We can demonstrate basic interactivity in gridSVG by drawing a plot that produces tooltips. These tooltips appear whenever the mouse hovers over a graphical element in the plot and the text within the tooltip features the name of the grid graphics object that produced the element.

This tooltip demonstration was largely borrowed from Paul Murrell’s gridDebug package, specifically with regards to the addTooltips() function. A few modifications were made to the implementation of addTooltips(), mostly with regards to the JavaScript code and using the onmousemove event attribute instead of onmouseover.

One of the demos from the lattice package has been drawn, upon drawing we apply the addTooltips() function to add tooltips to the plot. The effect of this is that when hovering the mouse over a graphical element in the plot, we can see the name of the grid graphics object that produced it.

How It Works


Here we are simply loading gridSVG.

# Add tooltip attributes to a grob on the DL
garnishAllGrobs <- function(elt) {
    if (inherits(elt, "grob")) {
                    onmousemove = paste("showTooltip(evt, '",
                      gsub("\n", " ", elt$name), "')",
                      sep = ""),
                    onmouseout = "hideTooltip()")
    } else {

A function has been defined that, upon encountering a graphics object, adds event attributes to it using garnishGrob() (see grid.garnish()). The onmousemove attribute has been added, and every time that event is triggered on an element, it will execute the following JavaScript code: showTooltip(evt, [name]). [name] is just the name of the graphics object that is being inspected. Another attribute is added too, onmouseout, and when it is triggered, the JavaScript code hideTooltip() is executed. These functions are yet to be defined, so are currently assumed to exist when gridSVG attempts to write an SVG file.

addTooltips <- function(filename = "Rplots.svg") {
    grid.script(filename = "tooltip.js")

This is where the previously defined functions are glued together to add tooltips to a grid plot. Firstly we apply the garnishAllGrobs() function to every element on the display list using grid.DLapply(). Now all of our graphics objects have event attributes which will execute JavaScript code once triggered. The definition of the JavaScript functions used in the event attributes exists in tooltip.js, so we include it using grid.script(). Once the JavaScript has been included, we can write the grid plot an SVG image using grid.export().

demo(lattice) # We're going to use demo #3

Here we’re simply going to use the lattice package and use one of its demo plots to illustrate tooltip usage. In particular we’re going to draw the third lattice demo. Once the demo has been drawn, we can add tooltips to the plot by saving the plot as tooltips.svg with addTooltips().