2 min read

My #runconf18 experience

Author: Ildi Czeller, @czeildi on Twitter and Github

Last week I was lucky enough to participate in this year’s Ropensci unconference.

In my work as a Data Scientist at Emarsys I rely on the R ecosystem a lot. I feel that to contribute back is not only fun and challenging but also my responsibility as I already benefit enormously from the FOSS tools and supportive community. I have had small contributions like filing a bug ticket or reviewing a package for rOpenSci and they were positive experiences. The unconf was a big exciting step for me.

The clearest take-aways are the new projects. I worked with Karthik Ram, Bob Rudis and Kara Woo on small modules within the broad topic of security:

  • middlechild: capture all network calls done by package on load/run for later inspection
  • defender: identify system calls for double-checking whether they do no harm
  • testevil to test these two, and
  • ropsec: provides a convenient way to sign all your git commits among other things.

After two days of intensive work we presented to each other. It was great to see that the projects covered a broad spectrum from sharing teaching materials better to parsing deeply nested json files. You can browse all the projects here.

For me an equally important part of the unconf was getting inspired by all the amazing people during breakfast, lunch and dinner chats. Specifically I got to discuss strategies to teach clean code principles for R users with Hadley Wickham which I am passionate about and learned about feature switches in base R from Luke Tierney. It is invaluable to learn about how people with so many different backgrounds and use-cases use R - in many ways different from me and in many other ways similarly.

I cannot recommend applying next year enough to you!