R Tools for Visual Studio 0.5

This post is authored by Shahrokh Mortazavi, Team Lead, Data Science Tools.

We’re delighted to announce the availability of RTVS 0.5. Key updates in this release include:

  • Integrated support for SQL and SQL Stored Procedures.
  • Multiple plot windows, plot history with plot thumbnails for navigation.
  • General improvements and bug fixes.

SQL Integration

SQL databases are a major source of data for data scientists. RTVS makes it easier to work with SQL data by integrating with the excellent support for SQL Server that is available to Visual Studio users. You can add and manage your database connections, write SQL queries, retrieve data into data frames and analyze within RTVS. Here’s a quick overview:

SQL Server R Stored Procedures 

SQL Server 2016 supports running embedded R code on the SQL machine. The R code that runs in a Stored Procedure can retrieve, analyze and create data that SQL can perform further operations on. This involves combining SQL and R into a single query which can be somewhat cumbersome. Here’s where RTVS comes to the rescue! The following video shows you how to add a Stored Procedure to your project, write and test your SQL and R, and publish the finished Procedure to your database:

Multiple Plots and Thumbnails for Navigation

Plots are central to the Data Science experience. Currently R IDEs only allow one active plot at a time and navigation is limited to Previous and Next buttons (i.e., sequential). This can become tedious if you have many plots to deal with. With RTVS 0.5 you can:

  • Create multiple simultaneous plots (especially great if you have multiple monitors!)
  • Create multiple plot devices and move/copy plots between them.
  • View thumbnails of your plots for quick navigation (random access to plots).

Here’s a quick video overview of the plotting improvements:

Installation and Download