I’ve been working in R (wikipedia entry) a lot lately to graph performance data about Oracle systems. In general I output PDF files. The problem with most PDF readers (on Windows) is that they either get an exclusive lock on the file when it’s open (yes you, Adobe Acrobat), or you have to close and re-open the PDF to see any changes. Enter Sumatra PDF (wikipedia entry, home page). I’ve used on and off for a few years. It’s free, very lightweight & fast to start.
The key feature for this post is that when you open a PDF, it doesn’t get an exclusive lock on the file. So, when I re-run my R code to regenerate the PDF file, Sumatra changes the title bar to [Changes detected; refreshing]… and reloads the PDF when it no longer detects changes. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!
Here’s a screenshot:
Here’s a follow-up post on how to “Refresh a CSV File“