[R-pkgs] Rcmdr 1.3-0 and RcmdrPlugins.TeachingDemos

John Fox jfox at mcmaster.ca
Tue May 29 22:47:30 CEST 2007

I'd like to announce a new version, 1.3-0, of the Rcmdr package. The Rcmdr
package provides a basic-statistics graphical user interface (GUI) to R. 

Beyond small changes and additions, this new version of the package makes
provision for "plug-ins" that permit extension of the Rcmdr GUI without
altering and rebuilding the Rcmdr source package or modifying the installed
package. An R Commander plug-in is an ordinary R package that (1) provides
extensions to the R Commander menus is a file named menus.txt located in the
package's etc directory; (2) provides call-back functions required by these
menus; and (3) in optional Log-Exceptions: and Models: fields in the
package's DESCRIPTION file, augments respectively the list of functions for
which printed output is suppressed and the list of model objects recognized
by the R Commander. The menus provided by a plug-in package are merged with
the standard Commander menus. 

Plug-in packages given in the R Commander plugins option (see ?Commander)
are automatically loaded when the Commander starts up. Plug-in packages may
also be loaded via the Commander "Tools -> Load Rcmdr plug-in(s)" menu; a
restart of the Commander is required to install the new menus. Finally,
loading a plug-in package when the Rcmdr is not loaded will load the Rcmdr
and activate the plug-in. 

An illustrative R Commander plug-in package, RcmdrPlugin.TeachingDemos
(providing a GUI to some of Greg Snow's TeachingDemos package), is now
available on CRAN. (I suggest using this naming convention -- RcmdrPlugin.*
-- so that plug-in packages will sort immediately below the Rcmdr package on
CRAN. This assumes, of course, that other people will be interested in
creating Rcmdr plugins!)

Because this is a new feature of the Rcmdr, feedback and suggestions would
be appreciated.

I'd like to acknowledge Richard Heiberger's suggestions for the design of
this plug-in facility.


John Fox, Professor
Department of Sociology
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario
Canada L8S 4M4

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