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I spent the last week learning 3 new tools: R, Sweave, and LaTeX. One question that came to my mind when working through my first project: Where do I place the majority of the R code?

The tutorials that I read online placed the majority of the R code in the LaTeX .Rnw file. However, I find having a bunch of R calculations in the LaTeX file distracting. What I do find extremely helpful (of course) is to call out to R code in the LaTeX file and embed the result.

So the workflow I've been using is to place 99% of my R code in my .R file. I run that file first, save a bunch of calculations as objects, and output the .Rout file once finished (to save the work). Then when running Sweave, I load up that .Rout file, so that I have the majority of my calculations already completed and in the Sweave R session.

Then my LaTeX callouts to R are quite simple: Just give me the XTable stored in 'res.table', or give me the result of an already-computed calculation stored in the variable 'res'.

So I push towards the minimal amount of R code in the LaTex file possible, to achieve the desired result (embedding stats results in the LaTeX writeup).

Does anyone have any experience with this approach? I'm just worried I might run into trouble further down the line, when I start really trying to load up and leverage this workflow.

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1 Answer 1

I have the same obsession of keeping the code out, but I use knitr, which builds on Sweave. It might solve your issue if the issue is to avoid the .Rout file.

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How do you keep most of the R code out of the .Rnw file when using knitr? It seems that knitr builds on cacheSweave, and cacheSweave provides automatic memoization of R chunks in the .Rnw file, but as far as I can tell; with cacheSweave (and knitr?) those chunks 'still have to be in the .Rnw file'. –  Clayton Stanley Sep 25 '12 at 15:45
    
You won't find yourself pushing the code out if you are working in an entirely cached environment: knitr gives you the option to work with a minimal amount of files. I have a few TeX documents using Sweave where I coded like you are doing, but the newer ones use knitr and the change has also affected that aspect of the code. I find single files much, much safer, especially for TeX. –  Fr. Sep 30 '12 at 0:07

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