[Rd] Adding Tk extensions to R for windows

wettenhall at wehi.EDU.AU wettenhall at wehi.EDU.AU
Tue Sep 30 18:41:42 MEST 2003


I'm developing an R/TclTk application which uses the BWidget and
Tktable Tk extensions and I'm trying to make it easy to install.
For now, I'm focusing on Windows users who start with nothing.

I have built Tcl/Tk and Tktable for windows using Msys/MinGW.
(BWidget contains only Tcl scripts so does not need building.)
I have then copied Tktable and BWidget into the lib subdirectory
of the Tcl directory in R source, created by unzipping R_Tcl.zip
from Brian Ripley's webpage.  (I should also try creating the
entire R_Tcl.zip myself, rather than mixing and matching.)
Finally I have followed the instructions in src/gnuwin32/INSTALL
including "make distribution" which has built
an R installation wizard including the Tk extensions.

It seems to work fine and I don't think I've violated any
license agreements - it's my understanding that Tktable and
BWidget source (both on sourceforge) are under BSD, like the other
Tcl already included with R.

Of course some would say that you can build faster and smaller Tcl
libraries using Visual C++.  I didn't notice much difference with my
application running Tktable.  I did try buildling Tcl/Tk with the
free version of VC++.NET SDK but nmake -f makefile.vc in
Tcl_source/win/ complained that vcvars32.bat needed to be run.  The
latest version of the (free) VC++.NET SDK seems to only have sdkvars.bat,
which does something similar to vcvars32.bat (i.e. set PATH, INCLUDE,
LIB and NetSamplePath), but running it didn't seem to help so I turned
to Msys/MinGW.  Maybe I should buy the full Visual C++/Visual Studio?

I'm wondering whether anyone would like to point out any potential
problems (license or otherwise) with distributing a customized R
installation wizard.

Also, I would be happy to become involved in the maintenance/testing
of R_Tcl.zip for windows if I'm qualified, but I suppose this would
require buying the full Visual C++/Visual Studio, right?

If there is sufficient building/testing from volunteers, are the R core
developers considering bundling more Tcl/Tk packages with R, or does the
problem of HOW MANY packages/megabytes to add mean that there would always
have to be a separate "batteries included" installation wizard?


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