Chapter 2. Preliminaries: What are plugins in RKWard? How do they work?

Of course the first question you might have is: what portions of RKWard functionality is realized using plugins? Or: what can plugins do?

One way to answer this is: deselect all .pluginmap files under SettingsConfigure RKWardPlugins, and see what is missing. A slightly more helpful answer: most actual statistics functions accessible via the GUI are realized using plugins. Also, you can create fairly flexible GUIs for all kinds of operations using plugins.

The basic paradigm behind RKWard plugins is the one we will walk you through in this document: an XML file describes what the GUI looks like. An additional JavaScript file is used to generate R syntax from the GUI settings. That is, plugins do not really have to perform any statistical calculations. Rather plugins generate the R syntax needed to run those calculations. The R syntax is then sent to the R backend for evaluation, and typically a result is shown in the output window.

Read on in the next chapters to see how this is done.