[Rd] organisation of packages & CRAN

Steven Sagaert steven.sagaert at gmail.com
Sun Nov 9 17:24:43 CET 2014

I’ve been using R on and off for a couple of years. I think R is pretty great but one thing I’d like to see improved is the way packages are organised. Instead of CRAN being a long list of packages having a short & usually unintelligible name I ‘d like to see packages organised in a hierarchical way with that path acting as a hierarchical namespace just like you have in many other languages like Java, C#,Scala,… The names of the (sub)packages should also be clear and unambiguous & packages should be organised according to their functionality and not just for example be code for a whole book thrown together and given a cryptic name. 

Next to that it would be nice to have extra metadata in the packages to allow for another more loose flat multi-class class-action like in tagging blog systems & other metadata to allow for for automatically generating something like task views.

Due to the large number of packages it’s hard to see the forest from the trees so a recommendation system for CRAN based on popularity (download statistics) , ratings & other data  like related packages from package metadata would be most welcome. 

Finally the number of packages in CRAN is exponentially growing but there is also a large partial overlap in functionality between packages & so many packages make it hard to find what you are looking for. So maybe there less is more and there should be a system of removing hardly used/low quality packages on a regular basis.

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