[R] Easy, Robust and Stable GUI???

Philippe Grosjean phgrosjean at sciviews.org
Mon Jan 23 23:43:26 CET 2006

Yes, Rcmdr is certainly the closest match. Note, however, that there are 
good reasons not to replicate SPSS style of GUI. This is because driving 
an analysis using scripts has three major advantages:

- flexibility: a good, high-level programming language allows to do much 
more than even the best GUI. This is because, as soon as you have 
programmed a dialog box, you restrict possibilities to the couple of 
choices that you hardcoded in that dialog box. With R, the only limit is 
your imagination (if something does not exist, you can program it by 

- traceability: with a GUI, how do you remember all the mouse clicks 
that led you to a given analysis? On the contrary, a script is an 
accurate record of all steps.

- comprehension: to construct a R script, you must understand the 
analysis. R forces to learn the logic behind *before* you can run that 
analysis. With a menu/dialog box interface, you can click everywhere and 
get results "by chance". Statistical packages with intuitive GUIs tend 
to stimulate lazyness: "here, come! Look like I am a sexy GUI! Look, I 
am sooo easy to use! And I can deliver you plenty of results, ... No, 
no, don't be afraid, you don't need to understand what you're doing. 
Just click me!".

So, all GUIs proposed for R are just ways to learn in an easier way how 
to write R scripts. Even R Commander tries hard to stimulate use of R 
scripts... and you should consider a lack of a "good GUI" for R as a 
sign of quality and nothing else.


Philippe Grosjean

Achim Zeileis wrote:
> On Mon, 23 Jan 2006 12:44:49 -0800 (PST) pat_primate (sent by
> Nabble.com) wrote:
>>I know that this isn't really a R help question, but I am a
>>psychology student at TRU (tru.ca) and my psych department is going
>>to be switching statistical software in the near future.  I thought
>>this might be a good oppertunity to advocate for open source if an
>>acceptable option is available.  I have looked around a bit and R
>>seems to be the most stable and mature (not to mention powerful) open
>>source statistical program going.  The only downfall is that the
>>school has been using spss for years and would demand a similarly
>>user friendly GUI based statistical program to replace it.  I have
>>looked at a few of the R guis and most of them look like they are
>>just command line interfaces in pretty desktop windows and not really
>>a gui like spss.  If anyone knows of any stable, userfriendly and
>>robust guis for R that would be similar to using spss please let me
>>know, as I would love for my school to start embracing open source
> Have you looked at John Fox's "Rcmdr" package?
> See
>   http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Misc/Rcmdr/
> and
>   John Fox (2005). "The R Commander: A Basic-Statistics Graphical User
>   Interface to R", Journal of Statistical Software, 14(9). URL
>   http://www.jstatsoft.org/
> Also look at http://www.sciviews.org/_rgui/ for an overview of other
> GUI projects.
> Best,
> Z
>>View this message in context:
>>Sent from the R help forum at Nabble.com.
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