presentation slides. I tend to use revealjs, but there are several other choices as well. When coupled with Shiny, I can create free, reproducible, and interactive presentations that are available to anyone with a web browser.

I rely upon many different tools to get my work done, and all of them can be used without the help of RStudio. But, when they work in concert with RStudio, my work gets done in a fraction of the time.

– Clifton Franklund, Professor of Microbiology, Big Rapids, MI, USA.


Have you got a favourite tool you would like to tell us about? Please use this form to add a bit of detail and we will do the rest. You can read the background to these posts here, or see what other tools people have written about.

Dialogue & Discussion

You can review our commenting policy here.