R-alpha: Windows?

Ross Ihaka (ihaka@stat.auckland.ac.nz)
Thu, 14 Nov 1996 12:35:01 +1300 (NZDT)


From: Ross Ihaka <ihaka@stat.auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 12:35:01 +1300 (NZDT)
Message-Id: <199611132335.MAA05103@stat13.stat.auckland.ac.nz>
To: Peter Dalgaard BSA <pd@kubism.ku.dk>
Subject: R-alpha: Windows?
In-Reply-To: <x2zq0l7hnc.fsf_-_@bush.kubism.ku.dk>

Peter Dalgaard writes:
 > Could someone give a brief update on the windows version status? 

Robert is thinking about it.  He can no doubt give a few more details
when he gets in.

 > It's obvious that things are currently only moving on the Unix front,
 > but is Windows given up completely? Thing is, even though I'm
 > definitely no fan of Windows, the computer classrooms that I can use
 > is equipped with Windows machines. If I'm lucky, maybe NT... I need to
 > make a decision rather soon on whether I can use R in our course in
 > basic stats for medical PhD students next autumn. Also, of  course,
 > the students will be using Windows95 on their own computers (maybe
 > with the occasional Mac once in a while).

Actually I have a version of R for the PPC running on the PowerMac
sitting next to my Sun.  It can process about three statements before
it crashes and burns.  Hopefully this is just a user interface problem
(I have reported it) and it will be fixed soon.  I think a little more
reliability is probably in order before we let it loose.

 > I don't mind putting in a bit of my own elbow grease to make it work
 > (famous last words, I know...) but I'd need a push in the right
 > general direction. I glimpsed through the source dated May 6 from the
 > distribution directory, but I couldn't really make heads or tails of
 > it. What compiler, how to make, etc.?

I believe that Robert has been using Borland, but has been pretty
disgusted with the results.  Microsoft may well be a better bet.

We have really been putting off work on the Windows version until we
have a stable Mac version as a model to work from.

The strategy we have for making R work under the Windows and Mac is to
run an event loop from the code which gets characters for the lexical
analyser.  In Unix we just do "fgets" and then pass the characters on
one at a time.  On the other platforms we get all kinds of events.
We do regular things like window resizes etc as is usual in those
GUIs, but key presses go into a buffer until a '\n' is encountered.
At that point the lexical analysis proceeds until the buffer is
exhausted.  Then the event loop is run again.

I might say that this is completely the wrong way to do things and we
have to fight hard to get things looking remotely GUI-ish.  But R
began life as a little lisp interpreter which real from standard input
and wrote to standard output and its hard to get away from that model.
If we knew then what we know now we would have done things
differently.

I'm sure Robert will have more to add.
	Ross
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