[R] opinions please: text editors and reporting/Sweave?

From: Tim Howard <tghoward_at_gw.dec.state.ny.us>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 16:43:02 -0400

dear all -

I currently use Tinn-R as my text editor to work with code that I submit to R, with some output dumped to text files, some images dumped to pdf. (system: Windows 2K and XP, R 2.4.1 and R 2.5). We are using R for overnight runs to create large output data files for GIS, but then I need simple output reports for analysis results for each separate data set. Thus, I create many reports of the same style, but just based on different input data.

I am recognizing that I need a better reporting system, so that I can create clean reports for each separate R run. This obviously means using Sweave and some implementation of LaTex, both of which are new to me. I've installed MikTex and successfully completed a demo or two for creating pdfs from raw LaTeX.

It appears that if I want to ease my entry into the world of LaTeX, I might need to switch editors to something like Emacs (I read somewhere that Emacs helps with the TeX markup?). After quite a while wallowing at the Emacs site, I am finding that ESS is well integrated with R and might be the way to go. Aaaagh... I'm in way over my head!

My questions:

What, in your opinion, is the simplest way to integrate text and graphics reports into a single report such as a pdf file.

If the answer to this is LaTeX and Sweave, is it difficult to use a text editor such as Tinn-R or would you strongly recommend I leave behind Tinn and move over to an editor that has more LaTeX help?

In reading over Friedrich Leisch's "Sweave User Manual" (v 1.6.0) I am beginning to think I can do everything I need with my simple editor. Before spending many hours going down that path, I thought it prudent to ask the R community.

It is likely I am misunderstanding some of the process here and any clarifications are welcome.

Thank you in advance for any thoughts.
Tim Howard

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