Re: [R] R on Mac PRO does anyone have experience with R on such a platform ?

From: jiho <jo.irisson_at_gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2008 20:08:12 +0100

On 2008-February-11 , at 19:14 , Roger Day wrote:
> My experience with R.app on a MACbook has been mostly very positive.
> I like the interface much better than that of Windows--
> with two exceptions.
>
> a) I use stepping thru code with control-R. It's not as convenient
> on Mac-
> the code you want to run has to be actually selected; not good
> enough just
> to be on the line you want.
> That slows down code-stepping.
> b) saveHistory() doesn't save the history of the current session --
> beware,
> I lost some work that way. you have to actually click a button.
> c) no resizing graphs post-hoc,
> d) saving graphics to a file is inconvenient except for pdf output.
>
> Some plusses are:
> a) better built-in editor (if you're not using ESS), including
> delimiter
> matching
> b) the history pane is nice,
> c) the package installer and manager are nicer than on Win,
> d) autocompletion with ctrl-period,
> e) you can select text on the current or past command line much
> easier,
> f) attractive interface with lots of cosmetic options.
>
> I've done some tkrplot work in both (using X11 in OSX)
> -- some inconsistencies with placement of widgets show up.
>
> This is off the top of my head.
> Check out the mailing list R-sig-mac for more info.

After using R via R-app (which is indeed very nice to start with) I eventually switched to a combination of TextMate + Terminal + CarbonEL - TextMate[1] is a very powerful editor, well worth the $40 price tag, and has nice goodies for R besides syntax highlighting such as command autocompletion, command templates, plenty of snippets, etc. - I run R in a regular Terminal window. This way I get command line editing and searching through history. In addition it makes it as easy to run R on my local machine that on a remote server (useful to run demanding tasks on a large CPU). I can send code from TextMate to the terminal prompt using AppleScript commands in TextMate[2]. This allows to send selected text _or_ current line directly to the Terminal with just a keystroke.
- CarbonEL is a package which allows to plot to a quartz window even from a simple Terminal (quartz is Mac OS X graphics engine). The plots on quartz look gorgeous and going back to X11 would have been a pain. Another similar solution would be to use the Cairo package.

All in all, I fond it a very convenient and flexible way to use R. It has the added bonus that the same combination (TM+Terminal) works for anything that can run in a terminal window (MATLAB, Scilab, python etc.). So, even if you don't use only R, you can keep the same habits with a nice editor.

I haven't tried Emacs+ESS. I've heard a lot of good things about it but learning Emacs is a task in itself.

[1] http://macromates.com/
[2] modification of those http://jo.irisson.free.fr/?p=32 for the built-in Terminal, since Terminal on Leopard finally has tabs

JiHO

---
http://jo.irisson.free.fr/

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