Tag Archives: wordpress

The present and future of the R blogosphere (~7 minute video from useR2011)

This is (roughly) the lightning talk I gave in useR2011. If you are a reader of R-bloggers.com then this talk is not likely to tell you anything new. However, if you have a friend, college or student who is a new useRs of R, this talk will offer him a decent introduction to what the R blogosphere is all about.

The talk is a call for people of the R community to participate more in reading, writing and interacting with blogs.

I was encouraged to record this talk per the request of Chel Hee Lee, so it may be used in the recent useR conference in Korea (2011)

The talk (briefly) goes through:

  1. The widespread influence of the R blogosphere
  2. What R bloggers write about
  3. How to encourage a blogger you enjoy reading to keep writing
  4. How to start your own R blog (just go to wordpress.com)
  5. Basic tips about writing a blog
  6. One advice about marketing your R blog (add it to R-bloggers.com)
  7. And two thoughts about the future of R blogging (more bloggers and readers, and more interactive online visualization)

My apologies for any of the glitches in my English. For more talks about R, you can visit the R user groups blog. I hope more speakers from useR 2011 will consider uploading their talks online.

WP-CodeBox: A better R syntax highlighter plugin for WordPress

Today I was informed of (what I believe is) a better the best WordPress plugin for R syntax highlighting called WP-CodeBox.  This plugin doesn’t require any hacks to make it work (as opposed to the WP-Syntax plugin, which I wrote about in the past).  WP-CodeBox can be downloaded and installed on a WordPress by searching for it in the “Add New” section in the plugins menu.

WP-CodeBox provides some nice features (some AJAX based) to the display of the code in the post:

  1. The code box in the post can now be folded (top right of the code box) so the code can be hidden so to not clutter the post (if the code is too long)
  2. The code box is added with another button  (top left of the code box) which allows the reader to see the code in a new window – so to easily enable a copy paste of the code.
  3. The options of the plugin allows automatic row numbering of the code, control over “tab” length and some other features.

p.s: Lastly, my thanks goes to guangchuang yu who’s comment on my original post, and he’s post on wp-codebox and R, has introduced me to this better plugin.

p.p.s: in case you blog on WordPress.com, there is also a solution for R syntax highlighting for WordPress.com bloggers.

R syntax highlighting for bloggers on WordPress.com

Good news for R bloggers who are using WordPress.com to host their blog.

This week, the good people running WordPress.com (special thanks goes to Yoav Farhi), have added the ability for all the users of the WordPress.com platform to be able to highlight their R code inside posts.

Basically you’ll need to wrap the code in your post like this:

[sourcecode language="r"]
test.function = function(r) {
    return(pi * r^2)
}
test.function(1)
[/sourcecode]

(Which will then look like this:
r syntax highlighted code example
)

Further details (and other supported languages) can be read about on this WordPress.com support page.

This new feature was possible thanks to the work of Yihui Xie (who create the famous cool animation package for R), who created a R syntax brush for the syntaxhighlighter WordPress plugin (the plugin used by WordPress.com for sytnax highlighting) . And thanks should also go to Andrew Redd, the creator of NppToR (which connects between notepad++ to R). He both made some good suggestions, and was game to take on the brush creation in case there would be problems, which thankfully so far there aren’t any)

p.s: If you are a WordPress.org users (e.g: have a self hosted WordPress blog) and want to enable R syntax highlighting for your blog, I would recommend the use of the WP-Syntax plugin (enhanced with GeSHi version 1.0.8.6) which can be downloaded here.

Blogging about R – presentation and audio

At the useR!2010 conference I had the honor of giving a (~15 minute) talk titled “Blogging about R”. The following is the abstract I submited, followed by the slides of the talk and the audio file of a recording I made of the talk (I am sad it got a bit of “hall echo”, but it’s still listenable…)

P.S: this post does not absolve me from writing up something (with many thanks and links to people) about the useR2010 conference, but I can see it taking a bit longer till I do that.

—————–

Abstract of the talk

This talk is a basic introduction to blogs: why to blog, how to blog, and the importance of the R blogosphere to the R community.

Because R is an open-source project, the R community members rely (mostly) on each other’s help for statistical guidance, generating useful code, and general moral support.

Current online tools available for us to help each other include the R mailing lists, the community R-wiki, and the R blogosphere. The emerging R blogosphere is the only source, besides the R journal, that provides our community with articles about R. While these articles are not peer reviewed, they do come in higher volume (and often are of very high quality).

