[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
Tue May 17 15:04:35 CEST 2022

Dear Tomas,

Great news! I downloaded R-devel 2022-05-16 r82368 for Windows and 
installed it on my Windows 10 Professional. It works perfectly well with 
Dasher 5.0 beta!

In Dasher, I tried all special characters like $ & | *, many small and 
capital letters, including some accented ones like á À ê ç that exist in 
Portuguese (and other languages, e.g. French (there are versions of 
Dasher for many languages)), all digits, space, the Enter character and 
the "Backspace" movement (to erase previously written characters), 
everything works well.

Now, we can fully use Dasher in the R console.

It seems that we cannot yet normally install packages in this R-devel 
r82368. So I look forward to the day when a stable R 4.3.0 will be 
available. Meanwhile, for my ecological work, I can use R perfectly well 
with the versions 4.1.3 and 4.2.0 that I have here, so, from my 
viewpoint, this R 4.3.0 can take its time to come to light.

I can only thank you very much, and all the other people who took part 
in this discussion, for the quick fix to this issue.

Best regards,

Paulo Barata

(Rio de Janeiro - Brazil)


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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