[R] mozilla and R -- again

david.whiting@ncl.ac.uk david.whiting at ncl.ac.uk
Fri Mar 28 09:02:55 CET 2003

On Thu, Mar 27, 2003 at 05:19:25PM -0800, Thomas Lumley wrote:
> On Thu, 27 Mar 2003, Frank E Harrell Jr wrote:
> >
> > With all the problems using java-based search on Linux I was wondering
> > why java was needed.  Could this have been done more simply?  I am not
> > very knowledgeable about java so please forgive me if the answer is
> > obvious.
> Well, the searching needs a search program to be run, triggered by
> something you do in the browser.
> This requires either a program that can run in the browser (Java, as
> JavaScript I don't think can handle this sort of thing) or requires some
> way of calling R from the browser (even worse).
> Better solutions would seem to require either R doing the HTML rendering
> or R running an HTTP server.  Neither is out of the question, but it isn't
> straightforward.  Stata uses the former solution and I believe SAS uses
> the latter.
> 	-thomas

I have just set up emacs to work with a text browser called w3m (using
emacs-w3m).  This is light and fast and displays webpages in an emacs
buffer.  It is surprisingly useful.  I also have a little function
that takes the output of help.search() and creates a webpage with
hyperlinks and can therefore do a search that creates a webpage and
then display the webpage in an emacs buffer.

I have just start trying to cobble something together that combines
these more formally and hope that I should be able to do something
like M-x help-search, enter a search phrase and display the results as
a webpage with links all in emacs/ESS/w3m.  I don't have a clue about
lisp (except that it seems to involve lots of brackets and has a
considerable history) so this will is unlikely to move forward very
fast.  This does not provide all of the functionality of help.start()
but might be a way of getting free of these java issues (for those
happy to use emacs and ESS that is).

I am doing this on linux, but w3m is also available for MS Windows.

BTW just to push it I also used sweave(), xtable and latex2html
together - it was quite interesting, although latex2html does not
recognise the code environment - something else to tiniker with,
perhaps.  I haven't yet tried the html package that was announced here
a short while ago, but the possibility of combining these as an
alternative way of displaying output from R (esp. large tables?) could
be fun to explore.


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Dave Whiting
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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