(G)UI for R and in R

Lyndon Drake lyndon@stat.auckland.ac.nz
Wed, 17 Nov 1999 10:39:19 +1300

On Mon, Nov 15, 1999 at 04:05:22PM -0600, Douglas Bates wrote:
> First, let me say that I come from the command-line-oriented world and
> most of the time I find that graphical user interfaces just get in the
> way.  Like many people who use implementations of the S language
> (i.e. S-PLUS 3.x, S-PLUS 5.x, and R) on Unix/Linux systems, my
> preferred environment for running and editing S code is emacs with the
> ESS package.
> My responses on a GUI for writing scripts are from this perspective
> but I do recognize that many people find a GUI much more comfortable
> than trying to remember lots of archane function names and, in the
> case of emacs, keystrokes.

People who are interested in the GUI side of things might want to look at
http://stat.auckland.ac.nz/~lyndon/xmldef.html, which I did a couple of
months ago.  This is aimed at helping people construct function calls.  I
would also like to come up with an interface for something like wizards,
which would take beginners through the process of something like reading
in a dataset, and performing some analysis on it.  However, I am *not* a
stats person, so I would need some help with this.

The general idea is that if we specify GUI interfaces using an XML file
format, then implementing the interface on a particular platform is
fairly simple.

> Thomas Vogels <tov@infiniti.ece.cmu.edu> writes:
> > 2) for help with writing R scripts
> >    Does R help me with a graphical introspection tool?  I guess this
> > is what the object explorer is meant for.  Can I bring up a list of
> > objects and kinda click my way to the attributes of the object?  its
> > data?  (Not unusual scenario: And why does apply not work this time?
> > Oh, wrong dimensions, I forgot the "drop=F" option...)  Can I click on
> > a function and send it to an editor?  Find out where it came from?
> (BTW, I think you mean "graphical inspection tool".)  Although not a
> substitute for graphical inspection, I find Martin Maechler's "str"
> function to be invaluable when I am trying to remember the structure
> of various objects, including (and perhaps especially) those for which
> I designed the structure.
> As far as editing a function definition, there are excellent
> facilities within ESS for that.  Object name completion within ESS is
> by itself worth the price of learning to use the mode.

Editing is one of my main todo items.  What features of ESS are really
important to people (object name completion is already something I want
to do)?

Lyndon Drake                       | Desktop:      http://www.gnome.org
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