Chapter 2. The R User Interface

If you’re reading this book, you probably have a problem that you would like to solve in R. You might want to:

  • Check the statistical significance of experimental results

  • Plot some data to help understand it better

  • Analyze some genome data

The R system is a software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It includes many different components. In this book, I’ll use the term “R” to refer to a few different things:

  • A computer language

  • The interpreter that executes code written in R

  • A system for plotting computer graphics described using the R language

  • The Windows, Mac OS, or Linux application that includes the interpreter, graphics system, standard packages, and user interface

This chapter contains a short description of the R user interface and the R console and describes how R varies on different platforms. If you’ve never used an interactive language, this chapter will explain some basic things you will need to know in order to work with R. We’ll take a quick look at the R graphical user interface (GUI) on each platform and then talk about the most important part: the R console.

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