In this paper we describe a software package for developing heart rate variability analysis. This package, called RHRV, is a third party extension for the open source statistical environment R, and can be freely downloaded from the R-CRAN repository. We review the state of the art of software related to the analysis of heart rate variability (HRV). Based upon this review, we motivate the development of an open source software platform which can be used for developing new algorithms for studying HRV or for performing clinical experiments. In particular, we show how the RHRV package greatly simplifies and accelerates the work of the computer scientist or medical specialist in the HRV field. We illustrate the utility of our package with practical examples.