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Reflections on rstudio::conf 2020

RStudio: Conf 2020

This January, several team members from CANA Advisors attended the RStudio Conference, both in person in San Francisco and remotely! At CANA, the R language is a part of our daily analytics practice, from quick turn analyses to high impact applications build in R Shiny. The RStudio Conference provides a great opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the language and connect with others in the community.

Street trolly

Here are a few takeaways from CANA Senior Operations Research Analyst, Lucia Darrow, who attended the conference in San Francisco:

Virtual Attendance

As a fully remote team, CANA Advisors is accustomed to making the most of virtual meetings and seminars to share knowledge and build community. This conference was the first time several teammates attended talks online simultaneously, coordinating to make sure we covered all the topic areas of interest. The conference organizers allowed virtual attendees to ask questions in the main queue and participate with talks as if they were in the room. It was awesome to feel as if the other R users on our team were attending the conference with me, catching the talks I wasn’t able to attend! With more and more conferences offering virtual attendance as an option, this mode of concurrent virtual attendance is definitely something to consider.

Trends and Best Practices

Two trends that seemed to be of growing interest among intermediate and advanced users are custom R packages and taking R into production. With a slew of new tools and packages to make package creation easier, the use of internal or project specific packages has increased drastically. Formalization of shiny applications into production grade apps was a continuing theme this year. New packages like golem show promise in making this process more attainable for R programmers lacking traditional web experience.

At CANA, we are always looking for best practices to improve our R products and streamline the connection to other tools. I enjoyed several talks in the Programming track which elucidated topics like parallel computing and asynchronous processing with R. As R is a single-threaded language, these methods become increasingly important for processes with longer run time.

RStudio Conf attendees

R Community and RLadies

In keeping with their commitment to the open source community, RStudio announced their new status as a Public Benefit Corporation. Diversity and inclusivity were promoted throughout the conference, including a RLadies meetup event hosted by RLadies SF! This was a great opportunity to connect with other chapters and share tips and tricks for building local programming communities.

Interested in learning more? Many of these talks are available online. Check out to experience the conference. To view CANA’s take on the 2019 RStudio Conference, check out Lucia’s blog post from last year's event.


Lucia Darrow

Lucia is a Senior Operations Research Analyst at CANA Advisors. To find more content on our favorite professional events, continue to visit our CANA Connection.


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