[Rd] Suggestion: help(<package name>)

Thomas Lumley tlumley at u.washington.edu
Tue Jun 7 16:18:31 CEST 2005

On Tue, 7 Jun 2005, Henrik Bengtsson wrote:

> Kurt Hornik wrote:
>> How would this be different from the results of
>> 	help(package = <package name>)
>> ?
> Thanks for that. I was not aware of this one; I like how DESCRIPTION is 
> included and how the index is divided in functions and dataset, e.g. 
> help(package=MASS). May I also suggest that the CITATION file is included 
> here, e.g. help(package=foreign).
> My suggestion differ in the sense that 1) additional information may be 
> included such as which functions are "main" functions and which are of less 
> interest, and 2) that it would show up in the HTML index page too.

For point (1) you can write your own INDEX file, in which case it can have 
more information than the auto-generated one.  A simple example is the 
survey package.  My description of the INDEX file in courses has been that 
it contains a line for every "sufficiently interesting" function. Writing 
R Extensions says that "normally this file is missing" but I think this is 
descriptive rather than prescriptive.

2) seems sensible.  The INDEX file is included in the CRAN page and I find 
it useful there.


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