Do I Love or Hate R’s knitr?

Depends. I’m sharing my love/hate experience with knitr. When it works, it’s divine. When it doesn’t, it’s diabolical. knitr is finally working well in my local PC’s RStudio, but I find that I’m running knitr every hour or so to make sure I have not introduced something into my .rmd file that breaks it. I had wrongly assumed that knitr basically takes a “screen capture” or the like of my .rmd file and outputs the page as html, PDF, etc. In fact, knitr executes EVERYTHING in my ever-growing project .rmd file and if, say, a variable is undefined or I have an R code chunk that has the same name, knitr will barf and halt execution resulting in nada, nil, zip, nothing, nichevo. That’s why I run knitr several times a day, and good thing that I do because it catches stuff. I don’t want to wait for my project to be complete only to find that I have to spend hours fixing syntax errors (whatever) that knitr so gleefully finds. Onward.



How to plot a variable in R that has spaces it it?

There are thousands of datasets on the web available for analysis using R. Many of them are listed by the plus or minus 175 countries, like “United States” or “Cote d’Ivoire”

So, ignoring for a moment that the experts say never name a variable with spaces, in the real world how do you plot a variable with spaces in its name?

Simple. When programming, encase the variable name with backticks. Like so: `United States`

Example: see below the line with, y=`Costa Rica`

ggplot(df, aes(Year, group=1)) +
ylab(“Country”) +
geom_line(aes(y = `Costa Rica`, color=”Costa Rica”)) +
geom_point(aes(y = Belgium, color=”Belgium”))