Using zip format for help pages, examples, etc.
25 Mar 1999 14:06:45 -0600
At the Vienna meeting we discussed the problems encountered on some
operating systems when storing many small files in a directory. In
particular the directories $RHOME/library/base/help/,
$RHOME/library/base/R-ex/, and $RHOME/library/base/data/ can take up
an enormous amount of storage on the Macintosh or on Windows systems
because the minimum amount of storage per distinct file is quite
Fritz Leisch and I suggested storing the contents of each of these
directories as a single .zip file. This should result in considerable
savings in size with little penalty in access speed.
To implement this we would need code for accessing files within a .zip
archive and for decompressing the files. I know of the files from
Info-Zip including the zlib sources (compression/decompression) and
the contrib/minizip directory in the zlib source tree. The minizip
directory provides a prototype unzip.c and unzip.h. These would be
used to modify the R internal function file.exists and file.show so
they could look in the archive as well as in a directory.
Does anyone know of a reason why this would not be a good idea? Does
anyone know of better|more_portable|whatever implementations of code
to access files within a .zip archive. The info-zip sources are
available at http://www.cdrom.com/pub/infozip/zlib/
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