The Essential R Reference
by: Mark Gardener
An essential companion in your day-to-day conversations with R
R is a language with its own vocabulary and grammar. To make R work for you, you communicate with the computer using the language of R and tell it what to do. You accomplish this by typing commands directly into the program. This means that you need to know some of the words of the language and how to put them together to make a “sentence” that R understands. This book aims to help with this task by providing a “dictionary” of words that R understands.
The help system built into R is extensive, but it is arranged by command name; this makes it hard to use unless you know some command names to start with. That’s where this book comes in handy; the command names (the vocabulary of R) are arranged by topic, so you can look up the kind of task that you require and find the correct R command for your needs.
Each command listed in this book has an explanation of what the command does and how to use it—the “grammar,” if you will. Related commands are also listed, as in a thesaurus, so if the word you are looking at is not quite what you need, you are likely to see the correct one nearby. There are also examples of each command “in action” so you can gain a better understanding of how the command works.
I like to think of this book as a cross between a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a glossary, with a fair sprinkling of practical examples. Even though some may consider me an “R expert” at this point, I am still learning and still forgetting! I often have to refer to notes to remind me how to carry out a task in R. That is why I wrote this book—to help novice users learn more easily and to provide more experienced users with a reference work they can delve into time and time again. I also learned a great deal more about R by writing it, and I hope that you will find it an essential companion in your day-to-day conversations with R.
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