[R] R web site-Useability & finding varous bits of documentation

Martin Maechler maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch
Thu Jun 19 18:17:21 CEST 2008

>>>>> "JK" == John Kane <jrkrideau at yahoo.ca>
>>>>>     on Thu, 19 Jun 2008 06:50:18 -0700 (PDT) writes:

    JK> I was starting to write a note to a prospective R-user
    JK> and came to the point of explaining how to get useful
    JK> introductory information on R.  After mentioning the
    JK> Into and the FAQs I went on to try to explain how to use
    JK> a lot of the contributed information.

    JK> However I realised that there seems to be no direct way
    JK> to get to Other Publications or Contributed
    JK> Documenation.

    JK> The best I have seen is to get to Books and then click
    JK> on "other publications" which take one to "Publications
    JK> related to R" or go to "other" (main page) and then
    JK> click on "Contributed Documentation" which takes one to
    JK> "Contributed Documentation" This seems less than  optimal.

that depends ...

    JK> Am I missing some more direct ways to get to
    JK> "Publications related to R" and "Contributed
    JK> Documentation"?  I remember blundering around the site
    JK> for some time (days in elapsed time?) before I managed
    JK> to find these documents.

    JK> If I am not we may be losing a lot of potential users
    JK> who just cannot find basic documentation.  The Intro and
    JK> the FAQs are invaluable 

Well, the first entry in the 'Documentation' section of the
sidebar is 'Manuals' (which is considerably more than "The Intro
and the FAQs"), and these are really the only documentation part 
which the R core team strives to keep up-to-date.

Every R-project page reader should realize these are the
official docs.
If you open it, you already get a page with a link to
contributed docs.
Alternatively, there's the last item of the 'Documentation' section of the
sidebar, called "Other"  which does mention the "Contributed
Doc.." section  >>> on CRAN <<<

Note that the R-project page (www.r-project.org)  
and  CRAN  are two "things",  albeit closely related.
CRAN is for "DOWNLOAD"ing, including free contributed docs.
So that is the main reason, "contrib.docs" are not there in the
www.r-project.org sidebar.

    JK> but not exactly the best way for a complete noivice to get started.

Well, I actually would want the complete novice to take note that
there is much official documentation, before (s)he delves into one of
the contributed docs.

Martin Maechler,  ETH Zurich (and part of R-core)

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