The R Community is powered by open course contributions from a wide variety of individuals. Anyone can create and distribute R packages that benefit the R community and make it easier for R users all over the world to work with their code. Some R users, however, take it to the next level. In this post, we’ll highlight the five most active package maintainers as of November 30, 2016*.
1. Hadley Wickham
Dubbed by Priceconomics as the man who revolutionized R, Hadley Wickham is one of the most prolific R contributors and package maintainers today. He has contributed to 86 R packages available on CRAN and 13 available on GitHub. These R packages have earned over 825k direct downloads. If you are familiar with R, you’ve likely already heard about some of his most popular packages like ggplot2 for data visualization, dplyr for data manipulation, tidyr for data tidying and much more. Hadley’s actually made it really easy to access many of these tools with the tidyverse package, which is a set of packages that share common data representations and ‘API’ design. You can check out documentation for all of Hadley’s R packages here. You should also check out his Writing Functions in R course on DataCamp!
2. Yihui Xie
Yihui Xie is another prolific package author and maintainer. He’s contributed to 31 R packages available on CRAN and 10 available on GitHub earning him over 130k direct package downloads. He has developed and contributed R code for packages used in reproducible research and reporting including knitr – a general-purpose tool for dynamic report generation in R using Literate Programming techniques. Yihui Xie is also the maintainer of bookdown which can be used to author books and technical documents with R Markdown. On top of these, he is also a contributor for the rmarkdown, shiny, and htmlwidgets packages. You can see more of Yihui Xie’s contributions here.
3. Dirk Eddelbuettel
Dirk Eddelbuettel is ranked third on Rdocumentation’s list of most active package maintainers. He has contributed to 58 packages on CRAN and 1 on GitHub earning him over 173k direct downloads to date. One of his most popular packages is Rcpp, which provides R functions as well as C++ classes which offer a seamless integration of R and C++. Dirk is also a contributor for the RPostgreSQL package, which provides a database interface and PostgreSQL driver for R. You can learn more about Dirk’s contributions here.
4. Jeroen Ooms
Next on Rdocumentation’s list of most active package maintainers is Jeroen Ooms. Jeroen has contributed to 38 packages on CRAN and 3 packages on GitHub which have received over 150k direct downloads. He actively maintains a variety of familiar packages including jsonlite, a JSON parser and generator built for statistical data and the web. He also contributes to a variety of packages including xml2, which provides a simple interface for interacting with XML files. You can read more about the Jeroen’s R packages here.
5. Achim Zeileis
Coming in 5th in Rdocumentation’s list of active package maintainers is Achim Zeileis. Achim has earned over 119k direct downloads from the 42 packages he has contributed to on CRAN. He maintains a wide variety of packages including colorspace for mapping between assorted color spaces and zoo which is helpful for working with irregular time series data. You can learn more about Achim’s R contributions here.
* List of most active maintainers is based on a score provided by depsy.org as of 11/30/2016.
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