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March 22, 2018


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So this post reminds me of something I'd really like to get feedback on. Quite a bit of the serious statistical analysis in R relies on the packages in CRAN. What happens when those packages are no longer maintained? Is there anyone out there that has put together a contingency plan for such a situation in their business?

The biggest problem with orphaned packages is that they may be removed from CRAN if they start throwing errors in new versions of R. That's how packages become orphaned, actually: when maintainers stop responding to CRAN emails. It's not *always* a death sentence though; several of those orphaned packages have been in that state for years.

What you should plan on is supporting older versions of R in your systems, rather than committing to start maintaining old packages in new versions of R. That's best practice in a production system, anyway. Yesterday's post about Rocker provides some good tools to create containers with fixed versions of R and compatible packages, so you don't need to worry if they become orphaned later. Provided you trust the results today, of course.

A simpler regular expression is


@Kent I think that was my first iteration, but the data also has email addresses delimited by < > that I needed to strip. Also some of the names had suffixes like ", companyname" or "(title)" that I needed to strip as well. It all seemed so simple at first...

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