package description

Prof Brian Ripley Prof Brian Ripley <>
Mon, 1 Nov 1999 16:44:37 +0000 (GMT)

> Date: Mon, 01 Nov 1999 11:26:13 -0500
> From: Paul Gilbert <>
> To: r-devel <>
> Subject: package description
> It would be nice in the building of help for packages if there were some
> mechanism to provide a few paragraphs of general description for the
> package. (If this is already there I've missed it.) In the html help it
> would be possible to do this by looking for some special file (e.g.
> "General_Description") in the man directory and putting a link to that
> at the top of 00Index.html, but I don't now if this approach would work
> with other help formats.

It will not, not even for the html format as 00Index.html is
auto-generated by R INSTALL.  There is nothing to prevent there being a
Rd file containing the description and some suitable \name or \alias
(package:foo, for example).  This could be formalized, for example by a
special name (`Description') being placed first in the list.

That is my understanding of the purpose of library(help=foo) in the S
world, but it seems to be used rarely within R packages. That is, the
file INDEX could contain more than just the list of public functions.

Brian D. Ripley,        
Professor of Applied Statistics,
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

r-devel mailing list -- Read
Send "info", "help", or "[un]subscribe"
(in the "body", not the subject !)  To: