R is free and open source, and is the pre-eminent tool for statisticians and data scientists. It has more than 6,000 user-contributed packages, which help users working in fields as diverse as chemistry, biology, physics, finance, psychology, and medical science. R's extremely powerful and flexible statistical graphics greatly help these users in their work.
In recent years, R has become more and more popular, and there are an increasing number of packages for R that make cleaning, analyzing, and presenting data on the web easy for everybody. The Shiny package in particular makes it incredibly easy to deliver interactive data summaries and queries to end users through any modern web browser. You're reading this book because you want to use these powerful and flexible tools for your own content.
This book will show you how, right from when you just start with R, you can build your own interfaces with Shiny and integrate them with your own websites. In this chapter, we're going to cover the following topics:
- Downloading and installing R
- Choosing a code-editing environment/IDE
- Looking at the power of R
- Learning about how RStudio and contributed packages can make writing code, managing projects, and working with data easier
- Installing Shiny and running the examples
- How to use some of Shiny's awesome applications, and some of the elements of the Shiny application that we will build over the course of this book
R is a big subject, and this is a whistle-stop tour, so if you get a little lost along the way, don't worry. This chapter is really all about showing you what's out there, and will both encourage you to delve deeper into the bits that interest you and show you places you can go for help if you want to learn more on a particular subject.