R tutorial within R itself

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#1
Hi all,

I was just wondering if anybody knew of a package whose goal was to give the user a basic introduction to R within the R interpreter. If you've on a linux/mac machine for an example of what I mean you could type 'vimtutor' in the command line and it will bring up an introduction to using vim within the vim environment itself.

I know of a lot of external pdfs or R scripts that give nice intros to R but I've never come across something like I'm describing. I'm just wondering because I'm considering implementing something like this and seeing if it could get put into the base install so new users could learn how to interact with R from within R. I just know that R has a relatively steep learning curve compared to something like JMP or SPSS and I think this might be able to help ease that a little bit.

If you've come across something similar I would love to know. If you think this is an incredibly stupid idea I'd like to hear that as well. And if you think it's interesting and would like me to keep you up to date I'd be more than happy to hear that too.
 

bugman

Super Moderator
#2
Dason,

I think its a great idea, and yes I'd like to hear about progress and updates. As far as existing packages the only one I know is "TeachingDemos" as an external package. I haven't used it so I am unsure of its relivance to what you are doing.

P
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#3
I've actually downloaded TeachingDemos before. I don't remember what for but I know I used it to create some widgets before I knew about gWidgets. Maybe I'll download it again and see if it has something similar to what I'm thinking about.

Edit: Looks like it doesn't have what I'm describing. The reason I downloaded it was for my multivariate course in undergrad. We used the faces and faces2 functions to create Chernoff faces. They're interesting ways to plot high dimension data.
 

TheEcologist

Global Moderator
#4
I know of a lot of external pdfs or R scripts that give nice intros to R but I've never come across something like I'm describing. I'm just wondering because I'm considering implementing something like this and seeing if it could get put into the base install so new users could learn how to interact with R from within R. I just know that R has a relatively steep learning curve compared to something like JMP or SPSS and I think this might be able to help ease that a little bit.
It is certainly a good idea. If you create it make sure you get some extra credit for it at your uni, cause this is seems simple but will be allot of work [e.g. potentially having to code for Linux - Linux, Linux - Windows, Linux - Mac - I'm going out on a limb here and assuming you use Linux ;)]. Also know that R-packages and software go through a peer review process which could cause your work to be rejected (for revision likely - but that will always cause your work to improve). Then again it could even lead to an article in the Journal of Statistical Software (http://www.jstatsoft.org/ ; if you fit in the scope) which is a nice plus.

I will be doing something similar in the near future (creating packages for complex phenomenological modeling and population modeling using IPMS). So I'm glad there will be someone here gaining experience as well!

Here is a nice resource as an intro.

And ofcourse you will need to get to know this pretty well

Also we here at talkstats would love to give you a 'friendly review' (atleast I will and I bet many others too). :tup:

some more resources including ofcourse Dan Bailey and Matt Nunes (the University of Bristol) with their "idiot’s guide" to builing packages in R (original link is offline but luckily we have the web archive!).