[R-SIG-Mac] please recommend an editor
Kasper Daniel Hansen
khansen at stat.Berkeley.EDU
Tue Dec 6 21:29:59 CET 2005
As several people have replied, Emacs is by far the preferred choice
for most serious R developers. Using the ESS package with Emacs
provides you with an interface to R which goes beyond just syntax
highlightning. An example (which Simon has already described): you
can press a key combination to start looking up in the help system.
Typing plot. and pressing TAB will then give you alist of help pages
for functions starting with plot. amongst the loaded packages. This
is extremely useful. There are other features such as the ability to
send a single line of code or a single function to R (instead of
sourcing the whole script). For package writes there are also nice
modes for .Rd files and (in case you use it) saved transcript files
(you can eg. say you entire transcript from an R session and remove
all the output, leaving only the commands as a sourcable R script.).
Ess supports Sweave documents as well.
Emacs has other advantages:
* it is truly cross-platform, a big advantage if you are also using
*NIX servers and/or windows
* it supports basically any kind of language out there, so if you
write in a set of different language, it makes sense to use a single
* One small lifesaver for statisticians (and others): it supports
rectangular cut and paste: imagine being able to cut out a column
from a table...
Other editors does the same, but the functionality of the ESS package
is to my knowledge not present in any other editor, making Emacs a
first choice for R users.
Having said all of that, Emacs is a big program (which btw. is older
than dos), with some learning curve. It will take you a long time
before you feel totally at home in it. And you will spend the first
couple of months cursing about the strange key combinations and the
small quirks. So do not even think of using it unless you plan to do
more than write 10 lines of R code.
As Jan has said: you do not in any way need to run X11 to run Emacs,
although it makes sense to use x11 to plot graphics.
Other people have suggested other editors for the causal user.
On Dec 5, 2005, at 2:07 PM, Hai Lin wrote:
> Hi R-Mac users:
> I am using R in Mac OS 10.3.8 and I am trying to find an editor
> which is compatible with R in Mac. I recently bumped into Xcode for
> a few times in Mac when I directly opened scripts. Would Xcode be a
> good editor to learn? Are there a lot people use it?
> I don't know what you use to edit your files. Can you recommend?
> Thanks for any information.
> Single? There's someone we'd like you to meet.
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