[Rd] Packages of snippets? (was: A way to list only variables or functions?)

Jan de Leeuw deleeuw at stat.ucla.edu
Thu Jun 24 04:29:20 CEST 2004

JSS does not have a "code snippet" section yet, but we
have been in the process of trying to start one for a long
time. We just haven't quite worked out how to define
snippets. They need some documentation. I was thinking
along the lines of the old JRSS-C or Applied Statistics
code section. Publishing in JSS would have the advantage
of a real journal publication, although a small one and
easy access to the code on the jstatsoft site.

Although we don't have the section yet, we do have
some editors willing to handle it. So one possible strategy
would be not to wait for precise instructions for authors,
keep the JRSS-C model in mind, and just submit. JSS
is working on TeX templates for articles, book reviews,
software reviews, and code snippets.

On Jun 23, 2004, at 18:31, Duncan Murdoch wrote:

> [Moved from r-help to r-devel]
> On Thu, 24 Jun 2004 09:29:12 +1200, Patrick Connolly
> <p.connolly at hortresearch.co.nz> wrote:
>> I made myself a function in the S-PLUS days which I've modified to
>> work in R.  It involved adding another few functions to add dates to
>> objects.
> This isn't something I'd use, since I prefer to keep objects in source
> form, but I bet there are quite a few people who would use it if it
> were generally available.
>> I've toyed with the idea of adding an object size column but it's not
>> important enough for my use.  Since I revisit projects over a period
>> of years at times, the date is very useful information -- in fact,
>> it's the main reason why I wrote it.
>> My code is not elegant enough for an esteemed place on CRAN.  I could
>> make it a lot better myself if I spent the time on it, but it works
>> well enough for me as it is, so in that sense, it ain't broke.
>> However, if anyone is interested in having such functionality my code
>> could be a good starting point.
> Inelegance is no excuse!  However, I do understand the feeling of
> writing a nice little function, and not knowing exactly what to do
> with it:  CRAN is crowded, and it does seem that an entire package
> just to support one or two simple functions is a bit of overkill.
> Can we work out a way to publish such things?  Here's a proposal, with
> some serious flaws listed below.  Can someone fix them?
>  - It should be easy to publish a short article describing your nice
> little function, and making the code available to others.  (I think
> this is already in place, either by publishing in RNews or Journal of
> Statistical Software, as a code snippet.)
>  - It should be easy for users to get it, together with man pages,
> etc.  This is not in place, unless you package your function and send
> it to CRAN.  What I'd propose is that a volunteer should act as an
> editor of an "RNews" or "JSS" package, that contains *all* of the
> snippets that have been published in RNews or JSS.
> Some major flaws in this proposal are:
>  - It needs a volunteer editor.
>  - The editor would have to be organized, and willing to bug authors
> for updates whenever R changes and breaks their snippet (or makes it
> obsolete).  If there's no one willing to do this, the editor should
> feel free to drop the snippet from the package.
>  - There'd have to be a way for someone to see which snippets don't
> have maintainers so have been dropped, but could be resurrected.
>  - If it's successful, there'll be name clashes.  The editor should
> try to head these off from the start, by setting some rules for what
> kinds of names should be used for internal functions, and what public
> names should look like.
>  - There aren't actually that many snippets being published, because
> it's hard work to convert something that works "well enough for me" to
> something we'd like others to see.
> Duncan Murdoch
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Jan de Leeuw; Professor and Chair, UCLA Department of Statistics;
Editor: Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Journal of Statistical  
US mail: 8130 Math Sciences Bldg, Box 951554, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1554
phone (310)-825-9550;  fax (310)-206-5658;  email: deleeuw at stat.ucla.edu
homepage: http://gifi.stat.ucla.edu
           No matter where you go, there you are. --- Buckaroo Banzai

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