- Series: Use R!
- Paperback: 213 pages
- Publisher: Springer; 1st ed. 2009. Corr. 3rd printing 2010 edition (February 22, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0387981403
- ISBN-13: 978-0387981406
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 51 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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ggplot2: Elegant Graphics for Data Analysis (Use R!) 1st ed. 2009. Corr. 3rd printing 2010 Edition
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From the Back Cover
This book describes ggplot2, a new data visualization package for R that uses the insights from Leland Wilkison's Grammar of Graphics to create a powerful and flexible system for creating data graphics. With ggplot2, it's easy to:
- produce handsome, publication-quality plots, with automatic legends created from the plot specification
- superpose multiple layers (points, lines, maps, tiles, box plots to name a few) from different data sources, with automatically adjusted common scales
- add customisable smoothers that use the powerful modelling capabilities of R, such as loess, linear models, generalised additive models and robust regression
- save any ggplot2 plot (or part thereof) for later modification or reuse
- create custom themes that capture in-house or journal style requirements, and that can easily be applied to multiple plots
- approach your graph from a visual perspective, thinking about how each component of the data is represented on the final plot
This book will be useful to everyone who has struggled with displaying their data in an informative and attractive way. You will need some basic knowledge of R (i.e. you should be able to get your data into R), but ggplot2 is a mini-language specifically tailored for producing graphics, and you'll learn everything you need in the book. After reading this book you'll be able to produce graphics customized precisely for your problems, and you'll find it easy to get graphics out of your head and on to the screen or page.
Hadley Wickham is an Assistant Professor of Statistics at Rice University, and is interested in developing computational and cognitive tools for making data preparation, visualization, and analysis easier. He has developed 15 R packages and in 2006 he won the John Chambers Award for Statistical Computing for his work on the ggplot and reshape R packages.
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However it must be said that this text is starting to cry out for a new edition. Many - perhaps 30% - of the code examples no longer produce the output seen on the page. Some require detective work to find missing packages a beginning user won't likely have installed. And quite a few simply do not function at all.
Frustratingly, the associated book website with example code has also not been updated. And if anyone has complied in one place functioning rewrites of the book's non-working examples, I haven't managed to find it. Readers must frequently either decide "I won't use that anyway" or turn to google for help.
Update: I have now also purchased Winston Chang's "R Graphics Cookbook," which Amazon is probably advertising to you somewhere on this page. It's a ggplot2 book, essentially, with a bit of stuff from other packages thrown in at the end. It is much more up-to-date than Wickham's book and better organized to serve as a reference, so it has become my go-to. There is a reason to buy both books - Chang doesn't cover the theory or grammar of graphics really at all - but if you are only going to buy one book, IMO you should buy Chang's.
Fortunately for users of ggplot2, but unfortunately for my review of this book, the ggplot2 package is still rapidly evolving. Much has already changed since the publication of this book, so there are many parts of the ggplot2 system that are not covered by this book. I do not think there are many places that the code in the book will not work anymore, but there are some significant recent additions that are completely unmentioned. Since most of the important information is available online, it is hard to recommend the book too strongly, as the cost is not insignificant. On the other hand, I am happy to have supported the further development of the ggplot2 package (and other R projects) by whatever portion of the proceeds made it back to Hadley Wickham.
And if you use ggplot2 then you need this book. Yes, much of the material is available online, including even the PDF. Yes, there are extensive help files. Yes, you will still have to google lots of things to find answers. Some of the plot options have changed since the book was published but they still work (with helpful messages about how to update them).
But: the book is so much faster to flip through than a web search, you can mark it up, it's nicely printed in color, you will discover things serendipitously while browsing it, and buying it will support the market for such high quality texts. I'm delighted to have my own copy and, just like joining the local public radio, am proud to pay my dues.
The content of the book itself starts with a basic tutorial on quick plots, and then progresses to the more systematic "grammar of graphics" types, concluding with lots of reference material to tricky things like symbols and plot options. It's great to flip through it until I find that "I want a plot like that" and see the code right there. My only complaint is that I wish it had more on the grammar part; sometime I will need to buy and read Wilkinson The Grammar of Graphics (Statistics and Computing), too (not a replacement for this book).
I purchased the Kindle edition. You'll need to view some of the examples and figures in color to fully understand them, so be prepared to either use a color Kindle Fire or view some select pages on your computer using the Kindle application. Occasionally, it isn't entirely obvious how to associate figures and examples to the main body text as the layout in the Kindle edition seems off. For example, some code and it's associated figure will be several "pages" away from the text describing the example code and figure. For this reason, it may be worthwhile for others new to R to purchase the paperback edition. But the portability of the Kindle edition makes this a nice reference to have accessible in several places at once.
Most recent customer reviews
Writing this to point out this book is outdated.Read more