Re: [R] Can't there be a cd command?

From: Greg Snow <>
Date: Thu 11 May 2006 - 06:37:08 EST

When talking about user friendlyness of computer software I like the analogy of cars vs. busses:

Busses are very easy to use, you just need to know which bus to get on, where to get on, and where to get off (and you need to pay your fare). Cars on the other hand require much more work, you need to have some type of map or directions (even if the map is in your head), you need to put gas in every now and then, you need to know the rules of the road (have some type of drivers licence). The big advantage of the car is that it can take you a bunch of places that the bus does not go and it is quicker for some trips that would require transfering between busses.

Using this analogy programs like SPSS are busses, easy to use for the standard things, but very frustrating if you want to do something that is not already preprogrammed.

R is a 4-wheel drive SUV (though environmentally friendly) with a bike on the back, a kayak on top, good walking and running shoes in the pasenger seat, and mountain climbing and spelunking gear in the back.

R can take you anywhere you want to go if you take time to leard how to use the equipment, but that is going to take longer than learning where the bus stops are in SPSS.

Now there are tools like Rcmdr that help get you started (maybe a gps unit in the R suv above), but if we make R too user friendly then we limit what can be done with it.

I think the volume of mail in R-help is partly due to lack of friendliness, but a lot of it is due to the flexibility as well, if it did less, there would be less to learn and ask questions about. I for one prefer to do a little more work learning the program in exchange for being able to do a lot more with it.

To mangle a famous Einstien quote: "Statistical packages should be made as user friendly as possible, but no friendlier."

Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
(801) 408-8111

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Manuel López-Ibáñez
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 2:19 PM
Subject: Re: [R] Can't there be a cd command?

Jan T. Kim wrote:

> That's an idea I like very much too -- much better than the currently
> popular idea of "protecting" users from the "unfriendliness" of
> programming, anyway...
It is just my opinion that the amount of mail in R-help speaks volumes about the current "friendliness" [1], or lack thereof, of R. Perhaps I am just the only one who thinks this way... [1] ______________________________________________ LLama Gratis a cualquier PC del Mundo. Llamadas a fijos y móviles desde 1 céntimo por minuto. ______________________________________________ mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide! ______________________________________________ mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide!
Received on Thu May 11 06:41:26 2006

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