Re: [Rd] Suggestion: help(<package name>)

From: Torsten Hothorn <>
Date: Wed 08 Jun 2005 - 07:37:02 GMT

On Tue, 7 Jun 2005, Duncan Murdoch wrote:


> My proposal (modified following the suggestions I've heard so far) is as
> follows:
> - to check that a couple of help topic aliases exist (<pkg>.package
> and <pkg>)
> - to recommend that <pkg>.package contain general information about
> the package, and that <pkg> be an alias for it, if it isn't used for
> some other purpose.
> - to write promptPackage() to help create an initial version of
> <pkg>.package.Rd. It can get some information from the DESCRIPTION
> file; perhaps it could go looking for a vignette, or the INDEX, or
> - to modify the other help system tools to make use of this (e.g. the
> package:<pkg> heading on a page would become a link to the <pkg>.package
> alias, etc.)

as a package author who already provides help pages for general package descriptions (`?multcomp' and `?coin' work and, if I remember correctly, Martin suggested to include the advertisement this way) I must admit that I never say `?foo' when I'm interested in a global overview about a new package `foo'.

Instead, `library(help = foo)' gives what I want to see, namely the title and description of a package and all documented topics. One may argue that asking `library' for help is not the most obvious thing to do. But people able to recall that fitting an ANOVA model requires `aov' and comparing two models needs `anova' should be able to have `library' in mind for general package information.

So, for me having infrastructure for _automatically_ generated overviews is very nice, but _forcing_ package authors to provide additional meta-information would be less welcome.


Torsten mailing list Received on Wed Jun 08 17:47:49 2005

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