macOS issues: CRAN mirror dialog

meik michalke meik.michalke at
Thu Apr 5 11:09:48 UTC 2018


since thomas is currently fixing some issues regarding the handling of window 
focus of thepackage management dialog (we just discovered that there's some 
weird behaviour on macOS), i would like to propose a totally new approach to 
this, which would both enhance the overall usability of RKWard and probably 
make the focus issues of much lesser concern.

we're currently asking for a CRAN mirror the first time it is needed in a 
session (i.e., the user wants to install a package and hasn't configures a 
default mirror). i don't know about you, but every time i do a fresh 
installation of RKWard and then get to this dialog, i think to myself "damn, i 
forgot to set a default mirror, again!" i'd rather be asked to do so when 
RKWard is launched for the first time -- it should check for a default mirror 
setting, and if none is there yet, offer me to select one from the list and 
use it as the default from now on. maybe with a short explanation like

  "you have not set a default mirror server to look for R packages.
   you will need one as soon as you would like to install additional R
   packages. we recommend you choose a mirror close to you from the list 
   below, which will then be used as the default in your RKWard sessions. you
   can reconfigure this setting at any time in settings -> configure RKWard ->
   R packages."

alternatively, i should have the option of saying "no, thank you, and don't 
bother me again", which would result in what we have now (meaning the mirror 
dialog will come up when it's first needed).

i've seen students who went through the mirror dialog again and again, because 
they didn't know they could even set a default. by asking them to do so right 
at the beginning, i believe the user experience would be much better.

wishlist: RKWard currently depends on the R2HTML package for its output,  and 
on some other packages for it's dialogs (like the pwr package for the power 
analysis). in a next step, we could therefore also offer to install a bunch of 
default packages, if they are missing on the system. they should be listed so 
the user can also install them as he/she likes (i for instance always prefer 
debian packages over native R packages if available).

viele grüße :: m.eik

  dipl. psych. meik michalke
  institut f"ur experimentelle psychologie
  abt. f"ur diagnostik und differentielle psychologie
  heinrich-heine-universit"at d-40204 d"usseldorf
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