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April 19, 2010


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"But it's true: there will always be more non-programmers than non-programmers"
so (length(non-prog) > length(non-prog)) == TRUE?

Ha! Thanks Aleks, I corrected the post.

R is my own personal nightmare.

I'm a biologist with little previous experience with statistics and none with programming, but I really value how much R forces me to be intimately involved with and responsible for my data analysis - and how it gives me access to cutting-edge, boutique analyses that will prob never make it into SAS (though learning it without knowing anyone who uses it was a pretty horrible experience).

As much as I'm skeptical of programs that allow people to run statistics by mindlessly clicking an "ANOVA" button, it'd prob be real useful if R someday develops a semi-idiot proof GUI like JMP.

A lot of development goes into building user friendly application tools around R. R's ability to play well with other languages makes it very useful for writing specialized applications wrapped in a user interface. So while R itself has a steep learning curve and may not be the "next big thing" itself. It may well be the underlying tool driving the "next big thing". One could easily imagine a set of applications developed for a particular user base accessed through the web in a menu driven interface that would farm out multiple processes in a cloud (R instantiations) return a set of summarized results and pretty graphics, and have widgets for the user to interact with the results. Tell me those kind of applications aren't the "next big thing"? R is certainly playing in that space, and is much more suited to that kind of development than SAS or SPSS. And in those environments is much cheaper to deploy and maintain.

re: GUIs: try R/Excel or (probably better) Deducer. Most popular packages in R eventually grow a GUI, even if it's some Tk frontend to execute one function :-)

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