2 min read

omg, bookdown!

So I heard Yihui Xie talk about bookdown, and I read, with considerable excitement, his bookdown book. (There’s a blurb from me at Amazon saying nice things about it, after all). But I must admit that I read the book on my iPad, with my feet up. And so my understanding, while reasonably complete, was somewhat theoretical.

I mean, from my own book writing experience, I felt like, “Hell if I’m going to be writing another book.” And while I can see that it could be useful to reformat my various tutorials as bookdown books, I wasn’t in a hurry to do that.

But the R/minecraft team from the ROpenSci Unconference had such a great time last week, and we developed such cool stuff, that we thought it would be good, in addition to polishing our miner package, to compile our varied set of vignettes into a bookdown book.

And so today I did. (You can see the working draft at https://ROpenSciLabs.github.io/miner_book.) And boy it was easy.

  • Made a github repository
  • Created a index.Rmd file and a _bookdown.yml file.
  • Copied over all of our extra .Rmd files from miner/extra_vignettes
  • Replaced the YAML in those .Rmd files with “# [chapter title]
  • Copied over our screen shots
  • Added references in book.bib (and packages.bib)
  • Screwed around making a cover

Oh, plus README and LICENSE files.

Okay, so I admit there was one glitch. I opened the thing in RStudio and said

“Now I just click the Build Book button. Wait, where is that? I just see the cutest-button-ever knit button. And clicking that doesn’t work properly.”

More time than I care to admit passes, with me doing all kinds of crazy shit.

“Oh, he said the Build Book button on the Build tab. I see it now.”

And done.

(Note that I also used his suggestion to have output_dir: "docs" and then use GitHub Pages to host the book-in-progress, which was also easy.)