The History Of R Markdown Blogs

Creating documents with rich interactive content using only free, open source software is one of the biggest trends in writing today. It’s possible! And it's not limited to blogs either- you can use this technique for books, presentations, and even academic papers.

A few years ago, creating documents like this would have required you to know several different programs that must be used properly along with some level of computer expertise. Luckily, things are changing quickly!

Markup languages such as HTML and XML exist to make it easy to create structured documents, but these days there are many more choices than just those two.

One popular option is something called Markdown. While most people don't realize it, Markdown was originally designed as an editor for blogging platforms back in early 2010. Since then, however, it has been adapted for other purposes including document formatting.

This article will take a look at how to do basic editing in Markdown and apply it to producing interactive documents. You will also learn how to export your documents as both PDF and MP4 files so you can share them easily.

If you're already familiar with Markdown and want to try out some ideas from this article, feel free to check out my Google Docs where I've left some links and notes.

History of R Markdown

rmarkdown blog

This article will take you through the history of one of the most popular free software tools for writing documents, reports, and blogs using rich HTML with embedded content that can be manipulated or styled easily.

Markup languages like XML and HTML have been around since the early days of computers, but it was not until recent years that they were combined into something called semantic markup.

Semantic markup uses structured tags to describe an element instead of just denoting its position in the document as an opening tag and closing tag. For example, use

to create a header, not just a word or phrase.

This is possible because of technology such as JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) which was first used in 2007. Before then, people would encode information and messages in plain text which does not allow for easy manipulation or styling. It also cannot be linked to other resources easily.

In May 2015, Daniel Gaffer introduced what he calls “re-purposed HTML” or RHTML. He modified the open HTML tag slightly so that users could add their own tags, attributes, and styles to make pages more readable and descriptive. These new tags are referred to as microformatting tags due to how small they are in size.

These include things such as the title tag, the meta description tag, and the breadcrumb navigation bar.

Different versions of R Markdown

rmarkdown blog

There are two main ways to create documents with RMarkdown. The first is using the classic, pre-version 0.2 of the software called ‘RStudio versioning’ or RV for short. This was the original way to use it and is still actively supported today!

The second major iteration of this toolset comes in the form of what is known as YAML front matter. This is an easy to use template style format that allows you to easily add rich media, references and other content into your document quickly and efficiently.

This article will focus on the benefits of the newer YAML metadata system used by RStudio version 2 and above of Mkdownd. You can find out more about these here. That said, let's dive in and see why it's worth giving them a try!

Why should I care?

Using Rich Media

One of the most common uses of YAML is adding images and videos to your slideshows or presentations.
You can now include raw assets like JPEGs, PNGs, GIFs and even YouTube clips directly within your markdown files!

By including these resources via YAML, they get automatically converted into HTML markup during compilation which means no need to retype them later.

For example, say you wanted to include an image from Google. Then you would simply have to type `![Google Logo](google_logo.

Popular R packages that use R Markdown

rmarkdown blog

Many popular open source projects used to be written in just Python, but have now been converted into using R and/or knitr! These include:

Oxygen XML


Cartopy (cartographic software)

matplotlib (used for creating diagrams and graphs)

Ggstatsd (for distributed graph analytics via Google Cloud Platform)

gevent (Python event-loop framework)

Pillarizer (for better NER classification of natural language documents)

WordToVec (word vectorization with tensors)

The first two mentioned above are both xml tools. Oxygen is an xml editor, while GeoJson is a way to export geographical information as well as import it. Both of these were made possible by the conversion from python to r+.

Cartopy makes statistical maps, matplotlib creates them, and pillarizer classifies text so you can tell which categories each piece of content belongs to. All three of those things require some additional code in r or knitr.

For word embedding, there’s Word2vec, FastText, Glove, and others. For example, glove was trained on Wikipedia data and has its own toolbox of functions. There are many ways to do this, and they all depend on the community developing the best one.

Popular blog sites that use R Markdown

rmarkdown blog

Many well-known blogs using R markdown include self-hosted word processing software, such as Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer, to create documents. They then use tools like GitHub to manage their source code, which is typically written in either HTML or plain text.

