Re: [Rd] why is \alias{anRpackage} not mandatory?

From: Duncan Murdoch <>
Date: Mon, 06 Oct 2008 06:35:15 -0400

Thomas Petzoldt wrote:
> Dear R developers,
> if one uses package.skeleton() to create a new package, then a file
> anRpackage.Rd with the following entries is prepared:
> \name{anRpackage-package}
> \alias{anRpackage-package}
> \alias{anRpackage}
> \docType{package}
> Packages created this way have a definite entry or overview page, so:
> ?anRpackage
> gives new users of a certain package a pointer where to start reading.
> This is similar for packages which have the same name as their main
> workhorse function, e.g. zoo or nlme, but there are many packages which
> don't have an \alias{anRpackage}.
> "Writing R Extensions", sec. 2.1.4 says:
> "Packages may have an overview man page with an \alias pkgname-package,
> e.g. `utils-package' for the utils package, when package?pkgname will
> open that help page. If a topic named pkgname does not exist in another
> Rd file, it is helpful to use this as an additional \alias."
> My question: what speaks against making this sentence more pronounced
> and why not NOTE-ing a missing package alias in the package check?
Not everybody likes the idea of the overview man page, so when I wrote that I left it weak. Some of the disadvantages:

It would probably be a good idea to generate one automatically if not provided by the author, at build or install time: this would address the first point. I've been slowly working on some fixes that address the second point. (The current idea is to use Sweave-like constructs to import things from the DESCRIPTION file at install time.) There's no way to address the third point other than providing a better format, and I don't see any prospect of that happening.

Duncan Murdoch mailing list Received on Mon 06 Oct 2008 - 10:45:36 GMT

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