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

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Thu Jun 9 21:29:25 CEST 2005

>> > On Tue, 7 Jun 2005, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>> >
>> > [...]
>> >
>> >
>> >>My proposal (modified following the suggestions I've heard so far) is as
>> >>follows:
>> >>
>> >>  - to check that a couple of help topic aliases exist (<pkg>.package
>> >>and <pkg>)
>> >>  - to recommend that <pkg>.package contain general information about
>> >>the package, and that <pkg> be an alias for it, if it isn't used for
>> >>some other purpose.
>> >>  - to write promptPackage() to help create an initial version of
>> >><pkg>.package.Rd.  It can get some information from the DESCRIPTION
>> >>file; perhaps it could go looking for a vignette, or the INDEX, or
>> >>  - to modify the other help system tools to make use of this (e.g. the
>> >>package:<pkg> heading on a page would become a link to the <pkg>.package
>> >>alias, etc.)

I've now committed some of this to R-devel, and I invite comments.  I've 
abandoned the idea of the check, which seems too controversial.  I've 
done the second and third items, but not the 4th.

I wrote about a dozen of these files this afternoon as I was refining 
promptPackage.  It is very quick to generate a basic man page using 
promptPackage with an option saying you want a final version.  Manually 
editing this file, running it through checks, etc. took me around 10-20 
minutes per package.

I only did the base packages, and they probably have less in their 
overview than most contributors would want, so someone starting from 
nothing would probably take longer --- but many packages already have 
the text written somewhere, and they just need to add an alias to an Rd 
file, or perhaps reformat an INDEX file.

Duncan Murdoch

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