[ESS] Is html help configurable now?

Martin Maechler maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch
Mon Oct 5 17:40:09 CEST 2009

>>>>> "StEgl" == Stephen Eglen <S.J.Eglen at damtp.cam.ac.uk>
>>>>>     on Mon, 05 Oct 2009 09:51:47 +0100 writes:

    >> And as said, I think we (ESS core) should change this
    >> ASAP, not the least because the upcoming R version 2.10.0
    >> comes with it's own little https server and builds html
    >> pages on the fly...

    StEgl> hi Martin,

    StEgl> if it is relevant, could you or someone else on Rcore
    StEgl> say something more about this feature -- is R moving
    StEgl> towards building help pages on the fly?  

Short answer: yes.

    StEgl> If so, will ESS get 'left behind' if the dynamic help
    StEgl> pages are rendered only in html, and we don't have a
    StEgl> way of reading them?  Or is this building of html
    StEgl> pages for other purposes?

the main benefit currently has been the building of cross
package hyperlinks  (from the original Rd  \link[pkg]{...}),
and as 'text' output has no links, that was not considered.
But note that also text output is (or can be?) produced  "on the fly".

One of my main reasons for not (yet?) wanting to leave
emacs-buffer help is the nice emacs-like help-buffer navigation
*AND* the simple one-key ("l") evaluation of examples' in the help.

    StEgl> (I've recently started using w3m under Emacs, and it
    StEgl> is great for limited browsing, so I could investigate
    StEgl> getting ESS and w3m to co-operate.)

ideally, by using an emacs html renderer, we'd get the best of
both worlds: 
   - Fast emacs-like help buffer navigation
   - send R example code from the help buffer to *R*
   - hyperlinks between help pages (and "to outside URSs")
      working nicely


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