rpanel: Simple Interactive Controls for R Functions Using the tcltk Package

Adrian Bowman, Ewan Crawford, Gavin Alexander, Richard W Bowman

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In a variety of settings it is extremely helpful to be able to apply R functions through buttons, sliders and other types of graphical control. This is particularly true in plotting activities where immediate communication between such controls and a graphical display allows the user to interact with a plot in a very effective manner. The tcltk package provides extensive tools for this and the aim of the rpanel package is to provide simple and well documented functions which make these facilities as accessible as possible. In addition, the operations which form the basis of communication within tcltk are managed in a way which allows users to write functions with a more standard form of parameter passing. This paper describes the basic design of the software and illustrates it on a variety of examples of interactive control of graphics. The tkrplot system is used to allow plots to be integrated with controls into a single panel. An example of the use of a graphical image, and the ability to interact with this, is also discussed.

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