emacs Linux

Configuration for Developing R code with ESS

It has been close to 10 years since I use R seriously last time. Back then I used ESS in Emacs to do all the editing and interactive sessions. I really liked it back then and I would like to check it out how ESS has evolved through the years. A quick glimpse of the ESS manual suggests it has got a lot of improvements and the Bioconductor project has evolved as well. For example, even the package installation package has changed in Bioconductor.

Unfortunately, I have forgotten the tricks and configurations that I have used to set up my ESS and Emacs environment. Below are a few things that I had to go through.

$sudo apt install -y r-cran-devtools
$sudo apt install libcurl4-gnutls-dev

The above two packages are required for quite some other R packages. To make sure the user library path is loaded correctly, I had to set the following environmental variable:

export R_LIBS="~/.local/R/lib"

The above setting works for starting R in Terminal. To make the local R library (in my home directory with no root privileges required) work with the ESS R session, I had to create a ~/.Rprofile file with the following content:


Now my Emacs speaks ESS well. I can install packages to my local libraries by default and use Emacs to edit R code in one frame and run an interactive R session in another frame and use “C-c C-c” to execute a selected region in the R code frame.

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