[Rd] Package overview document?

Duncan Murdoch dmurdoch@pair.com
Sun, 31 Dec 2000 16:33:41 GMT

On Sun, 31 Dec 2000 14:11:47 +0000 (GMT Standard Time), Prof Brian D
Ripley <ripley@stats.ox.ac.uk> wrote:

>On Sun, 31 Dec 2000, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>> I'd like to write an overview of a package, and have it show up when
>> someone types
>>  library(help=mypackage)
>> Is it reasonable to write such a
>> description into the INDEX file?  Is there some other file where I can
>That's what a lot of other packages do, e.g. boot.

Okay, I'll do that.  There are a couple of deficiencies, most notably
the fact that INDEX isn't used in the HTML or LaTeX versions of the
help files.  I saw in the docs somewhere that the DESCRIPTION text
would show up in the Latex output in some later version; is anyone
working on this?  If not, I might give it a shot.

>> >  ?mypackage

>It is possible, but you need to watch namespace issues.  For example,
>package sm has a file sm.Rd that gives an overview: you need it loaded
>for that to work via ?sm but help(sm, package="sm") works always
>(if sm is installed).
>The problem is ensuring that you have a non-clashing name. dse1 has
>00General.Description which seems to me to be very likely to clash.

I think the most obvious choice of name is the name of the package,
but that would clash fairly often with the name of a function within
it (e.g. boot), and it wouldn't show up first in alphabetical lists.
What some other help systems (e.g. Winhelp) do when a request is
ambiguous is to present a list of choices, with extra information
appended to help select.  If R did that, the clash wouldn't be such a
big deal. 

Duncan Murdoch
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