According to the meta-blog R-bloggers.com, the (English) R blogosphere has produced, in January 2010, about 115 “articles” about R. There are (currently) a bit over 50 bloggers (now about 100) who write about R, with about 1000 (now ~2200) subscribers who read them daily (through e-mails or RSS). These numbers allow me to believe that there is a genuine interest in our community for more people – perhaps you? – to start (and continue) blogging about R.

In this talk I intend to share knowledge about blogging so that more people are able to participate (freely) in the R blogosphere – both as readers and as writers. The talk will have three main parts:

  • What is a blog
  • How to blog – using the (free) blogging service WordPress.com (with specific emphasis on R)
  • How to develop readership – integration with other social media/networks platforms, SEO, and other best practices

* * *
Tal Galili founded www.R-bloggers.com and blogs on www.R-statistics.com
* * *

Audio recording of the talk

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Highlight the R syntax on your (WordPress) blog using the wp-syntax plugin

Update (11.10.10): I found a better solution for R syntax highlighting then the one presented in this post. The plugin is called WP-CodeBox, and I wrote about it on the post – WP-CodeBox: A better R syntax highlighter plugin for WordPress
Download link for WP-Syntax plugin (with GeSHi version 1.0.8.6)

In case you have a self hosted WordPress blog, and you wish to show your R code in it, how would you do it?

The simplest solution would be to just paste the code as plain text, which will look like this:

x <- rnorm(100, mean = 2, sd = 3)
plot(x, xlab = “index”, main = “Example code”)

But if you would like to help our readers orient themselves inside your code by giving different colors to different commands in the code (a.k.a: syntax highlighting). So it would like something like this:

1
2
x <- rnorm(100, mean = 2, sd = 3) # Creating a vector
plot(x, xlab = "index", main = "Example code") # Plotting it

How then would you do it?

Plugin Installation

The easiest way to do this inside a self hosted WordPress blog is by installing a plugin called WP-Syntax:

WP-Syntax provides clean syntax highlighting using GeSHi — supporting a wide range of popular languages (including R). It supports highlighting with or without line numbers and maintains formatting while copying snippets of code from the browser.

But there is a problem. The current WP-Syntax version is using an old version of GeSHi, and only the newer version (currently GeSHi version 1.0.8.6) includes support for R syntax. In order to solve this I patched the plugin and I encourage you to download (the fixed version of) WP-Syntax from here, which will allow you to highlight your R code.

Usage

After installing (and activating) the plugin, in order to add R code to your post you will need to:
1) Only work in HTML mode (not the Visual mode). Or else, the code you will paste will be messed up.
2) Put your code between the <pre> tag, like this:

(Note: make sure that you rewrite the ” – so it will work.)

<pre lang=”rsplus” line=”1″>
…Your R code here…
</pre>

Final note: R Syntax highlight in other ways

If you wish to have R syntax higlight inside an HTML file, I encourage you can have a look at the highlight package, by Romain Francois.

If you want to higlight your R syntax inside wordpress.com, here is a blog post by Erik Iverson showing how to do that using Emacs.

p.s: If you have a blog in which you write about R, please let me know about it in the comments (Or just join R-bloggers.com) – I’d love to follow you :-)

Update: Stephen Turner wrote about a syntax highlighting solution for R and blogger using github gist. And also mentioned there another solution for self hosted wordpress blogs, via J.D. Long: a Github Gist plugin for WordPress. Go publish code :)

Statistics plugins for WordPress

Today I came across a post named “24 Noble WordPress Plugins To Determine The Performance of your Blog” through Weblog Tools Collection (one of my favorite places to stay updates on wordpress). The post provided a good solid list of statistics plugins for wordpress. Some of them are too old to count (pun intended), others are much more recent and relevant.

As a statistics (and WordPress) lover myself, I was inspired to extend the list of wordpress statistics plugins for the hope of benefiting the community:
Blog Metrics
This plugin is based on ideas in an excellent post by Avinash Kaushik (Whom I consider a Web analytics guru and a brilliant blogger!).

it calculates:

  • Raw Author Contribution:
    • average number of posts per month
    • average number of words per post
  • Conversation Rate:
    • average number of comments per postwithout your own comments
    • average number of words used in comments to posts

Both for all the time you’ve been blogging, and for the last month, it then adds these values in a page on your WordPress dashboard.

