[Rd] What is "R NEWS format"?

From: Sietse Brouwer <sbbrouwer_at_gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 21:47:20 +0100

Dear list,

I've found a few references 'R NEWS format' (see below), but nowhere a description of what this format *is*. Looking at examples on CRAN didn't help, either: as far as I saw conventions were all over the place.

5 example NEWS files (packages admittedly chosen for spread rather than similarity)

Base: http://cran.r-project.org/src/base/NEWS
Vegan: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/vegan/NEWS
lme4: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/lme4/NEWS
plyr: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/plyr/NEWS
lattice: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/lattice/NEWS

The main reference I could find was to 'GNU news files', but that one's more about form than contents, too.

So, the NEWS file that goes in the top of the package tree. Is there a standard format that should be followed; or should there be one? All answers appreciated.

Kind regards,

Sietse Brouwer

>From "Writing R Extensions":
http://cran.r-project.org/doc/manuals/R-exts.html#Package-structure "For the conventions for files NEWS and ChangeLog in the GNU project see http://www.gnu.org/prep/standards/standards.html#Documentation."

Here's from the R Forge:
http://www.rforge.net/do/rf/eng/docs.html "If a project contains a NEWS file in its repository root then it is accessible (in beautified form) as "News" menu item. It is assumed to be in a form similar to R's NEWS file, but any format will do."

A checkNEWS function in the 'tools' package (which I couldn't find on CRAN): http://www.inside-r.org/r-doc/tools/checkNEWS "Read R's ‘NEWS’ file or a similarly formatted one."

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