[ESS] Is there a way of incorporating graphics in ESS transcripts?

Tony Plate tplate at acm.org
Fri Jan 6 19:06:25 CET 2006

I'm looking for an easy way to incorporate graphics in ESS transcripts, 
so that I can have plots as well as text and tabular output in a text 
transcript of an R session.  I want to use this as way of keeping track 
of the work I do, in an interactive & ongoing manner (i.e., as I develop 
& run new commands, I want to add the commands and output, both text and 
graphical, to my transcript.)

I've searched through the ESS documentation, and searched on the WWW, 
but I can't find anything that talks about incorporating R graphics in 
ESS transcripts.  (Did I miss anything?)

It looks like Emacs has gained the ability to display graphics in files, 
but I'm not sure whether this is usable in ordinary text files (or 
whether there are any suitable vector graphics formats that can be used.)

Alternatives that I've considered are:

(1) AucTex with its preview feature.  The disadvantage of this is that 
it makes it more cumbersome to keep a simple transcript, and what mode 
would I use for the buffer that contained the transcript? -- probably 
some tex mode, whereas I would prefer an ess mode.

(2) OpenOffice.org writer document.  At work I'm currently using a 
system where I've got OpenOffice.org & S-PLUS talking to each other and 
can easily insert graphics in the document, and send commands from 
transcripts in the document to S-PLUS.  However, I'd rather edit my 
transcripts in emacs, and I haven't done the work to get OpenOffice.org 
talking with R.

(3) Sweave.  This appears to produce very nice documents, but AFAICS 
it's not suitable for my purposes because I need to be able to 
interactively modify & rerun just selected commands from the 
transcripts.  My work involves intensive computation, so a document 
might have commands that take several weeks to run.  Rerunning all the 
commands whenever something is changed or added to is not feasible.

Any suggestions?

Tony Plate

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