[Rd] help files for load and related functions

Patrick Burns pburns at pburns.seanet.com
Mon Dec 17 15:57:36 CET 2007

Patches to the help files sound like a good idea.  However,
it isn't something I'm likely to get to immediately.  I'm
hoping that some other nice person will volunteer.


Duncan Murdoch wrote:

> 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
> https://svn.R-project.org/R/trunk/src/library/base/man/attach.Rd
> https://svn.R-project.org/R/trunk/src/library/base/man/library.Rd
> https://svn.R-project.org/R/trunk/src/library/base/man/load.Rd
> https://svn.R-project.org/R/trunk/src/library/base/man/save.Rd
> 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

More information about the R-devel mailing list