R Graph Essentials by David Alexander Lillis, Packt Publishing Book Review

R as a language has experienced an explosion in adoption in the last several years, and this is despite the proliferation of the spreadheet applications, most notably the Microsoft’s Excel. Besides, R Bloggers came up with a 14 bullet points list explaining why. While I do not agree with all the 14 points I admit that R has many unique capabilities, and one of them is its graphing (or charting, if you wish). R Graph Essentials is the book that aims straight at this strength making you very proficient in producing useful, awesomely looking and most importantly professional grade plots, charts or graphs.

I must say Having David Alexander (the author) on board with you means you are bound to success, I liked his style of writing a lot. David possesses all the necessary skills to cover such a wide topic efficiently, accurately and comprehensively. I admit I had little issues producing most of the plots from the book. On one occasion only I got stuck with qplot not working, but Packt and the awesome R community on G+ replied quickly putting me back on tracks to charting by explaining that I need to install ggplot2. A big thank you!

I advocate the book is best read with your R Studio humming alongside as you will have a ton of fun producing interesting graphs. And it is not important if you run a Linux or Windows.

It was very convenient to have the datasets used for examples saved for later use (I recommend R Studio as one of the reasons as saving the state between sessions in it is trivial). The topics I wish the author could cover is how to put the graphics on the web and make the data obtained from a database, but the book explains how to get your data from files.

In terms of closing, I have to say I benefited a lot from this book. As I work with data most of my time I was able to produce super nice histograms of table data (off flat files) which helped me get better insight into the selectivity of my data and this resulted in better and mew indexes yet some indexes even were removed in our SQL Server databases.

My next to do as pet project is to visualize data movements. I trust it will be a lot of fun and this is all thanks to this book.

Five out of five!

Posted on October 19, 2014, in Book Review, R and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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