Blog Metrics for a single author blogBlog metrics per author

Search Meter

This plugin is a must for any blogger. Period.

If you have a Search box on your blog, Search Meter automatically records what people are searching for — and whether they are finding what they are looking for. Search Meter’s admin interface shows you what people have been searching for in the last couple of days, and in the last week or month. It also shows you which searches have been unsuccessful. If people search your blog and get no results, they’ll probably go elsewhere. With Search Meter, you’ll be able to find out what people are searching for, and give them what they want by creating new posts on those topics.  [...]

Google analytics Dashboard

Google Analytics Dashboard gives you the ability to view your Google Analytics data in your WordPress dashboard. You can also alow other users to see the same dashboard information when they are logged in or embed parts of the data into posts or as part of your theme.

The biggest advantage of this plugin in my view is that it adds sparklines in the “posts -> edit” page in the admin area.

Analytics360
I don’t use this one much. But one feature it has that I find interesting is that is adds information of when you posted something with the trend line of the google analytics traffic data. It also mixes data from MailChimp’s, which I don’t use.

MailChimp’s Analytics360 plugin allows you to pull Google Analytics and MailChimp data directly into your dashboard, so you can access robust analytics tools without leaving WordPress.

Broken Link Checker
This plugin is also a must.

This plugin will monitor your blog looking for broken links and let you know if any are found.

  • Monitors links in your posts, pages, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
  • Detects links that don’t work and missing images.
  • Notifies you on the Dashboard if any are found.
  • Also detects redirected links.
  • Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
  • Link checking intervals can be configured.
  • New/modified posts are checked ASAP.
  • You view broken links, redirects, and a complete list of links used on your site, in the Tools -> Broken Links tab.
  • Searching and filtering links by URL, anchor text and so on is also possible.
  • Each link can be edited or unlinked directly via the plugin’s page, without manually editing each post.

Piwik + WP-Piwik

This plugin adds a Piwik stats site to your WordPress dashboard. It’s also able to add the Piwik tracking code to your blog.
Piwik is an open source (GPL licensed) web analytics software program. It provides you with detailed real time reports on your website visitors: the search engines and keywords they used, the language they speak, your popular pages and so on…

You can install Piwik more or less like you install WordPress, and then you are left to integrate it into your blog. The only real down side of it for me (compared to google analytics) is the advanced segmentation and pivoting. But in general it is a free, great (and growing!) Web analytics solution.

Woopra Analytics Plugin
I have been using Woopra since their release thanks to lorelle. I enjoy the ability to follow the live actions that are happening inside the blog. Although since woopra went from BETA to GOLD, I lost most interest because the total blogs I track have more traffic volume then woopra allow tracking in their free account. But small bloggers could find the service gratifying.

Woopra is the world’s most comprehensive, information rich, easy to use, real-time Web tracking and analysis application.

Features include:

  • Live Tracking and Web Statistics
  • A rich user interface and client monitoring application
  • Real-time Analytics
  • Manage Multiple Blogs and Websites
  • Deep analytic and search capabilities
  • Click-to-chat
  • Visitor and member tagging
  • Real-time notifications
  • Easy Installation and Update Notification

Final notes

If you are into web analytics, I also encourage you to give the following a try: Nuconomy,ClickTale, Crazy Egg. And of course, Google analytics. Each of them (and also Woopra) strips you and your visitors a bit more from their privacy. But that is the ultimate price we pay for the strong Web analytics solutions that exists out there.
If you got any more statistics plugins I missed, feel encouraged to share them with me in the comments :)

Simple visualization of a 11X5 table (for WordPress 2.9 Features Vote Results)

Simply Something Sophisicated - a WordPress poster

I guess this is not the number one post I would like to start with on this blog, but I feel the time is right for it (community-wise).

I’ll move on to the subject matter in a moment, but first a short intro: This blog is written by Tal Galili. I am an aspiring statistician who also loves to use R for his work. At the same time I am also a WordPress blogger, writing mainly at www.TalGalili.com where I can use my native language (Hebrew) for self expression.

This combination of statistics and blogging will lead me to sometimes much less statistical, but more Web/Open-Source oriented posts like this one. So for the statisticians in the audience I extend my apologies and invite you to wait for future posts which will be more fully focused on Statistics and R.

And now for the topic at hand. . .

*         *         *         *         *
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