[S] Comments and queries regarding S+ 4 Windows graphics GUI

Gunter, Bert (bert_gunter@merck.com)
Thu, 19 Feb 1998 08:35:23 -0500

Dear S-newsers:

This is a bunch of opinions, not questions or answers, so:

Disclaimer: These opinions are mine, alone, and not those of my
employer, colleagues, or any household pets.

I have tried using S-Plus's (4.0, latest upgrade,Windows NT) GUI
graphics with the following general experience: If I stick with
straightforward graphs that the GUI can do with only minor tweaking, it
seems to work as advertised, However, if I try to get fancier, editing
labels, combining graphs, etc., the GUI gets hopelessly confused and I
start getting double labels, graphical elements thrown around in the
wrong places, etc. As a result, I do not bother with the GUI and
continue to use the command-driven graphics, which I really don't mind,
anyway (hey -- I have gray hair!).

My hypothesis is: MathSoft bit off more than it or probably anyone else
could chew in a statistical package when it tried to combine the ease of
use of Axxum's graphics interface with the flexibility and power of S
graphics, especially Trellis displays. I assume that a GUI has to keep
track of every graphics element on the page and provide contingencies
for every fool thing a user wants to do. Given the complexity of
Trellis, in particular, and S-Plus graphics in general, this probably
requires something on the order of CAD/CAM (many layers, many elements
to place and keep track of on the screen) software, which, of course,
makes a simple GUI impossible. So it just is too much to expect.

I would be interested in hearing about the experiences of others with
the GUI graphics and your opinions, either similar or contrary. I trust
this is a fit subject for discussion here, but will accept chastisement
if not.

Bert Gunter
Biometrics Research
Merck Research Labs
P.O. Box 2000
Rahway, NJ 07065-0900

"The business of the statistician is to catalyze the
scientific learning process." George E. P. Box

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