Ask just about any data scientist or science of business BI specialist about critical components of her job, and she’s almost certain to mention data integration (munging), statistical analysis and visualization at the top of her list. Once the data are in place, the attention often turns from integration to the powerful combination of statistical analysis and visualization for discovery/exploration.

I can’t imagine there’s a bigger advocate of the R platform for analytics and data programming than me. I love R’s core statistical graphics and add-on lattice and ggplot statistical packages as well, using them all the time in my work. But I’m less enthused about R’s interactive visualization capabilities. My take is that commercially-available software trumps its open source competition at this point. Frustratingly, though, exploratory data analysis nirvana for me is a robust visualization platform that interoperates with R.

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