[ESS] Advice on setting up ESS to edit and knit Rmarkdown files

Sparapani, Rodney r@p@r@p@ @end|ng |rom mcw@edu
Mon Sep 20 15:59:13 CEST 2021

Hi Gang:

I’m not directly answering the question because I don’t use Rmd
(but I do use Rnw all of the time).  And, just to react to a few of
Dirk’s and Tyler’s comments.  Over the last few years, we have
moved away from having to set up features with .emacs/etc.
as much as possible.  Generally, this stuff should just work
out-of-the-box.  For example, there was a time where I was
struggling with Rnw and couldn’t figure out what was wrong by
changing settings/debugging/etc.  But, after an upgrade,
everything just worked.  If you think you have really identified
a bug, then please make a reproducible example and posted
on git as an issue.  In my view, this last post is related to our
new release model.

This model has not been communicated to my recollection
but is de facto.  We had planned
to release 1:2 times per year.  However, that largely
stopped about 2018.  Now, it is pretty much just
grabbing from git where most of these issues have
been worked out, i.e., the repo is supposed to be
in a continual working state (although there may be
occasional mishaps just like anything else).  Part of the
reason for moving to git (unintentionally) is that our
copyrights have mostly been attributed to the FSF.
However, there are a few pieces that are inconveniently
absent.  Similarly, there are a few key pieces that oldsters
like me still want that are found in obsolete.  Not directly
related, but a similar concern is that there is still the issue
of polymode being needed but not part of ESS which you
have to get from git (don’t get me stared julia-mode!).

So, lots of excuses, pick your favorite.  But the upshot
is that git is as convenient as it gets.  And we are not a
company like RStudio so this FOSS setup works for
us as developers and hopefully it still serves the
users well.  I hope that helps from a philosophical
point of view.  My students are unconvinced
and use RStudio but I am not allowed to fail them
for their merely youthful indiscretions ;o)

Rodney Sparapani, Associate Professor of Biostatistics
Chair ISBA Section on Biostatistics and Pharmaceutical Statistics
Institute for Health and Equity, Division of Biostatistics
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Campus

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