A package for tidying nested lists

Authors: Amanda Dobbyn, Jim Hester, Laura DeCicco, Christine Stawitz, Isabella Velasquez

This post describes a project from rOpenSci unconf18. In the spirit of exploration and experimentation at our unconferences, projects are not necessarily finished products or in scope for rOpenSci packages.

Data == knowledge! Much of the data we use, whether it be from government repositories, social media, GitHub, or e-commerce sites comes from public-facing APIs. The quantity of data available is truly staggering, but munging JSON output into a format that is easily analyzable in R is an equally staggering undertaking. When JSON is turned into an R object, it usually becomes a deeply nested list riddled with missing values that is difficult to untangle into a tidy format. Moreover, every API presents its own challenges; code you’ve written to clean up data from GitHub isn’t necessarily going to work on Twitter data, as each API spews data out in its own unique, headache-inducing nested list structure. To ease and generalize this process, Amanda Dobbyn proposed an unconf18 project for a general API response tidier! Welcome roomba, our first stab at easing the process of tidying nested lists!

Read the full post here: https://ropensci.org/blog/2018/06/26/roomba/

Could using a registered trademark as a name for an open source package cause problems down the line, e.g., being forced to change the name later?

Definitely. The name would have to be changed if it goes beyond this. Projects at our 2-day unconferences are meant to be exploratory / experimental and often with a hint of fun. In some cases projects are developed further so the team would have to make a name change :grinning:

Yes, I admit it’s a fun name.

Apart from the package name, there might also be an issue with publishing raw Twitter data. As far as I understand the terms of use of the Twitter API (which I have not checked in the last year, though), API users do not have the right to redistribute the data.