two terms I frequently encounter in the context of packages, are “source” and “binary”. I found some definitions on other platforms, but I would appreciate more clear definitions.
Thank you in advance.
P.S. Although these two terms were not included in the first chapter of Codecademy’s R course, I felt that “introduction-r” would be the best tag to select in this context.
there is no big difference between those from a “user” standpoint, except that you might have issues with the former when installing (as the source code has to be compiled (read: prepared) on your computer, which might lead to issues if something goes wrong), whereas the latter are binary files (similar to .exe and .app files on Windows and Mac respectively), where you can’t see the source code, as they have already been compiled for the most popular operating systems.
When a new version of a package gets released on CRAN (the storage where most R packages are being distributed from when you install them into R), they are available as source files first, and then compiled for convenience.
I found this StackOverflow article quite good, even though it is not R specific.
I hope this helped, and feel free to reply if something is unclear.
All the best,