The RGtkHTML package (0.3-1)

The RGtkHTML package provides bindings to the gtkHTML library and specifically the GtkHTML and GtkHTMLEmbedded classes. These allow one to add HTML displays to Gtk GUIs created in S and to control the actions and contents of the HTML. One can specify S functions as callbacks for events such as This allows us to create our own customized browsers with "applets" written in S, including embedded graphics devices (using gtkDevice).

Some high-level GUIs are available in the RGtkViewers package that are built using the RGtk package.

We encountered and fixed two esoteric bugs in the gtkhtml tokenizer. This allows us to use global assignments inside attributes (e.g. <OBJECT action="x <<- 1">) which used not work but simply ignored the remainder of the document. Additionally, it avoids the addition of extra spaces within nested quotes.

Here is a patch for gtkhtml-1.1.6 that corrects them. Alternatively, a full version of the library that contains the patch is available.

There is now support for accessing HTML form elements from R code simplifying the programming across the two systems and the layout of simple GUIs that can be implemented using HTML forms.


The current version is available as a GNU-zipped tar file RGtkHTML_0.3-1.tar.gz


Installation of the package requires the RGtk package. And that package must have been installed using the --clean (or -c) argument, i.e.
 R CMD INSTALL --clean RGtk
in order to create the necessary library needed by this RGtkHTML package.

Next, you will need to install the gtkhtml library. (This may involve upgrading other dependent libraries.)

Given these dependencies, installing this RGtkHTML package can be as simple as


Versions 0.3 of this package and higher provide a facility by which one can access form objects and their elements (i.e. the widgets corresponding to the <input> tags) from R code.


To use this package within an R session, you will need to make in <wherever>/RGtk/libs available to the dynamic loader. The simplest way to do this currently is to add this directory to your LD_LIBRARY_PATH setting as in
 setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH  <wherever>/RGtk/libs:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}
 export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=<wherever>/RGtk/libs:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}

In the future, all of these issues may be taken care of automatically by R.


There is currently no version for this package for Windows available. One first needs gtkHTML working on Windows. Mail me to let me know of any interest in having it work on Windows.


  • See the RGtk package
  • FAQ
  • Generating the bindings
    Some notes on mechanism used to generate the bindings.
  • Embedded widgets in the Gtk HTML widget
    A brief description of a very powerful mechanism provided by the Gtk HTML widget to embed arbitrary widgets within it. This allows us to use R as a Java/Javascript-like language to create dynamic pages. This is similar to the SNetscape package
  • History of changes to the package.
  • Examples

    There are currently a few examples

    Related Packages

  • RGtk
    General R bindings for Gtk, allowing access to Gdk, Gtk and Gnome.
  • RGtkViewers
    Higher-level R tools/functions using RGtk and RGtkHTML to display different types of data and information. The tools include
    • a simple HTML browser,
    • XML tree viewer,
    • color-scheme browser,
    • relational database viewer,
    • S4 class relationship viewer,
    • Gtk class, signal and property/arg viewer
  • IDocs
    Extensions to RGtkViewers that provides facilities for managing environments, etc. for connecting R plugin components in HTML to each other via embedded R code.
  • RGtkExtra
    Bindings for the gtk+extra library and its classes, including a data grid/sheet that provides the basic display for a spreadsheet,
    R plugin for Gnumeric
    A plugin for the Gnome spreadsheet Gnumeric. We can use RGtk to access and construct GUIs in Gnumeric since it is built using Gtk.
    An interface from R to GGobi. We can access the Gtk components of GGobi using RGtk. Additionally, GGobi has an extensive plugin mechanism which allows one to write plugins in the S language. One can add GUI components using RGtk. (See examples in the R plugin module for GGobi.)
    A plugin for Netscape that allows JavaScript code to call S functions and access S objects as well as allowing S to call JavaScript and communicate with other LiveConnect plugins.
    This package provides a mechanism for calling Python functions from R and vice-versa. This is used in the automated generation of the RGtk bindings between R and the C libraries of Gtk, Gnome, etc. We use the parser of the defs files provided by the pygtk interface.

  • Duncan Temple Lang <>
    Last modified: Sat May 31 12:08:12 EDT 2003