[Rd] R Wish List

From: Gabor Grothendieck <ggrothendieck_at_gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 01 Jan 2010 08:36:49 -0500

This is my 2010 Wish list for R. Most of these have been discussed on r-help or r-devel already so this is more of a wrap-up. The first 4 relate to R itself, the next 2 to the R environment and the last 4 relate to using R with other languages:


  1. Strings. Some way of placing backslashes in literal strings without escaping them. This is useful for latex, regular expressions and Windows filepaths. C# and scripting languages such as Ruby, python, perl, etc. have various ways to handle this which might be used as a model. Also related to this is a way of having both single and double quotes within a string without escaping either.
  2. read.table
  3. read.table allows double quotes arround numerics if colClasses is not specified but if colClasses = "numeric" then it does not. There should be some easy way to specify the default behavior when colClasses is specified.
  4. argument to specify how many rows read.table uses to establish the column classes. All rows, i.e. Inf, should be a possible option (i.e. entire file passed through twice).
  5. support png(con), pdf(con), etc. where con is a connection to be written to.

4.Cross Platform Consistency. Improve consistency of R across platforms:

  1. provide analog of Windows R gui Paste Commands Only menu on other platforms
  2. support "clipboard" as in readLines("clipboard") on Mac
  3. shell command works on Windows, check if its available on other platforms
  4. other?

R ENVIRONMENT 5. Installation. When installing R version x.y.z, a new directory should be created only if x or y changes but if z changes then the default action should be to overwrite the existing x.y.z version. This would simplify the configuration of R on disk by having fewer nearly identical versions and is also consistent with how win-library already works. The current scheme of a separate tree for each z level version would still be possible by selecting a custom installation but would not be the default.

6. Documentation. demo files and non-Sweave pdf documents should be listed in

SCRIPTING/OTHER LANGUAGES 7. -x argument which works similar to the same argument in Perl/Python/Ruby to allow a batch file and an R file to be combined. For example:

          python -x prog.py skips first line of prog.py allowing non-UNIX forms of #!cmd

          perl -x prog.pl or perl -xdir prog.pl strips off text before !#perl line and possibly cd's to directory (if one is given). ruby works same way.
Thus one could write:

          Rscript -x myfile.bat
and combine a Windows batch file and an R file into myfile.bat, say.

8. tcltk

  1. some easy way to run R minimized but have a tcltk GUI not minimized (i.e. without having to write a frontend in C)
  2. ability to load tcl without loading tk
  3. provide packages like tcltk for the other popular scripting languages: perl, python, ruby. It would be sufficient that there is a package that contains the scripting language executable so an R package that uses perl, say, could simply list such a package for perl in Depends: in DESCRIPTION file and thereby be sure that perl were available. They could then access it via: perlcmd <- if (.Platform$OS == "windows") "perl.exe" else "perl" perl <- system.file(perlcmd, package = "perl") cmd <- paste(perl, my_command) system(cmd) An actual interface to R, as in tcltk, while nice to have is not an essential part of this and could be omitted to make this easier to accomplish.
  4. eliminate dependence of R on perl (this seems to be occurring or maybe its already happened). For those packages needing perl they could rely on #9 if it were available.

R-devel_at_r-project.org mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel Received on Fri 01 Jan 2010 - 13:40:34 GMT

Archive maintained by Robert King, hosted by the discipline of statistics at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Archive generated by hypermail 2.2.0, at Sat 02 Jan 2010 - 01:00:09 GMT.

Mailing list information is available at https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel. Please read the posting guide before posting to the list.

list of date sections of archive