[R] Debugging a program written in the R language

Michael H. Prager Mike.Prager at noaa.gov
Wed Mar 8 22:34:12 CET 2006

 From the R prompt, try typing


A good editor, specialized for working with R source on Windows, is Tinn-R.

on 3/8/2006 4:12 PM Thomas L Jones said the following:
> >From Tom:
> The subject is debugging a program written in the R language,under 
> Windows. (Sorry, but I do not know either the Apple OS or *nix.) A 
> computer program will usually not work on the first try, if only 
> because of the risk of typos. Instead, it must be debugged. Roughly, 
> here is the sequence:
> (1) One codes a program using the R language,  and stores it on the 
> hard drive, using some particular editor.
> (2) The program is fed to the R software, together with test data, 
> etc.
> (3) A test computation is run and bugs are spotted.
> (4) The program is corrected, using an editor, and the revised version 
> is stored on the hard drive.
> (5) The sequence goes back to step (2) and is repeated until the 
> program hopefully works.
> Unfortunately, the documentation doesn't really explain how to do all 
> of this, or if it is explained in the documentation, I can't find it.
> Reading between the lines a bit, I infer that you are supposed to be 
> able to use something called a History file, then sort of work 
> backward in the code and make corrections. I never got it to work for 
> me. Also, it is unclear how you would handle code entered six weeks or 
> six months ago.
> That is the bad news; the good news is that some kind soul told me 
> about a key trick; prepare the program in Windows text format (.txt) 
> and copy it and paste it into the console. The program will now run 
> from a user-defined "wrapper" or "driver" function.
> I am aware that there is an editor called Emacs which you can use if 
> you are a member of the *nix community, which I am not.
> Question: How are you -supposed- to debug a program which you have 
> written in the R language?
> Tom
> Thomas L. Jones, Ph.D., Computer Science
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Michael Prager, Ph.D.
Population Dynamics Team, NMFS SE Fisheries Science Center
NOAA Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research
Beaufort, North Carolina  28516
Opinions expressed are personal, not official.  No
government endorsement of any product is made or implied.

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