R-alpha: Re^2: data file names

Martin Maechler Martin Maechler <maechler@stat.math.ethz.ch>
Tue, 2 Dec 1997 10:34:04 +0100

	[R-devel'ers:  spill over from R-core .. -- MM]

>>>>> "KH" == Kurt Hornik <Kurt.Hornik@ci.tuwien.ac.at> writes:

>>>>> Robert Gentleman writes:
    >> In preparing the next Windows release I want to make opening up
    >> system data files (and their documentation) more transparent. I
    >> would really like to adopt the convention that data files use the
    >> suffix .rdf (.dat seems like it's taken). This will make it easier
    >> to get the builtin Windows file browsers to work on it and save me
    >> some considerable work trying to figure out what is and isn't a data
    >> file.

    KH> What does `rdf' stand for?

R Data File ?

But why can't it just be `.R'  (-> `.r' in the ...OS)?

At least currently, these are simply files with valid  R code.
If they would end in `.R', ESS (Emacs Speaks Statistics) would
automatically be put in the proper mode.
Of course, we could also use a new ending,
but I think this would only make sense if the data files would internally
use a different format,
e.g.,  data.dump / data.restore, or one which works with  read.table.

We have discussed earlier that it would be nice to allow different formats
for data files, and maybe the file extension would tell the  data(.)
function in which way it has to read the data
(Of course, UNIX `file' would be much nicer than file extensions,
 but portability ...)


    >> It would also be nice if one of you great documentation folks
    >> thought of a html-like format for the .doc files so that I could
    >> simply pop them up. This would also ideally let index.doc be built
    >> on the fly....

    >> I find it quite frustrating that I can't peek at the doc file while
    >> trying to decide which data file I want.
Hmm; in 0.60 we at least have
for the list
for the doc in foodata.doc.  This does already help me quite a bit..

    >> I'm hoping to get a browser
    >> that will let you peruse the documentation while selecting the file.

    >> Comments/opinions appreciated.

    KH> You are obviously right.  I think what we want is to have a unified
    KH> documentation format for both functions (which is what we have
    KH> until now been focussing on) and variables (``data files'').  In
    KH> the not too long run, will we be able to attach data directories so
    KH> that we can really treat the data files as variable objects?
Do you mean binary data files?  Or would they be `compiled' 
	from src/library/<pkg>/data/
	to   library/<pkg>/data/  ?

    KH> Anyway, I just realized that all .doc files now have the structure


    KH> so it seems that we only need to add \format{} and \source{} to the
    KH> Rd standard.
yes; this would be one thing; the other being a script (or a person ..)
for translating all current the foodata.doc to foodata.Rd ...
But __YES__ , the earlier, the better  (but ``post release'');
I'd like to have this BEFORE the following is completely solved ..

    KH> And, well, to document the format we really need
    KH> tables.  FL, MM, what is the right way to do these?

As with \itemize , \enumerate and \describe
	(do they work now in HTML,  Fritz? -- would be nice for release ...).
HTML and LaTeX are `obvious'
(we  shouldn't be too fancy, I think, just use a common denominator of
	\begin{tabular}{..} ... \end{tabular}  and <TABLE> ...
        Fritz will have to look at (a newer version of) latex2html once more)
and the real problem is  nroff.
 (yes, I do want to have simple fast online help using C-c C-v in ESS ...)

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