Introduction to R for C# Programmers

I wrote an article titled “Introduction to R for C# Programmers” in the July 2015 issue of MSDN Magazine. See

It’s not quite entirely accurate to say that R is a programming language. R is really a scripting language plus an environment used for statistics and data analysis. In part because of the increasing amount of data generated by software systems, the use of R has increased greatly over the past 18 months or so. R is an open source, GNU project.

Additionally, Microsoft recently acquired the Revolution R company, which made an R environment based on the Visual Studio shell, so R is now part of the Microsoft technology stack.


There are many resources available on the Internet that provide an introduction to R. But the majority of those resources seem to assume that the target reader is a university student studying statistics. My goal was to get software developers up to speed with R.

In the MSDN article I show how to use R to perform three common types of data analyses: linear regression (the Hello World of data analysis in my opinion), the chi-square test for uniform distribution, and the chi-square test for independence of factors. My examples show that R is quite a bit different than C# which is a general purpose language.

In my article I point out that even programmers who don’t intend to use R directly can benefit by knowing a little bit about R so that they can effectively communicate with R language specialists if necessary.

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