The R Consortium Funds Three Projects in July

By August 22, 2016Blog

by Joseph Rickert and Hadley Wickham

The Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) has approved funding for three of the thirteen proposed projects received during the most recent round of contributed proposals which closed on July 10th. The total amount awarded was just over $29,000. A brief description of each of these projects follows.

The R Documentation Task Force: The Next Generation R Documentation System

Andrew Redd received $10,000 to lead a new ISC working group, The R Documentation Task Force, which has a mission to design and build the next generation R documentation system. The task force will identify issues with documentation that currently exist, abstract the current Rd system into an R compatible structure, and extend this structure to include new considerations that were not concerns when the Rd system was first implemented. The goal of the project is to create a system that allows for documentation to exist as objects that can be manipulated inside R. This will make the process of creating R documentation much more flexible enabling new capabilities such as porting documentation from other languages or creating inline comments. The new capabilities will add rigor to the documentation process and enable the the system to operate more efficiently than any current methods allow. For more detail have a look at the R Documentation Task Force proposal (Full Text).

The task force team hopes to complete the new documentation system in time for the International R Users Conference, UseR! 2017, which begins July 4th 2017. If you are interested in participating in this task force, please contact Andrew Redd directly via email (andrew.redd@hsc.utah.edu). Outline your interest in the project, you experience with documentation any special skills you may have. The task force team is particularly interested in experience with documentation systems for languages other than R and C/C++.

Interactive data manipulation in mapview

The ISC awarded $9,100 to Tim Appelhans, Florian Detsch and Christoph Reudenbach the authors of the Interactive data manipulation in mapview project (Proposal) which aims to extend the capabilities of R for visualizing geospatial data by implementing a two-way data exchange mechanism between R and JavaScript. The central idea is to extend the capabilities of existing tools to enhance the user experience of interactively working with geospatial data by implementing mechanisms for two way data transfer. For example, although htmlwidgets has proven itself to be a powerful framework for enabling interactive, JavaScript based data visualizations, data flow from R to Javascript runs on a one-way street.  There is currently no way to pass manipulated data back into the user’s R environment. This project aims to first develop a general framework to provide a bridge between htmlwidgets and R to enable a workflow of R -> htmlwidgets -> R and then to use this framework to implement standard interactive spatial data manipulation tools for packages mapview and leaflet. The plan section of the project proposal provides considerable detail on the steps required to achieve the project’s goals.

If you would like to help and have strong R and JavaScript skills contact the authors directly via the email address provided in the links above.

R-Ladies Alignment and Global Expansion

The ISC awarded $10,000 to a team that includes members from both the London and San Francisco R-Ladies user groups (Gabriela de Queiroz, Chiin­Rui Tan, Alice Daish, Hannah Frick, Rachel Kirkham, Erin Ledell, Heather Turner, and Claudia Vitolo) to establish additional R-Ladies groups worldwide. The proposal (Full text) authors note that women are underrepresented in every role of the global R community; as leaders, package developers, conference speakers, conference participants, educators, and R users. They propose to address this issue through a series of practical actions that build on the success of the San Francisco and London R-Ladies groups in encouraging female participation. The team envisions the project unfolding in two phases. In the first phase, the team will identify the common elements contributing to the success of both existing R-Ladies groups, establish the “R-Ladies” brand and build a new centralized community infrastructure. The second phase will be devoted to managing the global expansion of the “R-Ladies” initiative through selective seeding of new groups around the world.

This is an ambitious project that will require a variety of technical skills (website design and development, Bookdown content development and graphic design, for example)  as well as expertise in marketing, public relations, social media communications and event organization. The R-Ladies are looking for help. If you are interested contributing your expertise or maybe starting a “R-Ladies” group in your area write to info@rladies.org.

Impact

Each of these projects has the potential to profoundly affect the R Community. R-Ladies will enlarge the community and strengthen the social fabric that binds it together. If successful, the R Documentation Task force will improve the environment for R package development and enrich the experience of every R user. The interactive data manipulation project has the potential to increase the synergy between R and JavaScript and set the direction for the development for interactive visualizations.