[R] Restoration of "rite" package of R as R-script editor or the like

Avi Gross @v|gro@@ @end|ng |rom ver|zon@net
Wed May 25 04:25:17 CEST 2022

This is changing from a discussion about the rite of passage for non-programmers using the defunct "rite" editing software by a software wright who no longer writes, to talking about finding the right software for the purpose.

Kidding and wordplay aside, both public and private software is not static and as the years go by, much of it stops working as you keep upgrading aspects of the environment such as a new faster CPU and operating systems and so on. Lots of for-sale software simply stops being supported albeit you can often buy an upgrade.

I used Lotus 123 many ages ago and eventually moved to EXCEL or Google Sheets or doing similar things using programming languages or statistical packages and so on. It was discontinued a while ago and I suspect users eventually had to migrate as older versions might stop working on newer machines or they might have trouble loading it on a machine without a CD drive and so on.

There is no reason to expect anyone to keep maintaining a package especially if they don't have many remaining users. It is perhaps worse when a language changes drastically. R has changed largely incrementally. But a language like PYTHON did a major shift between version 2 and version 3 that required serious effort to make a module work under the new way and thus many remained behind and so did many users who relied on them too much.

However, I can relate to the problem of how to teach a course in a way that gets certain points across without making it a full-time job. It sounds like the goal here is to take people without major computer experience who do not particularly wish to be programmers but want to use some statistical tools available in R. Many may even mainly want to take sample R programs and lightly edit them to specify their own data file names and perhaps edit a few column names, and just run the same analysis.

So teaching them all about the operating system and how to back up files and connect to some kind of source code control system as they make changes and organize things in folders and projects, or use various alternate methods to do things may be overkill. Simple may be easier and take less class time to deal with and leave time for what is actually what the class seems to be about. It sounds like applied statistics, not so much about lots of math and theories. Many computer languages could be used as well as expensive statistical packages that likely cost too much. 

I suspect a course like that may want to teach a fairly limited amount of R focused on statistical functions and a few well-chosen packages.

I still think R STUDIO is what I would use but for other reasons. I feel it is very important in many data analysis situations to be able to examine the data and make all kinds of tables and graphs whether using mostly base R graphics or something I find more flexible and expressive like ggplot. The complex looking RSTUDIO layout integrates the graphical output into a part of the same interface andlets you go back and forth in a sort of history of the images you have made. Throw in lots of info (overlaid in the same area) about HELP,as well as a fairly extensive sets of abilities to combine text output with programs in a way that can be shared, or made into a PDF or web page or WORD doc and so on, and you can teach the students only what is needed but have them able to stretch and take advantage of more. The simpler basic package is FREE and more functionality that you may not need is available if they end up working in a place that uses it.

But if all you want sounds like a TEXT EDITOR, there are so many available including things like notepad (with or without a ++) to editing in many word processors like WORD and saving it as "text" and making sure it does the substitutions such as leaving regular unmatched quotes.

Of course if your students are using older machines in 640x400 mode and so on, RSTUDIO may not be a great choice. Are they? 

-----Original Message-----
From: Gabor Grothendieck <ggrothendieck using gmail.com>
To: Akhilesh Singh <akhileshsingh.igkv using gmail.com>
Cc: r-help mailing list <r-help using r-project.org>; r-help-owner using r-project.org
Sent: Tue, May 24, 2022 8:25 pm
Subject: Re: [R] Restoration of "rite" package of R as R-script editor or the like

Soren Hojsgaard had also written a tcltk based editor R package and although
it is deprecated too it may be simpler than rite in which case it is
more likely to work.  Contact him (he has other packages on CRAN)
and see if he would send it to you and if it fits your needs.

On Sun, May 22, 2022 at 12:54 AM Akhilesh Singh
<akhileshsingh.igkv using gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Sir,
> I am a professor at Indira Gandhi Agricultural University, Raipur,
> Chhattisgarh, India. I have been teaching statistics in my department since
> 1986.
> Almost since the last 10 years, I have included R capabilities in doing
> practical-classes of various statistics courses in my department. I use the
> default R-script editor that comes with RGUI.exe for that purpose. *But,
> this text editor is too simple without syntax highlighting etc. And RStudio
> is too heavy for the UG/PG level students who are basically from
> agriculture stream.*
> Meanwhile, I came across a "rite" package which was earlier maintained
> by Thomas
> J. Leeper <thosjleeper using gmail.com>. Now, it has been put into archives and
> not being maintained by anyone.
> At present, I am using the "rite" package for students' practical classes.
> But, I am facing difficulties using it. Sometimes, it hangs unnecessarily,
> and some of its features do not work, probably because it is not being
> maintained anymore by CRAN.
> Therefore, to remove this difficulty, the "rite" package must be maintained.
> Sir, "rite" package is a very light weight editor for R codes suitable for
> teaching to beginner students, with syntax highlighting facility and with
> the facility of generating reports into HTML, markdown etc.
> Therefore, I request you ,*one and all who are in control, to kindly make
> sure to include the "rite" package into the regular packages with proper
> maintenance, which will immensely help the beginner students to learn R*.
> Or,
> Kindly make sure that the *default R-script-editor gets the syntax
> highlighting features and capability of creating basic reports*.
> Or,
> Kindly make a lighter version of RStudio *for beginner student-level only,
> like the "rite" package,*  for executing R-scripts and for generating some
> basic reports.
> *In fact, the lack of a proper R-script editor is a major handicap among
> the beginner students to learn R.*
> Therefore, I earnestly request your kind attention to this problem.
> Thaing you.
> Dr. A.K. Singh
> Professor and Ex-Head (Agricultural Statistics)
> Department of Agricultural Statistics and Social Science (L)
> Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur-492 012,
> Chhattisgarh, India
> Mobile: +918770625795
> Email: akhileshsingh.igkv using gmail.com
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Statistics & Software Consulting
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email: ggrothendieck at gmail.com

R-help using r-project.org mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
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