From WordPress to GitHub Pages
Over the past two years, I’ve really enjoyed creating and maintaining this website with WordPress to share my R-related musings — from my e-book YaRrr! The Pirate’s guide to R, to my R packages like yarrr and FFTrees.
However, over the past few months, I’ve realised that my content creation and sharing process has been flawed. Until now, I’ve been writing my posts in WordPress. To share a new post, I’ve had to write the post, including all code and output, in R Markdown, and then find a way to transfer the content to the WordPress editor. This often meant having to save and upload separate plotting images, hack HTML (which I don’t really know) to make sure the code is nicely formatted, all while trying to navigate the at times overwhelming assault of menus and customisations on the WordPress admin page. In short — it has worked, but it has been a bit of a pain.
Last week, my colleague Dirk Wulff introduced me to a much better solution to website management: R Markdown combined with GitHub pages. This solution allows you to do all webpage management within RStudio, while providing a much cleaner user experience. Thanks to the great tutorials provided by RStudio at http://rmarkdown.rstudio.com/rmarkdown_websites.html and Florian Prive at https://privefl.github.io/blog/A-website-and-blog-for-R-users/, I was able to create my elegant new webpage http://ndphillips.github.io in an afternoon.
Discovering this new process of website management with GitHub pages has been like getting my first iPhone, discovering R, and getting my first stick of deodorant: I didn’t know I needed it until I got it. And when I did, I couldn’t imagine how I lived without it.
I love the open-source community
I an only begin to fully express how much I appreciate the open-source programming community. With free online tutorials, free hosting provided by GitHub, the open-source programming language R, the simple Markdown language, and the programming environment RStudio, I was able to create something that would have taken me months, if not years, to do on my own from scratch.
I am really looking forward to using this new platform to share my thoughts and pass what I’ve learned on to someone else. It’s going to be fun 🙂