(G)UI for R and in R

Lyndon Drake lyndon@stat.auckland.ac.nz
Wed, 17 Nov 1999 11:38:00 +1300

On Tue, Nov 16, 1999 at 01:59:28PM -0800, A.J. Rossini wrote:
> >>>>> "LD" == Lyndon Drake <lyndon@stat.auckland.ac.nz> writes:
>     LD> Editing is one of my main todo items.  What features of ESS
>     LD> are really important to people (object name completion is
>     LD> already something I want to do)?
> The ones important to me:
> - Versioning of objects (i.e. placing text versions of R functions
>   under version control)
> - literate data analysis/programming
> - ability to send R code to multiple processes
> and most importantly: 
> - Emacs key-bindings 
> :-).
> In general, I think the third is useful for a GUI, the first would be
> nice, and the 4th would be crucial -- probably VI bindings, as
> well... 

The first is probably not possible.  I think that this is not too difficult
in Emacs because there is already code to do version control.  The third is
also difficult, simply because an editor is created for a particular R
process.  Copy and paste would work, though :-).

Could you explain the second item (literate data analysis/programming)?  I
have a vague understanding of literate programming (mostly in the context
of Web), but I don't know very much about it.

The fourth item might actually be possible in the next major version of
GTK+ (the widget set that Gnome uses).  However, that's a little way off.

Based on this, I'd say that it will be pretty difficult to replicate ESS's
functionality.  I guess some people will be sticking with Emacs (strange
people... ;-).

> Now for some less cynical feedback: Looking at your XML code, it'd be
> nice to have a means of bringing up an example, i.e. a filled out
> screen with an additional text window which described what could be
> done (you do/are having a help-feature-window-thingy, right)?
> I.e. create a button on the window which would show examples for
> read.table for a tab-sep'd file, CSV file, etc...  This would
> literally be the R-ex files GUI'd up (gooey'd up... I like that one,
> and so would my 2-year old :-), with a text window described what
> each or a selected one would do.
> Tres cool, and we can't really do that to the same extent with ESS
> (well, we can dump code from the help buffer, but it's really run, not 
> an example!). 

Very cool idea.  I'll have a think about how to do it (finding the time
to actually implement it is another matter).

Lyndon Drake                       | Desktop:      http://www.gnome.org
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http://stat.auckland.ac.nz/~lyndon | OS:           http://www.linux.com
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