Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams

Initial Interaction with R

R is a command line tool that is initiated by typing the command R (that is capital R--R is case sensitive) into a command line window (e.g., a gnome-terminal in GNU/Linux) or by opening R from the desktop icon (e.g., on MS/Windows and Mac/OSX). This assumes that we have already installed R (and Rattle), as detailed in Appendix A.

One way or another we should see a window (Figure 2.1) displaying the R prompt (>), indicating that R is waiting for our commands. We will generally refer to this as the R Console.

Figure 2.1: The R Console is the basic interface to R. The prompt indicates that R is awaiting user commands.
Image start:r_cli

We start Rattle by loading the package into the R library, and then calling the rattle command, with an empty argument list, like this:

> library(rattle)

Rattle: Graphical interface for data mining using R.
Version 2.5.40 Copyright (c) 2006-2010 Togaware Pty Ltd.
Type 'rattle()' to shake, rattle, and roll your data.

> rattle()

We will then see the Rattle GUI displayed, as in Figure 2.2.

Figure 2.2: The initial Rattle window displays a welcome message and a little introduction to Rattle and R.
Image start:rattle_startup

The Rattle user interface is a simple tab-based interface, with the idea being to work from the left-most tab to the right most tab, mimicking the data mining process (see Section [*]) itself.

The key to using Rattle, as hinted at in the status bar on starting up Rattle, is to supply the appropriate information for a particular tab and to then click the Execute button to perform the action. Always make sure you have clicked the Execute button before proceeding to the next step.

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