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R Graphics (Chapman & Hall/CRC The R Series) 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1584884866
ISBN-10: 158488486X
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Editorial Reviews


With R having become the lingua franca of statistics, 'R Graphics' is a must for many useRs and programmmeRs: Flexible programmable graphics having been a major strength of S from its beginning; this is even more true for R which has both improved the traditional graphics from S and introduced the new much more flexible 'grid' graphics system. Paul Murrell, a member of the R Core Development Team, has not only been the main author of 'grid' but has also been responsible for several recent enhancements to the underlying R graphics engine. Together with its online companion web site, this book will be an indispensable resource for almost everyone interested in how to produce R graphics efficiently and intelligently.
-Dr. Martin Maechler, Seminar for Statistics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland

This book starts where the graphics sections of other books on using S for data analysis typically end: high-level plots and their default settings. If everything you want to do to visualize your data can be done using the standard settings, then this book is not for you. But if you ever wanted to go beyond that line, from changing bits and pieces of a graph to writing your own visualization functions, then ``R Graphics'' has all you need to know (and much more). Starting with the basic plotting commands most users are familiar with from introductory texts, the book gives a comprehensive overview of the current state and design principles of visualizing data with R.
Paul Murrell is one of the main authors of R's graphical facilities, and inventor of completely new features like the grid system or expressions for annotation of plots with mathematical formulae. His book is written in the spirit of S itself: It takes the reader on a journey, where beginners gradually are turned into programmers while learningthe language, having ample material for both novices and experts. It will certainly claim its place on the bookshelf of reference guides next to my desktop.
-Friedrich Leisch, Institute for Statistics, Technical University of Vienna, Austria

R Graphics is exactly the sort of documentation that R needs. It is written clearly, with many examples, and will be useful for any level of R expertise from novice upwards. It contains more than a hundred figures containing model code and its output. There are extensive cross-references that make finding detailed information easy. My copy of the book is from the first printing, but it is exceptionally free of typographical and other errors.
I've been using traditional S graphics in S-PLUS and R for 17 years, so I am very familiar with the system. However, there are some details that I've never memorized, so I've often needed to consult the manual page for the par() function. R Graphics will now be the first place to look for those sorts of details, specifically Chapter 3, which contains a series of diagrams and tables illustrating the choices. Being such an old-time user, I was not so familiar with some of the newer functions, such as layout() and xyz.coords(), and I have already modified some of my own code to make use of them.
I was also very impressed with the book's descriptions of the grid and lattice packages. I have not studied the grid system before, though I have heard Murrell speak about it at conferences. The description in this book is perfect. It takes the reader from the basics through to development of new types of graphics. After reading it, I feel that I understand the philosophy behind the design of grid, and am eager to make use of it in my own work. I especially appreciated the design advice in Chapter 7; I will be making use of it, and referring my students to it.
I think every R user who uses graphics (which is essentially every R user) should have a copy of this book. The grid graphics package was a wonderful development, and this book is another one. Murrell is to be congratulated.
-Duncan Murdoch, University of Western Ontario, Canada

Thanks to Paul Murrell's new book, the secrets of both traditional graphics and the new, modern grid system get unveiled, preventing useRs from writing 'ugly'
code. … [His] book is the first publication entirely
devoted to R graphics, written by the authoritative
expert in the field. It is definitely a must-have for
novices and professionals alike, the ultimate guide to
the power (and beauty) of R graphics.
-David Meyer, Vienna
University of Economics and Business Administration, in R News 6(2), 2006

Product Details

  • Series: Chapman & Hall/CRC The R Series (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Chapman and Hall/CRC; 1 edition (July 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158488486X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584884866
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #963,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having read material by Dr. Murrell in R news and other places, I was expecting a great book. I was not disappointed. This is the clearest and most complete explanation of graphics in R that I have seen.

It's in 2 parts (or maybe 2 1/2). The first deals with the 'traditional' graphics system, the second with the Grid graphics system. Also included is an discussion of the Lattice package (that's the 1/2), and various other packages.

My only caveat is that you will probably want to be at least a little familiar with R before using this book. There's a brief introduction to R in an appendix, but it isn't, and doesn't pretend to be, comprehensive. However, there are extensive references to material that can help the novice learn more about R.

