How To Download and Install Julia

7 minute read

What is Julia?

Julia is an open source programming language that specializes in data science, data engineering, data analysis, statistical modeling, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Julia is an easy-to-learn programming language, and it runs fast. Professionals who use it typically work as data scientists, data analysts, data engineers, and AI and machine learning engineers. It’s also becoming popular among professionals who work in other scientific domains such as biology, pharmaceuticals, operations research, quantum physics, nonlinear dynamics, quantitative finance and economics, insurance, robotics, aviation, space and astronomy, energy, and ecology.

Although Julia’s specialty is data, it’s a functional and general programming language as well so you can also use it to build complete web and software applications.

Julia is the future of scientific computing, scientific data analysis, and artificial intelligence. It enables the user to develop fast and powerful code with a simple syntax. It will be a key skill to learn as many employers will begin looking for professionals who can code in Julia, and Remyx Courses by Remix Institute is one of the few groups who are teaching this “next big thing” skill.

Why Julia? Is it even useful to download and learn Julia?

It is definitely useful to learn Julia as a programming language for the future of data science, analytics, artificial intelligence, and scientific computing. Many employers will require Julia as a pre-requisite for employment.

Julia is quickly becoming one of the most popular programming languages in the data industry, and it continues to gain in popularity every year:

StackOverflow Trends for Julia Programming

How is Julia different from R and Python?

How do I download Julia?

You download Julia from the Julia Programming Language website.

Julia is available for download for Windows, Mac, or Linux. Start the download process by clicking on the link for the operating system you’re using.

What is Pluto?

Pluto is a free and open source integrated development environment (IDE) for Julia. Pluto is a popular IDE among Julia users, but there really isn’t a great IDE for Julia currently in the same way there’s RStudio for R or Spyder for Python. However, for people who are just getting started in programming and Julia, Pluto is a very easy way to get started.

An IDE is software for building applications that combines development tools into a single graphical user interface (GUI). Basically, Pluto automatically manages dependencies, runs code, and reacts to changes.

Pluto is regularly maintained by several contributors and is partially sponsored by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), JuliaHub by Julia Computing, NumFocus, and QuEra Computing.

You can learn more about Pluto on its website.

How do I download Pluto?

Note: you must download Julia first before you download Pluto.

First, open the Julia REPL that gets downloaded when you download Julia. You’d likely see the Julia icon shortcut on your desktop or list of applications on your computer. Once you’ve opened Julia, you should see the following screen or similar:

Next, you’ll run the following 2 lines of Julia code to install Pluto. What the code is doing is importing/loading the Julia package manager and then installing Pluto using the Pkg.add() function. This may take several minutes to finish running.

import Pkg
Pkg.add("Pluto")

After Pluto is done installing, to begin running Pluto, run the following lines of code in your Julia REPL:

import Pluto
Pluto.run()

Pluto will then open in your default internet browser, and you can get started using Pluto. The home screen on your browser tab will look something like this:

If you get stuck on any of the steps described above, you can also check out Pluto.jl’s GitHub page for Installation details.

Basic Anatomy of the Pluto IDE

After you’ve downloaded, installed, and opened up Pluto for the first time, you might be curious on how to navigate Pluto. Below is a basic anatomy rundown of Pluto. It’s very clean and straightforward. After you’ve started running Pluto using the steps described above, you’d get started by clicking “Create a new notebook” in the home screen.

  1. Code Cells
    • This is where you write, edit, and run code. For each cell that you run, you’ll see the output of the code directly below it.
  2. Save
    • This is where you can choose to save your Pluto notebook to a directory on your computer to load it up again in the future.
  3. Export
    • This where you can choose to export your Pluto notebook as a Julia script (as a .jl filename), HTML file, or PDF file.
  4. Documentation and Feedback
    • This is where you can do a quick search of the documentation in case you need help, and you can also provide instant feedback to the creators of Pluto.jl in order to make it better.

How To Run R Code in RStudio

To run R code in RStudio, you first type your R code in the Code Editor pane then click “Run” on the Code Editor. To run specific lines of R code, you highlight the lines of R code you want to run in the Code Editor pane then click “Run” on the Code Editor.

You can see an example below where we take the following R code:

message = "Welcome to Remyx Courses!"
print(message)


and then we highlight the lines of R code and click Run on the Code Editor pane. See video example below:

Optional: What other tools would be helpful?

We strongly recommend downloading RStudio to execute the R code contained in Remyx Courses. All of the examples in Remyx Courses provide demos using RStudio in the background.

However, we don’t want to pigeonhole you into using any certain tool, so below are a few alternatives to execute R code. We will leave it up to the learner’s curiosity to research and experiment with the following tools.

Note: you are not required to download or use any of the following in order to complete any of the Remyx Courses.

Alternative ToolDownload Link
Visual StudioHow To Install
Jupyter NotebooksHow To Install
Julia REPLWhen you download Julia, it comes with a default program you can execute code in as well

Optional: How do I update R and RStudio in the future?

Every so often, the R development community makes updates to the R software, and the RStudio team makes updates to the RStudio IDE. To ensure you’re using the most up-to-date versions of R and RStudio to take advantage of new features, you can periodically update R and RStudio within the RStudio IDE itself.

You can update R by following these 3 easy steps:

  1. Open RStudio
  2. Go to File > New File > R Script
  3. In the Code Editor, use the following code below and then click “Run”

R Code To Update To Latest Version of R:

# installs and loads the necessary R package to make updates
install.packages('installr')
library(installr)

# runs a function that updates R automatically and asks you what you want at every decision
installr::updateR()