[R-gui] Re: [R] Feedback about SciViews?

Byron Ellis bellis at hsph.harvard.edu
Tue Apr 29 15:30:48 CEST 2003

On Tuesday, April 29, 2003, at 07:13  AM, Duncan Murdoch wrote:

> On Tue, 29 Apr 2003 11:31:44 +0200, you wrote:
>> R for Windows already comes with a (simple) GUI.
>> Many of the R developers would rather think mostly about GUI
>> efforts that are platform INDEPENDENT, such as the standard Tcl/Tk
>> package (try "library(tcltk)" and the demos from "demo(package =
>> "tcltk")" in R), and the RGtk (http://www.omegahat.org/RGtk/) one.
> That's true, but as the Windows maintainer, I would *love* to have an
> alternative to Rgui.  The Graphapp package that underlies it is not
> easy to work with.
> I think the best long term strategy is to have a clean division
> between the user interface aspects of R (which are necessarily
> platform dependent) and the underlying computing engine (which should

Precisely. I would actually say that R is -not- platform independent in 
that it expects a certain type of GUI--- a shell process living on 
STDIN and STDOUT that talks to an out-of-process Window Server of some 
sort. Most of the work done in the Windows GUI is spent faking that 
environment to make R think its still running on a X Server somewhere 
and similar work was done for the Mac/Carbon port (obviously, Darwin R 
can happily use Apple's X server). REventLoop takes some steps as does 
the work on embedding, but its still safer to run the "GUI" stuff 
out-of-process and even then not foolproof.

If you want true platform independence you really have to consider 
independence in terms of style of interaction as well as operating 
system. Some people really dig on ESS, some like to click things. 
Personally, I like my plots inline with my code. All should be able to 
first-class GUI citizens if they so desire.

> be platform independent).  It should be as easy to experiment with the
> user interface as it is to experiment with other aspects of
> statistical computing.  TCL/TK is one way to realize this, but should
> not be the only one.
> Duncan Murdoch
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Byron Ellis (bellis at hsph.harvard.edu)
"Oook" - The Librarian

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