Auto-deploying documentation: FASTER!

I love it when a plan comes together, but I love it when a computer does my work for me more so I’ve been pretty fond over the past few years of how easy it is to do documentation and reporting in R (with rmarkdown, LaTeX etc). This post covers another step forward on that journey towards awesomeness.

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Boris’ presentation agency – 356 labs

Boris Hristrov, Data Platform MVP, design whizz, and all-round great guy, recently launched 356labs. Boris wrote a great Presentation Design course for PluralSight, you can sign up for a trial of PluralSight and watch the course if you’d like to find out more.

Being an avid reader of design stuff I did find I knew some of the things on the course, but the context and application were very helpful. Off the back of his course, I went on to produce my most visually impressive presentation slide deck to date – Agile BI.

I took a look over his site and asked a few questions since I was really curious. Here are the responses!
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SQLSaturdays but for R?

UPDATE: Proposal now being developed after fantastic community support. Check it out on GitHub and contribute your opinions!

I had a contact from a very nice chap in Dallas a month ago about whether in the R world we do anything like SQLSaturdays.

The great thing about the SQLSaturdays he said was not that they’re free (well it helps!) but that they’re on his time. Developing his skills was something he couldn’t get signed off by his boss so he wanted to be able to do it by himself.

In answer to the question of whether there are local(ish) weekend conferences happening regularly for R, my answer was “not really” and it’s a shame because the R community is fantastic. I started thinking about why we don’t have them and what would be needed to change that.

Free / cheap regional small-medium conferences are a must for growing user knowledge and speakers in R.

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Some recent posts over on the Mango blog

Since August, I’ve had the pleasure to work at Mango Solutions, a data science consultancy, as a Principal Consultant.

In that time, I’ve been to EARL London, SQL Relay, and SQL in the City, so conference season has been in full swing with more to come in the form EARL Boston next week. Surprisingly, I’ve also found some time to help some customers out and write some blog posts over on the Mango site.

I thought I’d share them for the folks who might have missed out on them.

There’s more to come with one coming out early next week and you can subscribe via the RSS feed, or if you’d like to get even more R goodness, subscribe to R-bloggers. Over the next couple of months, I’m looking to get started on some new open source projects. One idea raised is to give @MangoTheCat its own LOLCODE to R interpreter so if you want to lend a hand in making such a thing, let me know!


Women doing technology

Yesterday, another Women in Technology conference got forwarded around and looking at the agenda, I snapped. I asked to not see any more goddamn WiT conferences.

I’m really fed up with women talking about being in tech. I don’t perceive any value in attending a conference dedicated to that. I want to see more women talking about doing tech.
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DataOps – it’s a thing (honest)

Today, I presented a lightning talk on DataOps at SQL in the City. It was a fantastic day and a great opportunity to catch up with how the database side of things is evolving to embrace DevOps.

My lightning talk was titled DataOps – it’s a thing (honest) and focused on what is essentially DevOps ported out of the developer sphere and into the data professional sphere.

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SQL Relay is here!

SQL Relay is back on tour! Our 6th event sees us yet again touring the country bringing awesome speakers to eight cities over 2 weeks.

As usual we’re improving things:

  1. A new platform called Attendee.Events which allows easier registration & speaker submission
  2. A whole bunch of webinars planned to get in the swing of things
  3. More breadth – this year each event includes a dedicated track to R, machine learning etc, on top of SQL Server and business intelligence
  4. More content – instead of swapping out existing slots for breadth, we added more tracks
  5. A green initiative … see it on the day
  6. Improved speaker experience – we’re building on last year’s fun bus with the help of SQL Sentry to make it easier and more fun for speakers to do multiple events, as well as offering first timers some mentoring as most of the organisers are also speakers

You’ll see a lot of announcements about Relay over the next few months, but I hope this little post inspires you to check out our events 😀

R training day mk2 – @SQLSatMcr

Back in April, for SQL Saturday Exeter I ran my first ever full day of training. Next month sees me taking my second tilt at it.

To sign up for my R training day, July 24th, in Manchester you can go to the pre-con homepage.

If I may say so myself, it’s a steal at £99 but then they all are! For instance, Andrew Fryer’s training day covers the Machine Learning use of R via Azure, so if you’re already wrangling numbers like a pro in R, understanding how you can apply it to snazzy webservices is a great way to go.
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Custom LaTeX Beamer style templates for rmarkdown

I’ve been producing presentations via R using rmarkdown and outputting to either ioslides or slidify. That was excellent, because I could provide a CSS that customised the look and feel (relatively) easily*.

However, when I wanted to produce a PDF version, I couldn’t make ones that look as good as the pure LaTeX versions I could make on So I started RTFMing when I wanted to replicate the look and feel from my presentation, The LaTeX Show.

I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of time on it, so this little story of hack and slash may feel a bit dirty to you!

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