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Getting Started with RStudio by John Verzani

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Chapter 5. Programming R with RStudio

Programming R involves the writing, editing, debugging, and documenting of functions; working with function files; and packaging functions for wider distribution. In this chapter we look at some components of RStudio that simplify these and other tasks.

Source Code Editor

Recall that RStudio leverages numerous web technologies. A major one is the Ace code editor (ace.ajax.org) for editing functions and files. Ace is written in JavaScript, which allows all necessary computations to be done in the client, thereby avoiding numerous calls to the server. This is important, as an editor for an IDE must do many things well and quickly, such as:

  • File-type specific syntax highlighting

  • Automatic code indentation

  • Parenthesis matching

  • Working with many documents simultaneously

  • Working with large documents

  • Working with different languages

While not as feature-rich as some editors—say, the Emacs editor that powers ESS—the Ace editor in the RStudio framework is still quite able and easy to work with. The component uses tabs to organize the files and provides toolbars and other means to issue common commands quickly.

Basics

The action to open a new file in the Source code editor is presented in many different ways: under the File > New menu item, the leftmost toolbar button in the application-wide toolbar pops up the choices, and the keyboard shortcut opens an R file. The code editor can open text files of various types. The menu items include an R Script, a Text File ...

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