Re: [Rd] options(""), and Windows installer changes

From: Uwe Ligges <>
Date: Wed 05 Jul 2006 - 08:16:11 GMT

Philippe Grosjean wrote:
> Hello,
> Related to Windows installer changes (requests), would it be possible to
> specify whether RGui is installed to run in MDI or SDI mode at start? It
> is as simple as adding a 'Run RGui in SDI mode' option in InnoSetup that
> installs a <Rdir>/etc/Rconsole file containing 'MDI = no' when the
> option is checked.
> Explanation: MDI mode is an old-style and it is less in use now (most
> recent multidocuments programs offer either navigation with tabs, and/or
> SDI mode to manipulate multiple documents; even Microsoft that used the
> MDI style in all its applications is now moving to SDI with Word, Excel,
> ...). Regarding R, the MDI-style in RGui is problematic, or at least
> suboptimal, with many GUIs under Windows.
> Currently, new users that are told to switch to "SDI style in RGui" are
> very intimidated by the procedure: (1) what is SDI versus MDI?, (2) they
> have to open the 'RGui preference' dialog box, make the changes, save
> the file in a particular location, (3) ignore the intimidating warning
> that appears, (4) close RGui and restart it. All this is very, very
> unfriendly for a very first approach to R... and I see it on the face of
> my students!
> With the option in InnoSetup installer, everything would be much
> smoother to get RGui in SDI mode from start.

Yes, that is exactly what Duncan already did!


"The installer can set defaults for MDI/SDI display, help style, and default action on q(). Custom builds of R can change these defaults."

Uwe Ligges

> Thanks for considering this proposition.
> Best,
> Philippe Grosjean
> ..............................................<}))><........
> ) ) ) ) )
> ( ( ( ( ( Prof. Philippe Grosjean
> ) ) ) ) )
> ( ( ( ( ( Numerical Ecology of Aquatic Systems
> ) ) ) ) ) Mons-Hainaut University, Belgium
> ( ( ( ( (
> ..............................................................
> Prof Brian Ripley wrote:

>> On Tue, 4 Jul 2006, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>>> On 7/4/2006 11:57 AM, Uwe Ligges wrote:
>>>> Martin Maechler wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> "Duncan" == Duncan Murdoch <>
>>>>>>>>>>    on Tue, 04 Jul 2006 08:32:08 -0400 writes:
>>>>>    Duncan> I've just committed a couple of changes to R-devel related to requests
>>>>>    Duncan> at userR about the Windows installer.  The first of these affects all
>>>>>    Duncan> platforms, but I've only tested it on Windows:
>>>>>    Duncan> I added an option "".  If TRUE,
>>>>>    Duncan> then the default q("ask") prompt will not offer to
>>>>>    Duncan> save the workspace.  This is in response to the
>>>>>    Duncan> observation that new users who are instructed not to
>>>>>    Duncan> save their workspace, get confused when they
>>>>>    Duncan> accidentally answer Yes to the prompt to save it.
>>>>> Ok...  but I probably misunderstand a bit:
>>>>> The default has not been   q(save = "ask") but  q(save = "default"),
>>>>> and that default has depended on startup.
>>>>> Even now, "R --no-save"  already did have the desired effect,
>>>>> on Unix at least.  For my ESS setup, I have made this an automatic
>>>>> default many months ago.
>>>>> Wouldn't it be easier and sufficient to make "--no-save" a
>>>>> working option on all platforms ?
>>>>> Or is the point really about changing the quitting dialog?
>>>>> For me quitting *without* a dialog is the most important thing
>>>>> which I use (often several times a day).
>>>>>    Duncan> I'm not sure about the wording of the user prompt
>>>>>    Duncan> question, which is now "Quit and discard
>>>>>    Duncan> workspace?".  The problem with this wording is that
>>>>>    Duncan> someone who automatically hits "y" will lose their
>>>>>    Duncan> work.  I've tried on Windows to make the dialog box
>>>>>    Duncan> look different enough that they should be warned.
>>>>> good!
>>>>>    Duncan> I haven't made any change to the Mac GUI to support this.  On
>>>>>    Duncan> Unix-alikes, the text prompt should respect this option.
>>>>>    Duncan> The other change is to the Windows installer, to
>>>>>    Duncan> allow the user to choose whether to set
>>>>>    Duncan>, MDI/SDI display, and help style
>>>>>    Duncan> at install time.  The only (intentional) change to
>>>>>    Duncan> the current behaviour is to default to CHM help
>>>>>    Duncan> instead of plain text.
>>>>> People have asked me in private about this, and I didn't know
>>>>> the answer:
>>>>> Is it true that this means that people can no longer commit the
>>>>> "cheap package install trick" on Windows for  R-code-only
>>>>> packages?
>>>>> Namely
>>>>>  1) install a source package on a Linux/Unix/MacOSX machine
>>>>>     (where it is often simple to have all the necessary tools available)
>>>>>  2) zip the resulting installed package
>>>>>  3) unzip it on the target Windows machine into the corresponding
>>>>>     library (directory).
>>>>> Of course, this trick will not provide any *.chm help files.
>>>>> Will the cheap-installed package still work, using the *.txt (or
>>>>> *.html) help files?
>>>> Well, the user has to ask
>>>>    help(topic, chmhelp = FALSE)
>>>> in this case, or (s)he get the message:
>>>>              No CHM help for 'foo' in package 'pkg' is available:
>>>>      the CHM file for the package is missing
>>>> Perhaps it is possible to arrange some fallback to plain text help if
>>>> chmhelp is not available: in print.help_files_with_topic call print() on
>>>> the "help_files_with_topic" object again, but change attribute "type" to
>>>> "help" before that call ...
>>> Yes, that seems to work.  I'll add that.
>> Before help() was reorganized to use print() methods it used to fall back 
>> to text help if other versions were not available (at least on Windows), 
>> so it does seem sensible to reinstate that.
>> Brian

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