For a while now, I’ve been thinking about starting a “data science-y” blog. In the aftermath of rstudio::conf this year, I finally decided it was time to act on those thoughts, and put something out there. And Yihui Xie’s blogdown book seemed like a great place to start.
Been meaning to start your own data science blog and work in #rstats? @xieyihui gives some great reasons for why blogging is valuable and the advantages of using blogdown to do so #rstudioconf pic.twitter.com/XUDJi9YZLV— Emily Robinson (@robinson_es) February 2, 2018
Since most of my content would likely revolve around statistics and R, writing posts directly in R Markdown was basically a requirement for my blogging framework. I also wanted to have a modern looking site without too much hassle, but while still being able to customize some things here and there, if (and when) I felt like it.
Turns out, using blogdown with RStudio to interface with Hugo (a powerful static site generator with a strong templating system) can provide just that. Combined with deploying the site on Netlify via a GitHub repo, the whole pipeline provides an excellent structure for me to keep working on key data science skills that come up less often in my daily life as a biostatistician: R Markdown, and version control; while having a central location to organize my thoughts in.
Getting started was… fairly straightforward, yet not quite as simple as I had perhaps hoped.1 It took me the better part of a Sunday, even with having familiarized myself with the topic a bit beforehand; and I ended up having to realize that, even if it’s not perfect, it would be better to get started with something rather than getting everything just the way I wanted it, and taking forever at it. Perhaps I’ll cover the process in more detail in future posts.
Right now though, I’m excited to get started with some R topics. After hearing that Hadley Wickham is working on a second edition of his Advanced R book, I’ve been going over the material again – and having a great time with it. So expect posts coming up in the near future, where I work through some of the problems included in the book!2