Nothing new or original here, just something that I learned about quite recently that may be useful for others.
One of my more “popular” code repositories, judging by Twitter, is – well, Twitter. It mostly contains Rmarkdown reports which summarise meetings and conferences by analysing usage of their associated Twitter hashtags.
The reports follow a common template where the major difference is simply the hashtag. So one way to create these reports is to use the previous one, edit to find/replace the old hashtag with the new one, and save a new file.
That works…but what if we could define the hashtag once, then reuse it programmatically anywhere in the document? Enter Rmarkdown parameters.
Here’s an example .Rmd file. It’s fairly straightforward: just include a
params: section in the YAML header at the top and include variables as key-value pairs:
title: "Twitter Coverage of `r params$hashtag`"
author: "Neil Saunders"
date: "`r Sys.time()`"
Then, wherever you want to include the value for the variable named
hashtag, simply use
params$hashtag, as in the
title shown here or in later code chunks.
tweets <- search_tweets(params$hashtag, params$max_n)
That's it! There may still be some customisation and editing specific to each report, but parameters go a long way to minimising that work.
Just a quick update to the previous post. At the helpful suggestion of Steve Royle, I’ve added a new section to the report which attempts to normalise retractions by journal. So for example, J. Biol. Chem. has (as of now) 94 retracted articles and in total 170 842 publications indexed in PubMed. That becomes (100 000 / 170 842) * 94 = 55.022 retractions per 100 000 articles.
Top 20 journals, retracted articles per 100 000 publications
This leads to some startling changes to the journals “top 20” list. If you’re wondering what’s going on in the world of anaesthesiology, look no further
(thanks again to Steve for the reminder).
Back in 2010, I wrote a web application called PMRetract to monitor retraction notices in the PubMed database. It was written primarily as a way for me to explore some technologies: the Ruby web framework Sinatra, MongoDB (hosted at MongoHQ, now Compose) and Heroku, where the app was hosted.
I automated the update process using Rake and the whole thing ran pretty smoothly, in a “set and forget” kind of way for four years or so. However, the first era of PMRetract is over. Heroku have shut down git pushes to their “Bamboo Stack” – which runs applications using Ruby version 1.8.7 – and will shut down the stack on June 16 2015. Currently, I don’t have the time either to update my code for a newer Ruby version or to figure out the (frankly, near-unintelligible) instructions for migration to the newer Cedar stack.
So I figured now was a good time to learn some new skills, deal with a few issues and relaunch PMRetract as something easier to maintain and more portable. Here it is. As all the code is “out there” for viewing, I’ll just add few notes here regarding this latest incarnation.
No revelations here, just a little R tip for generating more readable documents.
Original with lots of code at the top
There are times when I want to show code in a document, but I don’t want it to be the first thing that people see. What I want to see first is the output from that code. In this silly example, I want the reader to focus their attention on the result of myFunction()
, which is 49.