[R] Proposal: Package update log

Starkweather, Jonathan Jonathan.Starkweather at unt.edu
Tue Oct 2 19:01:00 CEST 2012

I'm relatively new to R and would first like to sincerely thank all those who contribute to its development. Thank you. 

I would humbly like to propose a rule which creates a standard (i.e., strongly encouraged, mandatory, etc.) for authors to include a `change log' documenting specific changes for each update made to their package(s). The more detailed the description, the better; and it would be exceptionally useful if the document were available from the R-console (similar to the help function). In other words, I am suggesting that the `change log' file be included in the package(s) and preferably accessible from the R-console. 

I am aware that many packages available on CRAN have a `change log' or `news' page. However; not all packages have something like that and many which do, are not terribly detailed in conveying what has been updated or changed. 

I am also aware that package authors are not a particularly lazy group, sitting around with nothing to do. My proposal would likely add a non-significant amount of work to the already very generous (and appreciated) work performed by package authors, maintainers, etc. I do, however, believe it would be greatly appreciated and beneficial to have more detailed update information available from the R-console as some of us (users) update packages daily and are often left wondering what exactly has been updated. 

I did not post this to the R-devel list because I consider this proposal more of a documentation issue than a development issue. Also, I would like to see some discussion of this proposal from a varied pool of stakeholders (e.g., users and not just developers, package authors, package maintainers, etc.).  


Jon Starkweather, PhD
University of North Texas
Research and Statistical Support

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