Regularly editing these document files in your preferred editor and tool makes it easy to edit content and format. Tools such as Pandoc make it possible to export these documents in other formats, including PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.

This article will discuss some of the best ways to publish content with R markdown so they can be easily shared and adapted. It will also talk about how you can connect to popular blogging platforms to share your work.


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The most common way to begin writing is by creating a journal or diary using Google Keep, Dropbox, or another note taking app. By organizing your thoughts into separate notes, it becomes much easier to write them all down and link them together later.

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How to use R Markdown

rmarkdown blog

This article will go into detail about how you can create your very first blog using an easy-to-use tool called RStudio, which has a rich collection of features that make writing and editing documents fast and efficient.

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There are two main ways to write content with RMarkdown. You can either edit the source document directly or generate HTML files from the document. The second option is much faster, but some people prefer editing the sources instead because they feel more comfortable doing it that way.

This article will focus almost exclusively on the second method. That is why you do not need to worry about installing R or anything like that! We will only be working within the interface of RStudio.

After this article you will know how to:

Create an account at

Download and install rstudio

Configure rstudio to connect to your wordpress account

Publish your first draft as a static html page

Update and keep updating your wordpress site

That is all! I hope you enjoy reading these tips and creating blogs yourself.

Examples of R Markdown

rmarkdown blog

One of the most common uses for RMarkdown is creating content that can be published immediately or easily edited in-line. This includes blogs, articles, and other types of online content such as books and reports.

The easy edit feature allows users to quickly publish new versions of your article without having to go back and rework everything else!

Many people use this feature to make changes to an article they have written previously. You can also add additional features like pictures and videos using tools such as Plotly and YouTube.

These extra features are designed to enhance the article and help it stand out from the rest. They are completely optional and not necessary to create engaging content.

Here are some examples of how you can do this with R markdown. Check them out and see what you can add to your next article!


You can write your article and then embed media and/or links into the article using the rich text editor. Then, upload the document and finalize the post.

This process removes the need to use HTML editors to include images and links. Some ones prefer more intuitive interfaces than word processors when editing media.

Another benefit of writing in Microsoft Word or another rich editor is that you get all of the formatting features like bold, italic, and underlining which can be used to emphasize certain parts of the article.

Link to famous blogs using R Markdown

rmarkdown blog

Many professional bloggers use some kind of content editing software to publish their writing. This can be done with either a free or paid tool, depending on what you want to do.

If you are looking to launch your own website or give up blogging as an income source, then there are many free tools that will let you write posts and edit them easily. These include things like blogger, wordpress, and html pages/sites where you can add pictures and videos and format it how you wish.

However, this may not be ideal for those who want more control over their look-us and learn-us style blogs. For these people, other editors are much better suited.

One such editor is called pandoc. It has many features which allow you to create and edit various documents (like articles) in different formats (pdf, word docx, etc). You can take notes while reading and quickly organize them into sections and bullets to make it easy to read and understand.

What are the benefits of using R Markdown?

rmarkdown blog

One major benefit of using R Markdown is that it allows you to create documents in either HTML or PDF format directly from within your editor of choice- not just for blogs, but also for books, presentations, and more!

This removes the need to use one of the many free web hosting services that offer only limited functionality (such as creating pages and folders), and/or cost money per month.

Using an external service such as Google Drive or Microsoft Office Online makes editing easier because you do not have to upload the document separately.

Furthermore, some editors like Slack allow you to collaborate easily by sharing the app’s link. Others may prefer to edit the document locally first before uploading so they can still work offline if needed.

There are even times when you want to read the document without having access to internet connected devices, which is why most big companies release internal tools that can be used in place of a browser window.

About The Author

Tiara Ogabang
Tiara Joan Ogabang is a talented content writer and marketing expert, currently working for the innovative company With a passion for writing and a keen eye for detail, Tiara has quickly become an integral part of the team, helping to drive engagement and build brand awareness through her creative and engaging content.
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