Re: [Rd] "bug report" field in DESCRIPTION file?

From: Martin Maechler <>
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 2009 15:20:37 +0100

>>>>> "DM" == Duncan Murdoch <> >>>>> on Thu, 26 Nov 2009 08:39:27 -0500 writes:

    DM> On 26/11/2009 7:09 AM, Barry Rowlingson wrote:
>> A lot of R packages are now effectively maintained by several people
>> and so use sites like R-forge or google code for development. This
>> means the best way to report bugs or problems with these packages is
>> via the development site's bug tracking rather than emailing the
>> maintainer. Could we agree on a field in DESCRIPTION explicitly for
>> bug reports?
>> The DESCRIPTION file has an optional URL field which generally sends
>> the user to the 'home page' of the package. Whether or not there is a
>> bug tracker somewhere there isn't made explicit, so I don't think
>> overloading URL for a bug report address is a good idea. The Hmisc
>> package mentions its bug tracker in the Description field and also has
>> it in the URL field with three other URLs. This tells me a bug report
>> field might be a better idea.
>> I'd prefer an optional field called 'BugReports:', which would be a
>> URL, and this could either be the http: address of a web site bug
>> tracker or a mailto: URL (of a real live human or a mail-based
>> tracker).
>> If there's agreement on this then a further step may be to write a
>> 'bugreport(package)' function that would first look for a BugReport
>> field, then the URL or maintainer fields to give the poor confused
>> user some advice on what to do. Then when someone emails R-dev saying
>> they think there's a bug in package foo, we can say "Have you read the
>> output of 'bugreport("foo")'?" which might be more helpful than saying
>> 'bugs with 'foo' should be reported to the maintainer'.

    DM> This sounds like a good idea, though I would add a "package" parameter     DM> to the function, rather than creating a new function.

I agree (good idea; use with arguments).

    DM> Does the logic below sound right for with the package     DM> specified?

    DM> If there's a BugReports field, calls browseURL() on that page.

I'm not sure if that's easy: One main reason for is to auto-collect the necessary info and put it into the body of an e-mail message. So, I think the above only "works" when the BugReports fields is a 'mailto:' URL, but not, e.g., when it points to an R-forge bug tracking web page form.

    DM> If not, it does more or less what it does now, but
    DM> - it defaults "address" to the package maintainer. 
    DM> - it adds a line in the intro to the message pointing to the URL field 
    DM> if there was one.

that sounds good.

    DM> Duncan Murdoch

>> Just an idea for a rainy morning...
>> Barry
>> ______________________________________________
>> mailing list

    DM> ______________________________________________
    DM> mailing list     DM> mailing list Received on Thu 26 Nov 2009 - 14:29:00 GMT

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