[Rd] help files for load and related functions

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Mon Dec 17 15:03:55 CET 2007

On 12/17/2007 6:00 AM, Patrick Burns wrote:
> I recently had a discussion with a user about loading
> and attaching in R.  I was surprised that the help files
> don't  provide a very clear picture.
>  From my point of view 'load' and 'attach' are very
> similar operations, the difference being that 'attach'
> creates a new database on the search list while 'load'
> puts all the objects into the global environment.
> The help file for 'load' is inexplicit that this is what
> happens.  The 'load' and 'attach' help files neither refer
> to the other in their See Also.
> Furthermore, the 'library' help file talks about "loading"
> packages.  I would suggest that it should use "attaching"
> as that is the analogous operation.
> None of these three help files (nor that of 'save') has a
> Side Effects section.  Personally I think that all help files
> should have a Side Effects section (to make it clear to
> new users what side effects are and that they are not a
> good thing for most functions to have).  I can understand
> there could be another point of view on that.  However, I
> definitely think that there should be a Side Effects section
> in the help files of functions whose whole point is a side
> effect.

I think you make good points.  Care to submit patches?  The source for 
those man pages are in





If you send them to me before Thursday or after Jan 2, I'll take a look. 
  (If you send them to me during the Xmas break there's a good chance 
they'll get lost.)

Duncan Murdoch

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