Re: [Rd] Please explain your workflow from R code -> package -> R code -> package

From: Hadley Wickham <>
Date: Fri, 09 Sep 2011 13:41:39 -0500

> | In other languages, I've seen to write the documentation inside the
> | code files and then post-process to make the documentation.  Is there
> | a similar thing for R, to unify the R code development and
> | documentation/package-making process?
> You can also follow the cool kids who these days tie some of this together
> using roxygen.

It's not the cool kids who are doing this, it's the lazy kids ;) Roxygen(2) does remove a considerable amount of replication between code and documentation (e.g. replicating function usage in two places), and the close proximity between code and documentation does make it easier to remember to update your documentation when the code changes.

Roxygen2 adds a few other tools for reducing duplication like templates, the ability to inherit parameter documentation from other function, and the family tag to automatically add seealso references between all members of a related family of functions. These are things that are painful to do by hand and add a significance maintenance burden.

I agree that there's no silver bullet, but good tools certainly can make life easier.


Assistant Professor / Dobelman Family Junior Chair
Department of Statistics / Rice University

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