[Rd] Writing in R // R 4.2.0 on Windows doesn't work with Dasher

Paulo Barata pb @end|ng |rom |n|o||nk@com@br
Mon May 16 19:45:11 CEST 2022

Dear Tomas,

Thank you very much for dealing with this issue.

You said: "I've committed a fix to R-devel, 82368". It happens that, at 
this very moment (Monday 16 May 18:44 UTC), The R-devel that exists on 
both the Austria and the 0-Cloud CRAN pages is this, with a different 
(smaller) number:

This is a Windows 64 bit binary build of the 2022-05-15 r82362 
development snapshot of R

Anyway, I installed and tried this R-devel r82362, and Dasher does not 
work with it.

I am not able to find R-Devel 82368 on the CRAN site. Maybe I should 
wait a little more. Or maybe you could send me a proper link to that.

Best regards,

Paulo Barata


On 16/05/2022 14:08, Tomas Kalibera wrote:
> On 5/15/22 16:10, Paulo Barata wrote:
>> To the R developers,
>> I noticed today that R 4.2.0 responds to the "Enter" character of 
>> Dasher version 5.0.0 beta in "Direct Entry" mode. An "Enter" in Dasher 
>> causes the R prompt to jump to the next line, as an "Enter" should do.
>> No other characters (letters, digits, special characters like + = & ~ 
>> | # $) are accepted by R 4.2.0 through Dasher.
>> The "Enter" shows that, somehow, the communication between Dasher and 
>> R 4.2.0 through the Windows system is not completely curtailed.
> Dear Paulo,
> thanks for the report and thanks to all for the useful comments in the 
> followup discussion. I've committed a fix to R-devel, 82368, and I would 
> be grateful if you could test whether it fixes the problem for you. I've 
> tested it only on a small example which is using the same method to 
> insert keys to Rgui as Dasher does.
> The problem is caused by a limitation in GraphApp, a library used by 
> Rgui and included in the R distribution. GraphApp has two modes: Unicode 
> windows (with this limitation) and non-Unicode windows (without it). 
> GraphApp uses Unicode windows when running in a multi-byte locale, and 
> as of R 4.2, this is the case for all systems on recent Windows where 
> the native encoding is UTF-8. This means that most likely R 4.1.3 didn't 
> work with Dasher on systems running in a multi-byte locale and that most 
> likely R 4.2.0 would work with Dasher on old Windows systems (where 
> UTF-8 cannot be used as native encoding).
> Dasher uses SendInput/KEYEVENTF_UNICODE to inject text into Rgui, which 
> is fine as far as I can tell and should work. It didn't work, because 
> the Unicode windows didn't handle WM_CHAR nor WM_KEYDOWN/WM_KEYUP for 
> VK_PACKET. By design, Unicode windows get input via WM_IME_COMPOSITION 
> and WM_KEYDOWN, so I've added support for VK_PACKET to WM_KEYDOWN 
> (taking the logic in gdk as an example).
> I am cc'ing Jose as Tinn-R has a similar problem, though this patch 
> doesn't solve it.
> Best
> Tomas
>> Regards,
>> Paulo Barata
>> ----------------------------------------------------------
>> On 13/05/2022 16:44, Paulo Barata wrote:
>>> To the R developers,
>>> I would like to point out an issue that occurs with the new R 4.2.0 
>>> running on Windows; this is possibly related to the recent wide 
>>> changes made to the Windows port of R. The issue has to do with 
>>> writing of the R window.
>>> My computer runs on Windows 10 Professional 64-bit with all the 
>>> latest updates, and has a 4-core 8-thread Intel Xeon processor with 
>>> 32 Gb of RAM.
>>> I have some slight impairment in my hands, so for typing I avoid 
>>> using the computer keyboard as much as possible. For most of my 
>>> typing, I use the software Dasher, a kind of assistive technology 
>>> software. Dasher was created by the Inference Group led by Professor 
>>> David MacKay (died in 2016) at Cambridge University in England. 
>>> Later, Dasher was further developed by Ada Majorek (a Google 
>>> engineer, recently deceased).
>>> General information on Dasher and about the Dasher Project can be 
>>> found on the Inference Group page:
>>> http://www.inference.org.uk/dasher/
>>> An example of Dasher in action can be seen on this 2-minute YouTube 
>>> video:
>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr3s4613DX8
>>> An one-hour YouTube video of a 2007 Google Talk by Professor MacKay 
>>> himself explaining the Dasher concept can be found here:
>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpOxbesRNBc
>>> In the 2-minute video (the first YouTube address above), the sentence 
>>> written through Dasher, for actual use, needs to be copied and then 
>>> pasted into another software, say a text editor. But Dasher also has 
>>> a "Direct Entry" mode, where words typed are entered directly on the 
>>> screen of the text editor or other software -- this is how I use 
>>> Dasher to write on the R window.
>>> Using Dasher`s "Direct Entry" mode, for all effects, to write a word 
>>> through Dasher works exactly like writing the word through the normal 
>>> computer keyboard. Somehow (I do not know about system programming), 
>>> in "Direct Entry" mode, the output of Dasher is understood by the 
>>> computer as an input of the same nature as a keyboard input.
>>> But this is the issue: until R 4.1.3, R accepted normally the 
>>> word-typing through Dasher. But R 4.2.0 (and R 4.2.0-patched build 
>>> r82348, 12 May 2022) does not accept Dasher anymore.
>>> So, for now, if I wish to use R during some extended interactive 
>>> section (say, for a first look at a complex data set), and if I wish 
>>> to use Dasher for this interactive session, then I have to use R 
>>> 4.1.3. For using R through programming, I can use the new R 4.2.0, by 
>>> writing the program with Dasher in my text editor, and then pasting 
>>> that program into R.
>>> The latest Windows version of Dasher, version 5.0.0 beta, works 
>>> perfectly well with text editors (I use EditPad Pro), with 
>>> Microsoft-like Office packages (I use SoftMaker Office), for writing 
>>> e-mails (I use Mozilla Thunderbird), for writing on a web page (I use 
>>> mostly Mozilla Firefox). It worked perfectly well with R up to 
>>> version 4.1.3, but it does not work with R 4.2.0
>>> The latest Dasher 5.0.0 beta Windows installer and the source code 
>>> can be found on this page below (please click on "Windows installer" 
>>> and on "source code", just below the head "Dasher 5.0 beta release"):
>>> https://github.com/dasher-project/dasher/releases
>>> To set Dasher 5.0.0 beta to the "Direct Entry" mode, after installing 
>>> Dasher one should go to Preferences > Application > Application Style.
>>> Currently, after the passing of Ada Majorek, the Dasher Project is 
>>> being put forward by a group of people in England, but, it seems, at 
>>> a very slow pace. They have announced the existence of a version 6 
>>> beta, but this is only an online instance of Dasher, there is no 
>>> Windows installer, as far as I know. Their web page:
>>> https://dasher.acecentre.net/
>>> For me, and possibly for other users, the Dasher version 5.0.0 beta 
>>> for Windows that is available works perfectly well, and allows me to 
>>> use the computer with a proficiency that would be hardly possible 
>>> otherwise.
>>> Here I request that the R developers take a look at this word-typing 
>>> issue that happens with the new R 4.2.0 on Windows.
>>> As an R user (I work in ecological research), I can only thank the R 
>>> team for this really wonderful piece of statistical software that you 
>>> make freely available to us all.
>>> Regards,
>>> Paulo Barata
>>> (Rio de Janeiro - Brazil)
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> R-devel using r-project.org mailing list
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
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