[Rd] ChangeLog for R packages {was "Wish list"}

Martin Maechler maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch
Tue Jan 20 08:49:34 MET 2004

>>>>> "Dirk" == Dirk Eddelbuettel <edd at debian.org>
>>>>>     on Mon, 19 Jan 2004 12:55:11 -0600 writes:

    >> For CRAN to list changes to other packages would require cooperation
    >> from all the package developers. If the maintainer of acepack isn't
    >> sufficiently together to reply to your messages, he probably won't be
    >> keeping up with other aspects of change tracking.  Even trying to
    >> extract a NEWS or Changelog file might not work -- eg for survival the
    >> Changelog file is Terry Therneau's change log, not my log for changes to
    >> the R port.

    Dirk> Debian uses a convention that (somewhat simplified)

    Dirk> if the package is a standard upstream package then
    Dirk>     its changelog or news or changes or ... file 
    Dirk>     is installed as ChangeLog
    Dirk>     and the Debian maintainer changes go into ChangeLog.Debian
    Dirk> else if the package is a 'native' Debian package
    Dirk>     the changelog is installed as ChangeLog
    Dirk> fi

    Dirk> R CMD check could warn if there is not ChangeLog or Changes file, and
    Dirk> thereby suggest that authors provide them.

"Of course" "R CMD check" would have the harder job of also have
to work properly on non-Debian, non-Linux, even non-Unix systems..
For Windows, there's already the filename capitalization mess.

    Dirk> R CMD install could install them in a standard place as we control the
    Dirk> installation mechanism.

    Dirk> Would that help?  In order to parse a Changelog, we'd
    Dirk> need a common format.  We could start with the
    Dirk> standard emacs mode (with vi or, mercy on them,
    Dirk> notepad users can emulate free-hand).  Or is all this
    Dirk> too restrictive?

I would be very much in favor of this.  But then I'm biased:
Using Emacs 100% and using ChangeLog's for most of my packages
 {for those who don't know: "C-x 4 a" = add-change-log-entry-other-window
  this works even from an PKG/R/foo.R file, adding to toplevel
  PKG/ChangeLog, automatically inserting the R/foo.R filename
  (and a function name) there.
Having a common format for parsing would allow for quite a few
things, one of the first being a translation to HTML.

    Dirk> The good thing is that enough rigour was put into CRAN
    Dirk> practices early so ensure a very decent level of
    Dirk> conformity across packages. We could try to extend this.

Honestly,  I did have the same idea after Frank's post  --- not
knowing the Debian setup --- but didn't post *because* of my
biases (above).

Martin Maechler <maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch>	http://stat.ethz.ch/~maechler/
Seminar fuer Statistik, ETH-Zentrum  LEO C16	Leonhardstr. 27
ETH (Federal Inst. Technology)	8092 Zurich	SWITZERLAND
phone: x-41-1-632-3408		fax: ...-1228			<><

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