Earo Wang



Who are you, and what do you do?

Kia Ora! My name is Earo Wang (Twitter: @earowang, Github: earowang). I recently moved to Auckland from Melbourne, where I earned my PhD at Monash University, to take an assistant professor/lecturer position in data science at the University of Auckland (the birth place of R). I develop practical tools for data analysis and visualisation, with a focus on R.

How do you use R? What are your favourite packages?

R for everything?! I use R for data, data, and data. library(tidyverse) signals the start of my analysis. I usethis to initialise a new package, roxygen2 document, and pkgdown the website. When I’m not coding in *.R, I’m writing in *.Rmd for research papers with bookdown, presentation slides with xaringan, and blog posts with blogdown. I cling to R for miscellaneous tasks: templating with whisker, bulk emailing with gmailr, image processing with magick, etc.

From a developer’s point of view, vctrs is my new favourite. The vctrs marks an incredible move towards a robust and coherent ecosystem, for not only the tidyverse but R packages in general. Package developers could focus more on new class design itself and worry less about common operations (for example, subsetting and casting). As a tidyverse user, I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming dplyr v1.0.0 that uses vctrs internally.

What hardware do you run R on? Do you use any other software tools?

My current setup is 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro at home, and the latest 16-inch edition with an external Dell monitor in the office. I have switched to macOS from Ubuntu running on Dell XPS 13 since four years ago. I have a nanode server with linode, primarily used as my DNS server. Occasionally, I login to the server to perform package checks for linux through ssh, and use R via the Termius app on my iPhone. I plan to host my shiny apps on the server to make it more useful.

I spend most of my work hours with iTerm2 alongside zsh, where neovim is my workhorse for pretty much everything, including R programming. I use the Nvim-R plugin to talk to radian (a fully-featured R console). I switch to RStudio, when teaching and debugging. I also keep an eye on the development of vscode. The language server protocol for R project boosts loads of excitement for vscode with R.

Do you have any projects that you’re working on right now?

I’m working on new teaching materials for a data science course, featuring the tidyverse. Some data visualisation projects will be unfolded, since we have Simon Urbanek and Paul Murrell on board.