[R] re: GUI's for teaching

RenE J.V.Bertin rjvbertin at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 7 18:29:03 CEST 2002


Another praiseworthy initiative, especially point 7!! :)) However, concerning point 6, I have some doubts. Java is undoubtedly very cross-platform, but it also quite slow and a drain on resources. If you are considering Omegahat's SJava: the Windows binary is obsolete although that may be easy to remediate, and the source pakage requires an SDK to be installed, something not everybody needs otherwise. I don't know the other alternatives well enough -- I didn't like what I saw of wxWindows, though :) -- but they do not appear to be used very widely. Why don't you consider gtk? This is actively being actively developped, there exists an associated resource editor (glade), it runs on multiple platforms, and last-but-not-least there is already a beginning of a GUI interface for R written using it. An alternative is TrollTech's QT, the powerful basis for the KDE environment. It too exists on multiple platforms, and may actually be more platform-independent than GTK. I think it may be used freely in open source projects.
As to the interface design: did you see my post in this thread where I mentioned NCSS? It has a simple interface design that is quite elegant and self-explaining, and that should be easy to interface to a CLI environment like R inherently is.
I do not at this point volunteer as a developper, but I certainly will want to beta-test once you're a bit further advanced with the project!

RenE Bertin

PS: univ. of B.C., that's in wonderful Vancouver, isn't it? How are the dogwoods this year?
Hi Folks,

I'm sorry I missed this message. Myself and a Professor at a California
university are currently designing a simplified R GUI that is targeted at
Linux, FreeBSD, MacOSX, and Windows and will provide an interface to doing
"canned" procedures and project based operations. I'm currently building
The tentative name for it is obveRsive woRkbench, and it is currently way to
early to even guess at a release date or even if the project is actually
feasible. Since the project will be open source, I'm hoping to get a few
collaborators on it (hint hint). It will be hosted on sourceforge or an
equivalent when we are ready.
6. Utilizing a cross platform GUI system, either FLTK or wxWindows in C++
or Java (depending on which is easier and more stable).
7. Heavily user tested with a focus on usability, targeting students and
regular folks, not professors of statistics :-)

Any commments on this are more than welcome, and we'll be announcing it
officially soon.

Zed A. Shaw
University of British Columbia 
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