What is R?
R is a programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis. Polls, surveys of data miners, and studies of scholarly literature databases show that R's popularity has increased substantially in recent years. Wikipedia
Pros and cons
R language is now the fastest growing statistical analysis language.
The major advantages of R:
- Offers a lot of libraries for different statistical computations. Actual list of packages
- A lot of educational materials (tutorials, MOOCs, blogs) available for free on the Internet.
- Has big community support.
- Ready to run in different platforms (Windows, Mac, Unix). Version for server installation is also available.
- Fast because of in-memory computations.
- R is not out-of-the-box solution with GUI for all analytical problems. You need to write a chunk of code to get the result. It sometimes can be barier for non-technical people. But I hope that once you read this book, it will not be a problem for you anymore :)
- The advantage of in-memory computations is sometimes a trap. In standard installation you can only process dataset which fits to the RAM memory on your machine. If you have really big data to process - think about other solutions like Hadoop (MapReduce) or Apache Spark. If you feel comfortable with R you can run your script on other platforms (reading from HDFS or using SparkR). It is more advanced topic for another book ;)