Re: [R] Documentation General Comments

From: Beck, Kenneth (STP) <>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2008 09:22:58 -0500

Agree that terseness is good, but I also agree with other posters that better cross referencing or maybe an index of synonyms would be good.

So far, the best suggestion is the pdf at this link


Is there a way to pop at least part of this into the R-base help page? Are there legal or copyright issues? If I had known this from the start, it would have been much better. A good analogy is that old cartoon of the blind guys trying to figure out what an elephant is. The guys feeling at the front get a much different impression than the guys poking at the back side. I felt like that using R data structures, had to blindly poke around trying different things, 90% of which did not work, yeilding only error messages, but now knowing the underlying organisation it is going much more smoothly. Ideally this kind of basic info would be in the core R docuemtation, you should not have to search this hard to get it!

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Bert Gunter
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 10:29 AM
Subject: Re: [R] Documentation General Comments

FWIW: I consider the documentation of Core R to be one of its great strengths: it is terse (read: to the point), detailed, and accurate. I find it eminently useful and helpful. Indeed, it was why I made the decision some years ago to switch from S-Plus to R (I readily acknowledge that S-Plus may have improved its docs since then -- haven't looked at it in years). While I understand that it may not suit everyone -- learning styles differ, after all -- may I at least say that there is one user out here who is appreciative of the hard work and care that has gone into the documentation. Far FAR better than anything I could do!

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Greg Snow
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 8:16 AM
To: Beck, Kenneth (STP); Subject: Re: [R] Documentation General Comments

This is a case of you can't please everyone. A while back there was some complaint that "Introduction to R" spent to much time on talking about the different types of variables, just the opposite complaint of yours.

There are several other sources of documentation (look under the books link on the R homepage or the contributed documentation link on any CRAN site, also browse through the newsletter). For more in depth information on variable types and object oriented programming in R you may want to invest in a copy of "S Programming" by Venables and Ripley.

If you have specific questions (about data types, or other) then tell us what you have read and what you still do not understand and you are more likely to get a useful answer. (also read the posting guide that is referenced at the bottom of almost all posts to the list).

Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
(801) 408-8111

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf Of Beck, Kenneth (STP)
> Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 3:56 PM
> To:
> Subject: [R] Documentation General Comments
> I realize the R developers are probably overwhelmed and have little
> time for this, but the documentation really needs some serious
> reorganizaton.
> A good through description of basic variable types would help a lot,
> e.g. the difference between lists, arrays, matrices and frames. And,
> it appears there is some object-orientation to R, but it is not
> complete. I can't, for instance find a "metafile" method for a
> "recordedplot" type, using either the variable direclty or the
> replayPlot() method. I am sorry to post this, but I am really having
> trouble sorting out certain methods in "R". The basic tutorial
> "Introduction to R" is so basic, it hardly helps at all, then digging
> through documentation is really an exercise in frustration. The
> SimpleR is also so basic it is of little help other than to just get
> started. I occasionally find answers in the mailing list. See my later

> post on recordPlot for a good example.
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Received on Thu 24 Apr 2008 - 14:27:08 GMT

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