Re: [R] ISO R-programming docs/refs

From: ronggui <>
Date: Mon 17 Oct 2005 - 22:09:15 EST

R Language Definition

Writing R Extensions

1988 S book (the "Blue Book")

1992 S book (the "White Book")

S programing

Programing with data (about S4)         

>In my job I write custom computer programs for data analysis, which
>are used in our company's consulting business. Whenever I've needed
>statistical analyses I've coded the algorithms myself, but my boss
>wants me to start learning and using R, to speed up development.
>I am very reluctuant to do this because I can't find adequate
>*programming* documentation for R (though I can find a lot of
>inadequate documentation). As far as I can tell, the R documentation
>may be adequate for end-users who don't plan to do much programming
>(if any at all), but it is completely unacceptable from the standpoint
>of programming.
>In a couple of simple exploratory projects I have been reduced to
>programming by *trial and error*. For example, I just spent a couple
>of fruitless hours trying to find information on how to modify a list
>(all my ***guesses*** have failed; they either produce results
>different from what I want, or generate errors such as "replacing
>element in non-existent column"). How much fundamental basic can one
>get in the documentation of a programming language than this sort of
>information?[1] This is just one of many examples. My R code is filled
>with crude hacks that I don't understand, and that I stumbled upon in
>blind scrambles to get my code to work. How can I possible stand by
>the results of my R scripts if they are the product of sheer
>I even bought the R Reference Manual, vols. 1 and 2, and deeply regret
>it, since they are nothing other than a hardcopy of the online manual
>pages[1]. This is no substitute for a reference of the R language and
>how to program it.
>Is my impression correct that R is simply not well-documented enough
>for serious programming? Have I missed a key reference to programming
>R? To those of you who do a lot of programming in R (other than those
>who are members of the R Development team, of course): what references
>do you consult on questions about the programming language itself (as
>opposed to this or that library function)?
>[1] A massive tome that I have called S-Plus 2000 Programmer's guide
>has *nothing* on the subject. Unbelievable! 900 pages and not a word
>on how one modifies a basic data type.

>[2] This, BTW, was a *big* waste of money. I'm all for supporting
>open source development, and often buy hardcopy manuals of free
>software precisely for this reason, but for what I got in return for
>my 100 USD, I'd been far better off sending directly to the R
>Foundation the pittance that the publishers of the manual pass on to
>P.S. I'm aware of Introduction to R; this is OK as a tutorial,

>particularly for end users, but by itself utterly inadequate as a
>reference to the R language.

> mailing list
>PLEASE do read the posting guide!


Deparment of Sociology
Fudan University

My new mail addres is Blog: mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide! Received on Mon Oct 17 22:17:13 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun 23 Oct 2005 - 18:59:08 EST