Activity in my day job often provides inspiration for content here, and this post is an example of that. In my work, I use Microsoft’s SQL Server and Power BI. Both applications now offer some level of support for R:
- Microsoft now includes an R server with SQL Server
- Power BI allows you to use R visualizations to provide functionality that is not included natively.
- If you have an R script that cleans and preps your data, Power BI use it as a data source for visualizations and analytics.
Power BI doesn’t support all R packages. Of the 10,000 plus packages available in the CRAN repository only 850 or so packages are currently supported. This webpage includes an explanation for what they do support and why.
All of that is a preface to this post. At the above link is a table of the supported Power BI packages with version number and a URL for the package on CRAN. I wanted to capture that information for incorporation into some (non-work) documentation. I could easily copy and paste it into a spreadsheet or a text file, but I wanted to set it up as a repeatable process in case the website is updated. I could then capture the updated information quickly and easily. Enter RVEST – a screen scrapping package for R.