[R] GUI's for teaching

Agustin Lobo alobo at paleo.ija.csic.es
Wed Jun 26 10:09:24 CEST 2002

My 2 cents (of Euro):

I was a user of Splus 3.x under unix and then 
Splus 4.5 under windows, so I did pass from an environment
with no GUI at all to another one in which an important effort
had been done to complement the command
line with a comprehensive menu. I must confess that
I was dazzled by the Splus 4.5 environment, but after
one week the only use of the menu was the object browser
(I tend to have too many objects...) and the interactive
editing of the graphics.

I do not think that R is an appropriate tool for people
who would use it occasionally, there are lots of other
packages for that, but I understand that a gui would
help many people to start using R. It's not that they would actually
use it a lot, it's rather that they would know that it exist and
be in peace... Where I think that a gui does make a lot of sense
is for people making an specific R-based application for the
particular needs of a given lab.

Personally, where I miss a menu-based application is for
interactive graphics. For example, after ploting
two vectors with an R function, it would be nice
to change the scale, colors etc.  , but perhaps it makes
more sense to use or link to an specific application
for this purpose (i.e. like with xgobi).

For some users that I know, the real problem
with R is that it's very hard to carry out
an analysis if you do not understand it. But,
is this a disadvantage? Not at all, in particular
for teaching.


Dr. Agustin Lobo
Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra (CSIC)
Lluis Sole Sabaris s/n
08028 Barcelona SPAIN
tel 34 93409 5410
fax 34 93411 0012
alobo at ija.csic.es

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