[Rd] Bridging R to OpenOffice

Roger Bivand Roger.Bivand at nhh.no
Wed Mar 28 12:25:03 CEST 2007

On Wed, 28 Mar 2007, Hin-Tak Leung wrote:

> Hmm, if all you are interested is reading/writing Excel spreadsheets
> from R, there are much lighter and easier ways of doing it, than
> hooking up with openoffice. The Perl people have had
> Spreadsheet::ParseExcel and Spreadsheet::WriteExcel for years (and
> they work quite well, personal experience). Those are tiny
> (a couple of Mb's?) compared to the size of openoffice.

I don't think this is the problem here - the proposal says: "Create an
add-on component that allows a Calc user to let the R environment do
calculations on data from Calc cells and put the results into the
spreadsheet again". It feels much more like embedding R in the OO
spreadsheet and/or elsewhere, which would be similar to using DCOM in
Excel. There would also be questions about how tightly integrated an
embedded R should be, how functionality would be provided and documented,
and how such a setup ought to be administered and maintained.

As RExcel, the structure depends crucially on having joint expertise in
place to write and maintain the R script glue (dialogues) to provide the
functionality being added to Calc. Typically, this would be something an
organisation of some size might need, but it would be unlikely to be a GUI
for novice R users unwilling to scale the learning curve (a steep learning
curve, of course, means learn a lot in a short time, hence a good thing!).


> Leonard Mada wrote:
> > Dear members of the R Development Team,
> > 
> > I am looking for people with a deep understanding of R internals to 
> > assist in bridging R to OpenOffice.
> > 
> > While R is a state of the art statistical environment, less experienced 
> > users often find it difficult to work with R. Therefore, I believe that 
> > a bridge between R and a spreadsheet program will make this transition 
> > less painful. I sincerely believe that this will benefit both the R 
> > community as well as the potential new users.
> > 
> > OpenOffice is an open-source office suite that includes a spreadsheet 
> > program (Calc).
> > 
> > OpenOffice.org (OOo) is participating in the Google Summer of Code 2007 
> > initiative sponsored by Google and one of the proposed projects involves 
> > the creation of an add-on component that allows an OOo Calc user to let 
> > the R environment do calculations on data from Calc cells and put the 
> > results into the spreadsheet again. A brief description can be found on 
> > the OOo Summer of Code wiki page 
> > (http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Summer_of_Code_2007).
> > 
> > Two students have already shown interest in this project (see the OOo 
> > mailing list, 
> > http://sc.openoffice.org/servlets/BrowseList?listName=dev&from=2007-03-01&to=2007-03-31&by=date&first=21&selectedPage=2, 
> > the "Summer of Code: R and Calc" thread).
> > 
> > While mentoring is already available from a member of the OpenOffice 
> > team (I will try to offer a helping hand on statistics and R-syntax, but 
> > NOT the coding part itself), I feel that we still need someone with 
> > R-core expertise. I am aware of various existing packages (rcom, RDCOM) 
> > and the availability of various online-informations (like 
> > http://developer.r-project.org/embedded.html), however more specific 
> > questions may arise in the future, especially as this embedding should 
> > be platform-independent, and I would welcome any help from the R-core 
> > team members.
> > 
> > I am looking forward to hear from you and hope that this project will be 
> > a great success. I would like to thank you in advance for your effort.
> > 
> > Sincerely,
> > 
> > Leonard Mada
> > 
> > ______________________________________________
> > R-devel at r-project.org mailing list
> > https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
> ______________________________________________
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Roger Bivand
Economic Geography Section, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of
Economics and Business Administration, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen,
Norway. voice: +47 55 95 93 55; fax +47 55 95 95 43
e-mail: Roger.Bivand at nhh.no

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