R is the greatest open source statiscal programming package around. It is all a mapper need to pretreat data. Yet it suffers from interfaces that are either uggly, tedious to set up, clumsy to use or all of these. After years of glaring at the Windows interface of R, I’ve finally sutmbled upon a nice tool which takes seconds to intall. It’s called RStudio, it’s available since February 28th 2011 and it displays many nice features among which:
- Code coloring.
- One-button execution of selected lines.
- Code search and replace toolbar.
- Workspace data and values listing, extremely useful to keep up to date with variables and arrays you’ve produced in lines of code. This pan lists all objects with their type and dimnesion (e.g. “b : character”; “dat : 4159 obs. of 49 variables”, “ab : 2×2 double matrix” etc. )
- A searchable help pane.
All of this neatly packed in one interface window, with tabs giving access to plots, files and to all the other nice things you expect R to do.
Among lacks of this Beta version, on could still mention:
- The “import dataset” button only allows you to load comma-separated values. It would be more interesting if this button’s options allowed users to load Excel, SPSS, etc. files. For now, you can always run R Commander (> library(Rcmdr) ) and use the “Data>Import data” menu for GUI access to datasets. Other Rcmdr menus would also be welcome in R Studio. Why not merge them?
- No code completion in the coding pane.
- A slightly clumsy packages manager.
In brief: RStudio is a nice piece of software to follow closely, and already of great help in ist current version.