- 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #623,809 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
This should not detract from the overall impression, but one caution: ggplot2 is so powerful and flexible because it relies on the so-called "grammar of graphics" approach, where you imagine what you want and add it in sequentially, much like a verbal description. As a result, some of the vocabulary and syntax are not immediately intuitive (though this is rapidly gained). If you want to get to work immediately with ggplot2, I would recommend also getting Chang's "R Graphics Cookbook" to tide you through the early stages. And googling questions is also very useful.
The only other is that I wish there was a new edition since the emphasis on "themes" was increased (and the "opts" approach was deprecated). One of the challenges of open-source software which is being continuously updated.
Still, the value of having my library contained in a single tablet outweighed those concerns. But Springer should be embarrassed by how poorly they did the Kindle version. There is no excuse.
Recently, I had to generate some graphs again, and took the plunge and bought this book to try to come up to speed on one of the better graphing libraries. I'm glad that I did. Wickham does a great job of laying out the underlying concepts behind the ggplot2 library. By understanding the concepts, you have a much better chance at being able to generate the specific plot that you want to generate, rather than a "cookbook" approach to documentation where you hope that one of the examples matches yours.
It helps that ggplot2 is specifically designed to make it easier to construct arbitrary plots. The model is a good one, and it's worth investing the time to learn how to use it. I bought the Kindle edition, and was a little fearful that a book on graphs wouldn't work well in that format. But, despite the monochrome, low-resolution format of a Kindle, the accompanying images of the plots still work well (except for the absence of color), and I feel comfortable recommending the Kindle version for those who like to read in that format.
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