Re: (G)UI for R and in R

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Subject: Re: (G)UI for R and in R
From: A.J. Rossini (rossini@biostat.washington.edu)
Date: Wed 17 Nov 1999 - 08:54:54 EST


Message-ID: <87u2mmkpxd.fsf@alpha.cfas.washington.edu>

>>>>> "LD" == Lyndon Drake <lyndon@stat.auckland.ac.nz> writes:

LD> Based on this, I'd say that it will be pretty difficult to
LD> replicate ESS's functionality. I guess some people will be
LD> sticking with Emacs (strange people... ;-).

But you should be able to get object completions and the emacs/vi
keybindings :-). Those are the basic needs...

Syntax highlighting would be nice, if easily possible.

>> Now for some less cynical feedback: Looking at your XML code,
>> it'd be nice to have a means of bringing up an example, i.e. a
>> filled out screen with an additional text window which
>> described what could be done (you do/are having a
>> help-feature-window-thingy, right)?
>>
>> I.e. create a button on the window which would show examples
>> for read.table for a tab-sep'd file, CSV file, etc... This
>> would literally be the R-ex files GUI'd up (gooey'd up... I
>> like that one, and so would my 2-year old :-), with a text
>> window described what each or a selected one would do.
>>
>> Tres cool, and we can't really do that to the same extent with
>> ESS (well, we can dump code from the help buffer, but it's
>> really run, not an example!).

LD> Very cool idea. I'll have a think about how to do it (finding
LD> the time to actually implement it is another matter).

Actually, it isn't too hard. Read up on what XSL (the XML
Stylesheets) can do. Basically,

XML interface -> what you described, under one path (my-interface.xml)
              -> the wizards/examples, under another path
                  (my-example-and-wizards.xml)

and then the 2 new *.xml files are used for corresponding stuff...

Best of all, all the information is there in the documentation! (the
R-ex stuff, I mean).

The catch? You need an XSLT engine written in C (or C++). I think
there are a few in C++ (I know there are for Python and Java) but have
no pointers.

For a decent powerpoint example on XSLT which I found incredible lucid
(it's GPL'd -- weird notion, MS formatted information publically
available), see:
        http://www.xfront.org/xsl.html
and follow the links...

best,
-tony

-- 
A.J. Rossini			Research Assistant Professor of Biostatistics 
Center for AIDS Research/HMC	Biostatistics/Univ. of Washington
Box 359931			Box 357232
206-731-3647 (3693=fax)		206-543-1044 (3286=fax)
rossini@u.washington.edu	rossini@biostat.washington.edu
http://www.biostat.washington.edu/~rossini/

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