[R] ROMA project (R Output MAnager) / Progress report / Call for contributors

From: Eric Lecoutre <lecoutre_at_stat.ucl.ac.be>
Date: Tue 07 Jun 2005 - 00:15:15 EST

Hello useRs,

This email is about the ROMA project, the implementation in pure S of a reporting system for R. Several month ago, I did then send on R-help a survey on that (mainly: what features did you expect for a reporting system). During the following months, I did try different approaches for the core functionalities, ending now with a set of generic functions of which I am satisfied. More details about the coding later for those who are interested.

Basically, my purpose is to provide to R a mechanism to describe outputs, in term of structure/content. Then, some driver functions would handle output object to export them in HTML, LaTeX, RTF, raw text, and so on.
While progressing in that project, I also did realize that it could even be an intersting alternative to "print." method: each package creator who write a "print.myclass" function only needs to describe output. If he could do that once and benefit from HTML, TeX,... this would be of great advantage.

I am currently seeking for a new job and I dont know if I will have time later to go on with that project, which appears to be rather big. That's why I am searching for collaborators. Anyone interested in reporting may help. See below for a (non exhaustive) list of tasks / competences. I have to say that in any cases I am interested in keeping involved in that problematic.

My latest implementation consists in 2 x 1000 lines of highly commented code. Mainly 1000 lines for the core functions and 1000 lines for the beginning of the HTML export driver. Each output object consist of a XML internal representation (using Duncan Temple Lang XML package), which gives folowing advantages:
- any output structure could be described (even "non-linear")

Some goals which are already achieved:
- describing complex tables (with merged cells, containing footnotes
- representing output as internal objects (for storing/further
manipulating purposes)
- manipulating those output objects ("+" operator, changing properties)

There is some work for volonteers in numerous areas:
- reading my actual code and helping to improve it

Please let me know if you are interested in particpating to this project. If there are enough participants, I will consider using a shared platform such as freshmeat or other.


Eric Lecoutre
UCL / Institut de Statistique
Voie du Roman Pays, 20
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve

tel: (+32)(0)10473050

If the statistics are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers. -Edward Tufte

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