R 3.5.2 Released

Kevin Feasel

2018-12-21

R, Versions

David Smith announces the release of R 3.5.2:

R 3.5.2, the latest version of the R language for statistical computation and graphics from the R Foundation, was released today. (This release is codenamed “Eggshell Igloo”, likely in reference to this or this Peanuts cartoon.)

Click through for more detail. I’m probably just going to wait for R 4.0, myself.

Higher-Order Functions In R

Kevin Feasel

2018-12-21

R

Holger von Jouanne-Diedrich explains the concept of higher-order functions using R as an example:

The part that causes the biggest difficulties (especially for beginners of R) is that you state the name of the function at the beginning and use the assignment operator – as if functions were like any other data type, like vectors, matrices or data frames…

Congratulations! You just encountered one of the big ideas of functional programming: functions are indeed like any other data type, they are not special – or in programming lingo, functions are first-class members.

This is one of the core tenets of functional programming: functions are things you can pass around to other functions; they aren’t special, inviolate pieces of code but are just another thing. Click through for a couple good examples of what you get in a language which supports higher-order functions.

Thoughts On The Year’s Big Data Platform News

Kevin Chant shares some thoughts on some of the biggest news stories of 2018 for data platform professionals:

Hortonworks and Cloudera announcement about their merger is certainly an interesting for the Big Data landscape. These two are thought to be the leaders in the Hadoop industry.
Undeniably, a lot of people have seen what these two Big Data giants have delivered over the years within the Hadoop ecosystem.
With this merger they are aiming to use their combined expertise to deliver an enterprise data cloud. We’ve already seen what Hadoop based cloud offerings like HDInsight are capable of, so the potential here is huge.
Certainly, there’s potential for this to have massive implications in the Big Data industry. And this merger could also encourage even more Data Platform offerings to emerge.

Read on for Kevin’s thoughts on five major stories this year.

Getting The Latest File With Power Query

Matt Allington shows us one technique to get the latest version of a file using Power Query:

This pattern is common if your new file contains a superset of all the data.  It could be a transactional file that grows in length each time or it could be a dimension/lookup table (such as Customers) that can change slowly over time, and you always want to see the latest version.  My advice to all my Power Query students is “zero touch the file”.  In other words, your objective should always be to have the absolute minimum amount of interaction with the source files possible and push all the work into Power Query.  This will minimise the amount of work/rework you have to do in the future.  Thinking about the use case here “load the latest version of a file”, the question becomes “how can I make this zero touch”?  There are a few issues to consider including naming/renaming of the file and also archiving old copies of the file.  This doesn’t sound like zero touch to me.

Read the whole thing and check out the video.

What Happens With Multiple Missing Indexes

Arthur Daniels shows us what happens when there are multiple missing indexes in an execution plan:

This is missing index request #1, and by default, this is the only missing index we’ll see by looking at the graphical execution plan. There’s actually a missing index request #2, which we can find in the XML (I know, it’s a little ugly to read. Bear with me).

I am of two minds on this. It probably should be easier to see multiple index candidates, but there’s already so much risk of people just copy-pastaing missing index recommendations that adding more seems like a bad idea.

Conditional Formatting In Power BI

Teo Lachev walks us through conditional formatting in Power BI:

If you have used SSRS, you know that paginated reports are very customizable, and you can make almost any property expression-based. Power BI is yet to deliver expression-based properties to change settings based on runtime condition, such as to change the font style based on the actual value or user selection. Currently, there are two places where you can use a DAX measure for expression-based formatting of colors:

Click through to see those two places. I think I’d like to see conditional formatting be a bit easier than that.

Calculating Net Present Value And Internal Rate Of Return With DAX

Annie Xu walks us through a couple of financial calculations and how to implement them in DAX:

The Excel XNPV function is a financial function that calculates the net present value (NPV) of an investment using a discount rate and a series of cash flows that occur at irregular intervals. Calculate net present value for irregular cash flows. Net present value. =XNPV (rate, values, dates)

The Excek XIRR(Internal Rate of Return) is the discount rate which sets the Net Present Value (XNPV) of all future cash flow of an investment to zero.  If the NPV of an investment is zero it doesn’t mean it’s a good or bad investment, it just means you will earn the IRR (discount rate) as your rate of return. =XIRR(values,dates,guess)

Click through to see how to do this in DAX, especially if your data is not in exactly the right format.

Wrapping Up 12 Days Of dbatools

Garry Bargsley has gone through twelve days of the dbatools module’s functionality:

The final day is upon us and I have saved the best for last and one you can take in to the holiday season as a present from our fearless leader of dbatools.  The Start-DbaMigration is where the dbatools module started years ago.  Who of us have not said “I really should automate this tedious SQL migration stuff” so I do not forget a step when I have not had enough coffee.  Well Chrissy LeMaire (b | t) not only said it, but made it reality.  This early work has grown in to the dbatools module that we know today and has grown in to a multi-tool toolkit that help the DBA expand their skills without having the burden of learning a scripting language and the complexity that goes with hooking it to your SQL Server.

This tool has literally changed my life since finding it a couple years ago.  Not only am I doing work in PowerShell, I am automating work processes.  Also, this has contributed to my personal growth.  Chrissy and team has such a welcoming atmosphere and inclusion around the project, it has guided me to contribute to an open source project as well as guided me to presenting at SQL Saturdays events.

Read the whole thing. And if you missed parts of the series, they’re all up on Garry’s blog.

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