RStudio Improves

RStudio, an open-source IDE for R, was first introduced about 6 weeks ago.  I wasn’t tempted, because you couldn’t place your code and its output side-by-side.  They fixed that, so now I’m excitedly giving it a spin.

RStudio Beta 2 (v0.93) is available for download today. We’ve gotten incredibly helpful input from the R community and this release reflects a lot of that feedback.

The release notes have the full details on what’s new. Some of the highlights include:

Source Editor Enhancements

  • Highlight all instances of selected text
  • Insert spaces for tabs (soft-tabs)
  • Customizable print margin line
  • Selected line highlight
  • Toggle line numbers on/off
  • Optional soft-wrapping for R source files

Customizable Layout and Appearance

  • The layout of panes and tabs is now configurable (enabling side-by-side source and console view, among others).
  • Support for a variety of editing themes, including TextMate, Eclipse, and others.

Interactive Plotting

This release features manipulate, a new interactive plotting feature that enables you to create plots with inputs bound to custom controls (e.g. slider, picker, etc.) rather than hard-coded to a single value. For example:

manipulate(
  # plot expression
  plot(cars, xlim = c(0, x.max), type = type, ann = label),
  # controls
  x.max = slider(10, 25, step = 5, initial = 25),
  type = picker("Points" = "p", "Line" = "l", "Step" = "s"),
  label = checkbox(TRUE, "Draw Labels")
)

More

  • RStudio now works with versions of R installed from source (either via make install or packaged by MacPorts, Homebrew, etc.).
  • Enhanced support for Unicode and non-ASCII character encodings.
  • Improved working directory management including new options for default behavior, support for shell “open with” context menus, and optional file assocations for common R file types (.RData, .R, .Rnw).
  • Many other small enhancements and bug fixes (see the release notes for full details).

We hope you try out the new release and keep talking to us on our support forum about what works, what doesn’t, and what else you’d like RStudio to do.

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3 Responses to RStudio Improves

  1. How does this compare to R.app/R.exe, Jgr, or RCommander? For that matter, how does it compare to just running R through a text editor with good support for the language (eg, TextMate or any Scintilla-compatible editor)? Is it fair to say that R-studio is comparable to R.app/R.exe and Jgr in that it is designed for people who know the language fluently (unlike RCommander) but want to work interactively (unlike a text editor)?

  2. Michael Bishop says:

    Is it fair to say that R-studio is comparable to R.app/R.exe and Jgr in that it is designed for people who know the language fluently (unlike RCommander) but want to work interactively (unlike a text editor)?

    I would say yes, though I personally haven’t used R.app/R.exe, or Jgr. Rstudio doesn’t allow you to do stats using drop-down menus the way Rcmdr does.

    The authors do seem interested in offering some truly new functionality though, like the “manipulate” plotting feature described in the post above.

    For now, I think I’ll stick with notepad++ and npptor. I’m not a power-user, but there are little things I prefer. I’ll keep my eye on RStudio though.

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