[R] A comment about R:

Philippe Grosjean phgrosjean at sciviews.org
Wed Jan 4 20:35:17 CET 2006

David Forrest wrote:
 > [...]
 > Any volunteers?

Yes, me (well, partly...)! Here is what I propose: this is a very 
lengthy thread in R-Help, with many interesting ideas and suggestions. I 
fear that, as it happens too often, those nice ideas will be lost 
because of the support used: email! By nature, emails are read and then 
deleted (well, there is the R-Help archive, but anyway, threads in a 
mailing list is not at all the best tool to make collaborative documents 
like those tutorials and co).

I just cooked a little Wiki *dedicated to R beginners* (meaning they can 
contribute too, and are very welcome to discuss their problems -possibly 
trivial for others-). It is available at 
http://www.sciviews.org/_rgui/wiki. For the moment, everyone can edit 
and add pages, but I will restrict rights in the future to logged users 
only (with everybody allowed to log in at any time). So that we will be 
able to track who made changes (authorship).

For those who do not know the Wiki concept, it is a very simple way of 
working together in the same documents. The concept has proven very 
powerful with a good example being Wikipedia, that is becoming one of 
the largest encyclopedia in the world... and also as accurate as 
Encyclopedia Britannica (but read this: 

Here is the introduction of the R (GUI) Wiki:

This Wiki is mainly dedicated to deal with R beginners problems. 
Although we would like to emphasize using R GUIs (Graphical User 
Interfaces), this Wiki is not restricted to those GUIs: one can also 
deal with command-line approaches. The main idea is thus to have 
material contributed by both beginners, and by more advanced R users, 
that will help novices or casual users of R (http://www.r-project.org).


* The various documents in the [[wiki section]] explain how to use 
DokuWiki to edit documents in this site.

* The [[beginners section]] is dedicated to... beginners (share 
experience, expose problems and difficulties useful to share with other 
beginners, or to get help from more advanced people).

* The [[tutorials section]] is the place where you can put various R 
session examples, or short tutorials on either general or specific use of R.

* The [[easier section]] aims to collect together various pieces of R 
code that simplifies various tasks (especially for beginners) and that 
will ultimately be compiled in a “easieR” R packages on CRAN.

* The [[varia section]] is for any material that does not fit in the 
previous sections.

Final note: working with Wikis requires some learning... So, I am not 
sure at all that many R beginners will contribute to this wiki, but, of 
course, I hope so. Just let's pretend that it is a small experiment to 
try answering requests for another Internet space than R-Help, 
specifically dedicated to beginners...

A good starting point would be the following: all people that expressed 
interesting points in this thread could "copy and paste their ideas" to 
new pages in the Wiki.


Philippe Grosjean

  ) ) ) ) )
( ( ( ( (    Prof. Philippe Grosjean
  ) ) ) ) )
( ( ( ( (    Numerical Ecology of Aquatic Systems
  ) ) ) ) )   Mons-Hainaut University, Pentagone (3D08)
( ( ( ( (    Academie Universitaire Wallonie-Bruxelles
  ) ) ) ) )   8, av du Champ de Mars, 7000 Mons, Belgium
( ( ( ( (
  ) ) ) ) )   phone: +, fax: +
( ( ( ( (    email: Philippe.Grosjean at umh.ac.be
  ) ) ) ) )
( ( ( ( (    web:   http://www.umh.ac.be/~econum
  ) ) ) ) )          http://www.sciviews.org
( ( ( ( (

David Forrest wrote:
> On Tue, 3 Jan 2006, Gabor Grothendieck wrote:
> ...
>>In fact there are some things that are very easy
>>to do in Stata and can be done in R but only with more difficulty.
>>For example, consider this introductory session in Stata:
>>Looking at the first few queries,
>>see how easy it is to take the top few in Stata whereas in R one would
>>have a complex use of order.  Its not hard in R to write a function
>>that would make it just as easy but its not available off the top
>>of one's head though RSiteSearch("sort.data.frame") will find one
>>if one knew what to search for.
> This sort of thing points to an opportunity for documentation.  Building a
> tutorial session in R on how one would do a similar analysis would provide
> another method of learning R.  "An Introduction to R" is a good bottom-up
> introduction, which if you work through it does teach you how to do
> several things.  Adapting other tutorials or extended problems, like the
> Stata session, to R would give additional entry points.  A few end-to-end
> tutorials on some interesting analyses would be helpful.
> Any volunteers?
> Dave

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