In my opinion, R is the best program for statistical graphics, and this is the best book on how to get the most out of it.
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The book provides a good introduction to the R graphics system and gives a very good presentation of the kinds of graphs you can generate using R. This book is definitely not a how-to or cookbook for R graphics though. The book assumes the reader is already familiar with R and the graphics related commands, so there's not much explanation of the short code snippets that go along with the figures. If you're new to R, this book won't show you how to create graphs. It will show you the graphing capabilities of R though and possibly get you interested enough to keep using R.

If you do know R, what this book *will* show you is how to do more complex things with R graphics. Half the book covers the traditional graphics model, while the other half covers the Grid and Trellis graphics models. This will be the interesting part of the book because Grid and Trellis look like they let users create really neat graphs and data representations with R.

I would have liked to see some more complete examples in the book, but at least there's an accompanying website that contains all the code used to generate the graphs and errata for the book. This would be a good addition to an R user's bookshelf.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am new to R and needed to create a particular style of heat map for a project. I spent 3 weeks studying this book's table of contents, sample chapter, examples on the author's website, etc. until the day came when I needed prepare my presentation. So I went ahead and bought the book. It was not what I needed and, in fact, I have not found it useful in the 2 months that I have owned it. Before the book even arrived I discovered the R Graph Gallery ([...]), which has a heat map that met my needs. My advice to those who are beginning to learn R is to be patient and use the many free, high-quality resources available on the internet for perhaps up to a year before starting to buy books.
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Format: Hardcover
Unleashing the power of R, particularly its graphing capabilities can be a daunting task. This is a well written book that covers all aspects of R graphics and gives plently of examples (with code). After using R for nearly 3 years now, I learned quite a bit of new information. Plus, the last 2 chapters of the book are very advanced and will likely require another 3 years before I can actually fully use them. Regardless, this a great book for people new and old to R.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
R is a free software system that runs under Windows, Linux, and the Mac OS. R comprises a programming language, considerable support for statistical computing, and a set of powerful graphics functions. Murrell's book is about graphics.

Graphics in R is done using various packages. One is "graphics", and its description occupies the first half of Murrell's book. But these days "graphics" is looking a little long in the tooth, and contains a number of infelicities that can't be changed because of all the old legacy code out there. Murrell himself wrote "grid" to fix this problem; "grid" is more general and better organized, but its functions are a toolkit for creating graphics; he's only built the tools, not assembled all the elements into simple and easy-to-use high-level plotting functions that "graphics" has. "Grid" occupies the second half of this book. Sandwiched in the middle is a chapter about "Lattice" (by Deepayan Sarkar); Murrell's chapter provides a brief overview, in part because lattice is built on grid, but lattice is better described by the online documentation, Sarkar's own book, and the books by William Cleveland, which introduced the whole idea of conditioned plotting of multivariate data. There's also an helpful (but brief) appendix describing how to get "graphics" and "grid" to work together, and an introduction to programming in R, which is too brief to be of much use of novices, and not detailed enough to help more advanced users.

What's good: Although R comes with on-line documentation, the style of documentation for R is to describe the inputs and outputs of individual functions, but not provide much in the way of a conceptual overview. Murrell provides such an overview.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the most part, I've stopped using traditional R graphics. I use lattice for most of my work, and I'm not writing new graphics functions.

By page count, this book devotes ~40% to traditional R graphics, 10% to lattice, and 40% to grid, in that order. The traditional graphics coverage is good, with interesting material on margins and other layout arcana. The grid coverage is quite technical, targeted largely at developers and power-users. The 10% lattice isn't especially illuminating. The grid material does inform the mechanisms behind lattice, and show how to mix grid and lattice. The traditional graphics material, does not apply to either grid or lattice.

If you're like me, this book isn't a good "first book". It covers the basics (which i'm comfortable with) and the complex (which i don't usually need), without a lot of middle ground, especially with respect to lattice. A good alternative might be "Lattice: Multivariate Data Visualization with R by Deepayan Sarkar" or ggplot2: Elegant Graphics for Data Analysis (Use R) by Hadley Wickham.

This book is well-written, and the grid coverage is thorough, but it could use a more descriptive title.
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