[R] curiosity question: new graphics vs. old graphics subsystem

ivo welch ivowel at gmail.com
Sat Jul 1 20:23:25 CEST 2006

I just read paul murrell's new book, R graphics.

now, I have always used the traditional graphics system.  apparently,
the new (trellis?) system is an entirely separate graphics system.
after reading the book, I cannot figure out what the intrinsic
capability advantage of the old graphics system is that cannot be
replicated in the trellis system.

if the new system's capabilities are practically a subset of the old
system, why don't we design a compatibility layer so that we can just
have one graphics subsystem, instead?  it seems weird that newbies
learn the standard system first, and then, instead of building on it
with more complex functions, are told to forget about things and start
with something new.  I do like the simplicity of learning of the old
system, but this would be the same if it were to come through a
compatibility layer, too.  and then it would be easy to build learning
on it.

but maybe I have it all wrong.  maybe there is something unique about
the old system that the new system cannot do.  curious:  what is it?

I also found the naming of the new system confusing.  there is
trellis, there is lattice, there is grid.  how exactly should the new
system be called?  paul calls the old system "traditional."  the new
one seems to rear its head in different forms.

some other opinions (which follow the old rule that everyone has one):

* if we had one graphics subsystem, paul's book, and for this matter
any explanation of the R graphics system, would become more

* R is, IMHO, the premier "programmed graphics" package today.  I may
be complaining, but I also recognize that it is great.  so, please
consider this to be only a suggestion.

* we have a pixmap image function.  we should also have a pdf
includegraphics function, which can import an existing graphics image.
 if a device (X11) is incapable of displaying it, we should just
display a rectangle of the bounding box.  this would open up even more
avenues to the ability of R to create graphics.



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