[R-gui] Re: [R] The hidden costs of GPL software?

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Wed Nov 17 15:57:05 CET 2004

On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 14:27:49 +0000, Patrick Burns
<pburns at pburns.seanet.com> wrote :

>In terms of GUIs, I think what R should focus on is the ability for  user's
>to make their own specialized GUI.  So that a knowledgeable programmer
>at an installation can create a system that is easy for unsophisticated
>users for the limited number of tasks that are to be done.  The ultimate
>users may not even need to know that R exists.

I think there is (slow) movement towards that.  Certainly it's
possible now (you can add menus to Rgui in Windows, you can do nice
things like Rcmdr using TCL/TK on any platform).   However, designing
a nice GUI is very hard work.

>I think Ted Harding was on  the mark when he said that it is the help
>system that needs enhancement.  I can imagine a system that gets the
>user to the right function and then helps fill in the arguments; all of the
>time pointing them towards the command line rather than away from

That would be helpful, and the only really difficult part would be the
first part:  getting the user to the right function.  help.search()
sometimes works, but often people ask for the wrong thing.

After that, R knows a lot about the structure of its help files, so it
could display all of the arguments with their defaults and the help
text that corresponds to each argument, as well as the help text for
the rest of the help file.

Probably the main obstacle to getting this is finding someone with the
time and interest to do it.

Duncan Murdoch

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