[R] kate editor for R

Frank E Harrell Jr f.harrell at vanderbilt.edu
Fri Jan 19 14:12:54 CET 2007

Ramon Diaz-Uriarte wrote:
> On Friday 19 January 2007 03:30, Frank E Harrell Jr wrote:
>> Like kile for LaTeX, Linux/KDE's kate editor is an excellent editor for
>> R, with easy code submission to a running R process.  Syntax
>> highlighting is good.  I have  not been able to figure out two things:
>> - how to automatically reformat a line or region of text using good
>> indentation rules (Emacs/ESS make this so easy by just hitting Tab while
>> the cursor is in a line, or highlighting a region and hitting Esq q)
>> - how to cause auto-indenting as you type braces.  For me, kate puts a {
>> in column one
>> Thanks for any pointers.
> Dear Frank,
> May I ask why you are moving to Kate from Emacs? I tried Kate with R (and 
> Python and LaTeX) and I really liked the folding (which seems a lot better 
> than all the not-really-functional hacks for getting folding with R and 
> Python code) and some of the function/class browsers.
> However, I specially missed:
> a) the possibility of opening as many R processes as I want, and placing that 
> buffer in wherever place and with whichever size I want.
> b) most of the rest of emacs, actually (hey, where did my shells go? and my 
> org-mode buffer? and my ...; not to talk about the keybindings).
> If you feel like it, I'd like to hear about your impressions.
> R.

Good question Ramon.  We have dozens of R users in our department and 
many of them were not brought up on Emacs and find it hard to learn.  We 
are looking for an alternative to recommend for them.  I love Emacs 
myself and find that it is the fastest editor by a significant margin, 
and I am used to its keybindings.  But I prefer kate for printing and 
for managing multiple files in a project.  kate has a nice sidebar for 
navigating the files, and indicates which files have been changed since 
they were saved.  kate also schematically depicts nested code with side 
symbols connected by vertical lines for {}.  Scrolling of the R output 
window is a little more logical in kate than in ESS.  I find myself 
having to type Esc-shift-> often in ESS/Emacs to get to the bottom of 
the R output but kate puts the cursor at the bottom.  Also I get a 
little frustrated with package management in Xemacs (I know however that 
it's nice to be able to load thousands of packages) related to file 
permissions, ftp commands, anonymous logins, etc.  And from a purely 
"looks" standpoint kate is superior.

I tried jedit for a bit.  jedit has a lot of nice features but also has 
problems with indenting in R.


>> Frank

Frank E Harrell Jr   Professor and Chair           School of Medicine
                      Department of Biostatistics   Vanderbilt University

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