[Rd] organisation of packages & CRAN

Gábor Csárdi csardi.gabor at gmail.com
Sun Nov 9 20:06:56 CET 2014


I think much of this is simply impossible to do. CRAN packages are
written and maintained by thousands of people, how are you planning to
convince them to reorganize their packages? Or even just rename them?
This obviously won't happen.

Btw. did you see 'CRAN Task Views'? That is one organizations of
packages into topics.

Personally, I don't think organization is the solution here. It is too
costly (i.e. too much work) to maintain, impossible to enforce. I
think, however, that a good search engine would definitely help.

FWIW there is a simple search engine here: http://metacran.github.io/search/
This ranks packages according to the number of reverse dependencies
(among other things), i.e. packages more often used by other packages
will be higher up in the list.

Ranking them according to downloads is also possible, but AFAIK only
one CRAN mirror gives out statistics about downloads, so you don't
really have the complete numbers there.

Disclaimer: I built the search engine above. There are obviously other
alternatives as well, e.g. http://rdocumentation.org, and
http://mran.revolutionanalytics.com/packages/ are the two I know.


On Sun, Nov 9, 2014 at 11:24 AM, Steven Sagaert
<steven.sagaert at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> 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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