[Rd] Package manuals as html page instead of pdf

Holger Hoefling hhoeflin at gmail.com
Wed Apr 6 12:01:59 CEST 2016


I wanted to pose a question to the R developers that I was wondering about
for a while.

Currently, the standard way of rendering the manual of an R package on CRAN
is in the form of a pdf-file. From my perspective, this pdf-file has many

- It makes the load (relatively) long
- requires at least a plug-in in a browser,
- breaks the forward-backward functionality of browser
- Does not contain reformattable text so that the monitor space cannot be
optimally used when displaying it
- Has many page breaks that require space on the monitor and need to be
skipped over
- Introduces the dependency on latex itself.

Therefore, I wanted to ask if the R core team has thought about moving away
from pdf-manuals and on to (single page) HTML manuals? I think that would
have several advantages, those being
- faster loadtimes
- could still be sent around as a single file
- Are more flexible on how the text would be displayed
- forward-backward navigation in the browser and browser full text search
would work

Of course, printing it would be slightly worse out of an HTML document than
it currently is from a pdf.

Thank you already for providing comments


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