I've only recently begun exploring and learning R (especially since Dirk recommended RStudio and a lot of people in here speak highly of R). I'm rather C(++) oriented, so it got me thinking - what are the limitations of R, in particular in terms of performance?
I'm trying to weigh the C++/Python/R alternatives for research and I'm considering if getting to know R well enough is worth the time investment.
Available packages look quite promising, but there are some issues in my mind that keep me at bay for the time being:
- How efficient is R when it comes to importing big datasets? And first of all, what's big in terms of R development? I used to process a couple hundred CSV files in C++ (around 0.5M values I suppose) and I remember it being merely acceptable. What can I expect from R here? Judging by Jeff's spectacular results I assume with a proper long-term solution (not CSV) I should be even able to switch to tick processing without hindrances. But what about ad-hoc data mangling? Is the difference in performance (compared to more low level implementations) that visible? Or is it just an urban legend?
- What are the options for GUI development? Let's say I would like to go further than research oriented analysis, like developing full blown UIs for investment analytics/trading etc. From what I found mentioned here and on StackOverflow, with proper bindings I am free to use Python's frameworks here and even further chain into Qt if such a need arises. But deploying such a beast must be a real nuisance. How do you cope with it?
In general I see R's flexibility allows me to mix and match it with a plethora of other languages (either way round - using low level additions in R or embed/invoke R in projects written in another language). That seems nice, but does it make sense (I mean like thinking about it from start/concept phase, not extending preexisting solutions)? Or is it better to stick with one-and-only language (insert whatever you like/have experience with)?
So to sum up: In what quant finance applications is R a (really) bad choice (or at least can be)?