In the words of the R Project Contributors, “R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics”. This is a very neat one-line summary but only tells half the story. Since the birth of R in 1997 as an alternative implementation of the S language (originally developed at Bell Laboratories in the 1970s), R has grown to become one of the most widely used statistical programming languages in the World today. This growth has been centred around an open and active community who continue to contribute add on ‘packages’ of code, which put the latest algorithms straight into the hands of the user.
Many factors have contributed to R’s rapid growth. First, it is free, available under Free Software Foundation’s GNU General Public License. This has helped embed the language at academic institutions around the world and ensures that R is really a ‘take-home’ language. The wide uptake in academia means that today, researchers are using R to implement their latest ideas and algorithms. Another of R’s advantages over its competitors is its reporting capabilities. The ease at which high-quality graphics can be created and written to a multitude of devices has seen R set the standard for graphical reporting. Tools such as ‘Sweave’ and ‘knitr’ add to the reporting, negating the copy and paste activities and providing one-click reporting. Today R is thriving due to the relative ease at which it links with various data sources and other programming languages. Many business intelligence systems and statistical reporting platforms now offer R connectivity is part of their extended offering. This enables users of such systems to go beyond a the pre-defined set of algorithms and power up their statistical capabilities.
Mango have been providing consulting and support services around the R language since the company was founded in 2002. We love R but recognise that rapid organic growth is not without its drawbacks. As R has grown, its user-base has evolved. Today’s R user is as likely to have a background in Biology as Computer Science or Statistics and the demands of the community are now very different. Mango have a detailed understanding of the R language and offer training, code creation, integration, validation and support services. Mango have been providing R services to commercial companies for many years, backed by a full set of quality procedures.
Mango are proud to say that we are an active member of the R community, maintaining a number of R packages and running a number of regular R user group meetings globally.