R is an excellent language for finance, statistics and general science. Here's a quick setup guide to get you going.
- Install R from the CRAN website
- Get RStudio (if IDE's are your thing). This will provide syntax support, graphical representations of your data and R Objects as well as other handy features.
- Get a package
- Load the library
- Load some stocks
loadSymbols(c('^XAU', 'GLD', 'IAU'))
Get some other useful packages:
RGoogleDocs(see http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1295955/what-is-the-most-useful-r-trick for an example)
Note that R has powerful CSV import/export tools. Plays nicely with Excel!
Console vs. IDE
Like many other programming languages, whether you prefer "text editor" type interaction or an IDE is often a personal preference. I've been on the former side with Ruby/Rails, but for R I've been leaning towards the IDE (RStudio). So far this has been mostly for visualization of the data objects saved, as well as some syntax support.
More to follow on R....