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What Is RStudio Cloud And Why Is It Gaining Popularity

What Is RStudio Cloud And Why Is It Gaining Popularity

Ambika Choudhury

RStudio Cloud is a hosted version of the integrated development environment (IDE) for R, RStudio in the cloud. RStudio Cloud is created with an aim to make it easy for professionals, hobbyists, trainers, teachers and students to practice, share, teach and learn data science. In the basic term, RStudio Cloud is a managed cloud instance of the RStudio IDE.

RStudio is an open-source IDE, which includes a console, syntax-highlighting editor that supports direct code execution, as well as tools for plotting, history, debugging and workspace management. The features of RStudio includes code completion, smart indentation, integrated R help, managing multiple working directories using projects, extensive package development tools and more.  

As per reports, public clouds have witnessed rapid growth as companies scramble to virtualise as much of their operations as possible, including data storage and analytics workloads. Reports also suggest that the usage of cloud technologies has increased due to the ongoing pandemic, and will remain so in the future.



According to the developers, RStudio Cloud is fundamentally different from the other professional products such as RStudio Desktop and RStudio Server. The reason is that RStudio Cloud is not just a software, but also enables computing. There are several features of this cloud which will not only help you to build projects but also help you learn the R programming language as well as techniques of data science including data visualisation, analysis, among others.

Features 

The features of RStudio Cloud are mentioned below:

  • Instant Analysis: With RStudio Cloud, you can create your analysis directly from your browser without the need of installing any software or any configuration.
  • Sharing Projects: You can easily share your projects as well as access the projects of others without any data transfer or package installation. In RStudio Cloud, each project defines its environment and automatically reproduces that environment whenever anyone accesses the project.
  • Private Collaboration: Using RStudio Cloud, it is both easy to share the analyses in public and to collaborate with a select group in a private space. The private space will allow you to control who can create and interact with the projects.
  • Learn R Language: RStudio Cloud provides several learning materials and interactive tutorials that cover the fundamentals of data science, basics of using RStudio Cloud and more. 

I signed up into the free version of the RStudio Cloud to gain more insights into the platform. Here is what I found out.

1| Signing Up Opens The Dashboard

Signing up will take you to your workspace where you can create your projects. You can work on your workspace and can allow your projects to be viewed (and copied) by other RStudio Cloud users.

Projects are the fundamental unit of work on RStudio Cloud. It encapsulates your R code, packages and data files and provides isolation from other analyses. It is almost similar to the projects in the desktop RStudio IDE along with some additional metadata for access and sharing. 

In order to create a new project, click on the New Project button from the Projects area. The new project will open in the RStudio IDE. Also, to create a new project from an existing Git repository, press the down arrow on the right side of the New Project button, and choose ‘New Project from Git Repo’ from the menu that appears.  

2| New Space

Below Your Workspace, you can see the New Space bar. The New Space will help you create a shared space area where a group of people can collaborate. However, only the members of a shared space can access the space and its contents.

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3| Primers 

Clicking on the Primers will open some of the interactive tutorials, which will help you to learn the basics of data science. The tutorials include visualising data, working with data, building interactive web apps and much more. 

4| Cheatsheets

RStudio Cloud provides several cheat sheets which will help you to learn and use R packages and the RStudio IDE in an effortless manner. Some of the cheat sheets are-

  • Python with R and reticulate
  • Factors with forcats
  • Tidy evaluation with rlang

Advantages of RStudio Cloud

The advantages of Rstudio Cloud are as follows-

  • RStudio Cloud makes it easy for anyone to practice, share, teach and learn data science.
  • It analyses the data using RStudio directly from the browser.
  • You can easily share projects with your team, class or workshop.
  • It includes interactive tutorials to learn the basics of data science.
  • You can share your analysis with everyone or a select group.

Is It Free?

The beta version of RStudio Cloud was announced on 13th January this year. According to the blog, RStudio Cloud will always offer a free plan for individuals. However, from 3rd August, the beta period will come to an end, and RStudio Cloud will be generally available for use and purchase. There will be paid premium plans for individuals, professionals, instructors, researchers, students and organisations.  

Click here to know more.

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