Review: Kölner R Meeting 26 Feburary 2014

Last week’s Cologne R user group meeting was all about R and databases. We had three talks from a generic overview on how to connect R to databases, to a specific example with kdb+ and perhaps the future with ArangoDB, a NoSQL database.

Connecting R with databases

Diego de Castillo’s talk focused on the use of relational databases, such as PostgreSQL, SQLite and Oracle. For all these databases dedicated R drivers exist on CRAN that can be used in a generic way via the DBI package. This allows for a consistent approach to connect, query and return data to R. A popular alternative on Windows to the DBI framework is the use of the ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) API via RODBC or RJDBC.

R and kdb+

Kim Kuen Tang gave an overview of kdb+, a proprietary database that appears to be popular for time series data. kdb+ comes with its own expressive query language, q. Kim demonstrated how he could analyse large amount of stock market data stored in a kdb+ database using R and q all via sublime.


Michael Hackstein and Claudius Weinberger introduced us to ArangoDB, a NoSQL (Not only SQL) database. ArangoDB is an open source document database. This means that data is stored as documents, which are similar to JavaScript objects, in so-called “collections”. Their slides presented nicely the different concepts outside the traditional relational databases, such as key values stores, document stores and graph data. Claudius mentioned that they had received several requests from users who wanted to connect R to ArangoDB. Although a native driver does not exist for R yet, ArangoDB can be accessed by R using the HTTP-API via the packages bitops, RCurl and RJSONIO.

Next Kölner R meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 23 May 2014. This will be our 10th meeting, clearly something we need to celebrate!

Please get in touch if you would like to present and share your experience, or indeed if you have a request for a topic you would like to hear more about. For more details see also our Meetup page.

Thanks again to Bernd Weiß for hosting the event and Revolution Analytics for their sponsorship.


For attribution, please cite this work as:

Markus Gesmann (Mar 04, 2014) Review: Kölner R Meeting 26 Feburary 2014. Retrieved from

BibTeX citation:

@misc{ 2014-review-kolner-r-meeting-26-feburary-2014,
 author = { Markus Gesmann },
 title = { Review: Kölner R Meeting 26 Feburary 2014 },
 url = { },
 year = { 2014 }
 updated = { Mar 04, 2014 }