Build something that works
I've actually thought about creating some R content because I think this style would translate well, but haven't been able to find the time.
One of the best R resources I've seen is DataCamp (www.datacamp.com), which is like a Codecademy for R. It's not as project-based as I would like, but I think its interface is great and they're adding new content on a regular basis. However, more so than DataCamp, anything you can find by Hadley Wickham (hadley.nz) is fantastic. In particular, check out the 'Data Science' links on his website. I've found his tidyr/dplyr material to be really helpful.
I'm not sure what you're looking for regarding pattern recognition. Are you trying to learn topics like regular expressions and/or document parsing? If so, I've listed a few good resources below:
- Rubular (rubular.com): a Ruby-based site to test regular expressions live
- The Bastards Book of Ruby: an excellent introduction to the world of data scraping using the Nokogiri gem
- w3school's XPath tutorial (w3schools.com/xml/xpath_intro.asp): a great tutorial for learning XPath, which is a slightly more advanced technique than (and a good follow-up to) the above
You'll also find some more helpful info in our web scraper and craigslist scraper courses, though we don't go into quite as much detail as some of the above resources. Hope this is helpful - let me know if you have any more questions!