The R community and some of South Africa's most forward thinking companies have come together to bring satRday back for its fourth edition. This conference provides an opportunity to hear from and network with top Researchers, Data Scientists and Developers from the R community in South Africa and beyond.

Some pictures from Joburg's first satRday in April 2019.

: Kirsty Lee Garson


Keynote Speakers

Colin Fay
Data Scientist & R Hacker

Colin helps companies to take full advantage of the power of R by providing training (from beginner to expert), tools (packages, web apps...) and infrastructure. His main areas of expertise are data & software engineering, web applications (frontend and backend) and R in production.

Colin is a hyperactive open source developer and an open data advocate. He is very active in the Data Science community in France where he founded the data-blogging website, co-founded the Breizh Data Club association and organises the Breizh Data Club Meetups.

Heather Turner
Statistical Programmer

Heather provides support to people in a range of industries, but particularly the life sciences. She has been an R user since 2001 and is co-author of several CRAN packages, notably the statistical modelling packages gnm, BradleyTerry2 and PlackettLuce.

Dr Turner is on the board of the R Foundation and chairs the Forwards taskforce for underrepresented groups in the R community. She is also a co-organizer of R-Ladies Remote.



PwC has graciously agreed to host this year's workshops at their offices in Midrand.


satRday will once again be hosted at the prestigious, Discovery Head Office, in Sandton. Situated in the hub of Johannesburg the venue boasts a 5-star Green Star SA rating by the GBCSA.

Discovery HQ exterior
Discovery HQ interior

Discovery reception area

Atrium inside Discovery HQ


satRday Johannesburg will kick off, at PwC, on the 6th of March 2020 with a day of workshops. Note that these will be full-day workshops and take place in parallel, so you have to choose between them - good luck!

(*) Workshops available to training pass holders only.

R Package Development

Heather Turner

Curious about package development but not sure where to start? This workshop is for you! The goal is to empower you to contribute back to the R ecosystem through writing your own packages or contributing to others. We’ll be using materials developed by Hadley Wickham, Jenny Bryan, and others on the Forwards teaching team.

By the end of this workshop, you should know how to:

  • turn your code into an R package,
  • use GitHub as an effective collaboration tool,
  • add a vignette or an article,
  • build a web page for your package, and
  • submit a package to CRAN.

Prerequisites: Participants should know how to write functions in R. Knowledge of R markdown will be beneficial.

Computing requirements: Attendees are encouraged to set up the required tools on their laptops as described here. Alternatively, an RStudio cloud with the required tools will be accessible for the duration of the workshop.

Participants may bring their own code that they want to make into a package, or work with the example provided.

Building Successful Shiny Apps with {golem}

Colin Fay

Shiny is an amazing tool when it comes to creating web applications with R. Building a proof-of-concept application is easy, but things change when the application becomes larger and more complex, especially when it comes to sending that app to production. Until recently, there hasn't been any real framework for building and deploying production-grade Shiny apps. This is where {golem} comes into play: offering Shiny developers an opinionated framework for creating production-ready Shiny applications.

With {golem}, Shiny developers now have a toolkit for making a stable, easy-to-maintain, and robust for production web application with R. {golem} has been developed to abstract away the most common engineering tasks (for example, module creation, the addition of external CSS or JavaScript file, ...), so you can focus on what matters: building the application. Once your application is ready to be deployed, {golem} guides you through testing and brings you the tool for deploying to common platforms.

In this workshop, attendees will be introduced to the {golem} package, then guided through the full development of a shiny app, from start to deployment!

Prerequisites: Attendees are expected to be already familiar with Shiny. Knowledge about package development would be advantageous.

Web Scraping with R

Megan Beckett & Andrew Collier

Often the data you need is already available on a website. It might all be on one page (if you're lucky!) or distributed across many pages (possibly hundreds or thousands of pages!).

But you want those data consolidated locally. Not on a server in some distant land, but right there on your hardware. And in a convenient format. CSV or JSON, perhaps? Certainly not HTML!

What would Ragnar do? He'd go out, grab those data and bring them home.

The contemporary Internet Viking uses web scraping techniques to systematically extract information from web pages. This workshop will demonstrate the process of web scraping. Here’s the battle plan:

  • Sharpening the Axe: Understanding the structure of an HTML document.
  • Preparing the Longships: Using the DOM to select HTML elements.
  • Doing Battle: Using {rvest} to extract data from an HTML document.
  • Stashing the Treasure: Storing data as CSV or JSON.
  • Triumphant Return: Handling dynamic content using {RSelenium}.

The first two topics will be fairly brief, covering this material at a high level. We'll dig much deeper into the latter topics. By the end of the workshop you will be able to easily (and confidently) scrape large swathes of the internet. We’re considerate Vikings, so you’ll also learn how to do this ethically and mindfully. :)

This tutorial will be suitable for Vikings with low to moderate levels of R experience. We'll use RStudio Cloud to ensure that everybody has the same infrastructure and (hopefully) avoid most technical issues.


Workshop Pass

A workshop pass gives you access to one of the workshops. These full-day workshops will be run in parallel on the 6th March 2020 at PwC.

Workshop Pass
(Early Bird R 1000.00)
1 Day Workshop
Networking breaks with refreshments provided

Scholarship Application

Thanks to funding from the R Consortium, we are able to offer a limited number of scholarships for women to attend the R package development workshop and the satRday conference. Scholarships are open to women living in South Africa or elsewhere in Africa with visa-free access to South Africa.

Conference Pass

The Conference Pass gives you access to South Africa's fourth satRday. Join us on the 7th March 2020 at, Discovery Head Office, to meet with and hear from both local and international R enthusiasts!

Conference Pass
(Early Bird R 200.00)
All Conference Talks
Networking breaks with refreshments provided
* Early Bird tickets are available until 2020-01-26 (or until sold out). The standard price for Conference and Workshop passes will be R 500 and R 1500 respectively. No late or at the door registration available.

Call for Papers

Presentation proposals for satRday 2020 are now open.

The deadline for talk submissions is 13 February 2020.

Feel free to submit one or more proposal(s). We will be considering the following presentation formats:

  • Lightning Talk [5 min]
  • Standard Talk [20 min]

What are the benefits of giving a presentation?

  • Speakers attend the conference for free!
  • Prompt feedback on your proposed presentation.

Code of Conduct

satRday is dedicated to providing a harassment-free and inclusive conference experience for all in attendance regardless of, but not limited to, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, employment, disabilities, physical attributes, age, ethnicity, social standing, religion or political affiliation.

Any form of harassment of participants involving anyone involved with satRday will not be tolerated. Sexual innuendos and imagery are not appropriate for any conference venue, including presentations.

Anyone violating these rules may be given a warning or expelled from the conference (without a refund) at the discretion of the conference organisers.

Our full code of conduct/anti-harassment policy can be found here.


Becoming a sponsor is a great opportunity to show your commitment to the continued growth and diversification of the local R community while raising brand awareness, headhunting potential talent for your organization and helping us make the conference a lasting success.

One of the key objectives of satRday is to make the conference accessible to all, including students, by keeping ticket prices low. At the same time we also want to provide attendees with a brilliant conference experience. This means we rely heavily on sponsorship.

If you'd like to come on board as a sponsor please email us and we'll gladly send you our Sponsorship Prospectus, which lays out the various options in terms of costs and benefits.