Re: [Rd] How graphical an interface should the default be?

From: Robert Gentleman <rgentlem_at_fhcrc.org>
Date: Fri 25 Feb 2005 - 22:54:31 EST

On Feb 25, 2005, at 3:11 AM, Prof Brian Ripley wrote:

> install/update.packages will have a lot of changes in 2.1.0, and I
> have been adding some widgets to go along with this.
>
> - Rather than just CRAN and BIOC, you have a character vector of
> repositories. There is a function setRepositories() to set the
> appropriate option().
>
> - There is no default CRAN, but a function chooseCRANmirror() to set a
> mirror, which is invoked if you try to access CRAN without setting a
> mirror.
>
> - update.packages(ask="graphics") brings up a listbox for you to
> de-select
> packages (all available updates are pre-selected).
>
> - install.packages() with no/empty pkgs argument brings up a listbox of
> all available packages (including those inside bundles).
>
> - menu(graphics=TRUE) is implemented.
>
> These can be set up to use widgets where available (Windows, if Tk is
> available under X11, I hope Aqua before release), and have a text-mode
> fallback (better than the current menu(), but in that spirit). (Except
> that is install.packages: text-mode selection from 480 packages even
> in three columns is not useful to me, but a scrolling list works well
> as Windows users of R already know.)
>
> My question is:
>
> What should be default be?
>
> Options might be:
>
> - use the graphics widget if available.
>
> - make the graphics the default on Windows (it will always be
> available,
> but not necessarily on the right screen under DCOM uses).
>
> - make text-mode the default on Unix.
>
> - do different things for different tools. Currently setRepositories()
> and chooseCRANmirror() default to graphics-if-possible, and
> update.packages() defaults to text mode (which gives more
> detailed information).
>
> I am not really in favour of making the defaults a set of options, but
> that is possible.
>
>
> This is a request for input on what would be a good compromise for
> general R users (and not just the R-devel audience).
>

Hi,
Thanks for taking this on - it looks like a big step forward. I have some pretty minor comments/questions. We will, of course, try to adapt the BioC code in time...

  We probably want to be sure that any function calling one of these has complete control and can override user defined defaults.

  I am not completely clear on your model for how the repositories are searched though. Two questions come to mind: 1) How do I get the most recent version of a package, regardless of which repository it is in? 2) Can a package from one repository have its dependencies resolved in another repository, or not? (this last one is a real can of worms - in my view, as one might really prefer a same repository solution, but that means that repositories might need to completely contain CRAN - which is clearly less desirable). And of course this may be too fine a level of detail, but these problems have come up in our experience.

I think it would be nice if getting dependencies had two (or more levels), so that I could get only those packages that the current package "Depends" on, and a second level where I could get both the "Suggests" and the "Depends". For me (at least) Suggests is weaker, and for many users the "Suggests" set of packages is not always needed - the "Depends" set, is though. Currently the dependencies option seems to only allow TRUE and FALSE.

  Robert

>
> --
> Brian D. Ripley, ripley@stats.ox.ac.uk
> Professor of Applied Statistics, http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
> University of Oxford, Tel: +44 1865 272861 (self)
> 1 South Parks Road, +44 1865 272866 (PA)
> Oxford OX1 3TG, UK Fax: +44 1865 272595
>
> ______________________________________________
> R-devel@stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>
>

+----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
----------------+
| Robert Gentleman              phone: (206) 667-7700                    
          |
| Head, Program in Computational Biology   fax:  (206) 667-1319   |
| Division of Public Health Sciences       office: M2-B865               
       |
| Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center                                 
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| email: rgentlem@fhcrc.org                                              
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https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel Received on Fri Feb 25 23:14:37 2005

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