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

Duncan Lang duncan at wald.ucdavis.edu
Wed Jan 21 15:48:04 MET 2004

Some of us don't mind using XML because it gives us much more
flexibility to do interesting things with our data quite easily at the
expense of a little markup.  If we are going to insist on a particular
form, please let's not make it the lowest common denominator so that
it penalizes people who use richer formats.  This only increases the
need for separate repositories like Omegahat where the nature of many
of the packages is outside the scope of the R CMD check tools (by
necessity) and so cannot be put on CRAN.

If we have to insist on checking a particular format, but allowing for
the possibility of multiple versions, we have one format that we know
is rich enough for everybody and from which we can generate human
readable versions during a build.  And that is an R object!  Having a
tool that takes a Debian or any other format and converting it to an R
object would still allow others who use XML or any other format to do
the same.  But if we have to write XSL or R functions to process XML
to Debian Changelog, it is just one more hurdle that prohibits other
work from being done.

So why not use R as a useful programming language for manipulating
these data in such a way that others can extend the S4 classes
representing the changelog information and we can immediately have a
foundation that supports growth and experimentation.  We have already
seen issues about writing Perl scripts and trying to manage them in
the future to admit additions.


Duncan Murdoch wrote:
> On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 08:48:12 +0000 (GMT), you wrote:
> >Encourage or force?
> >
> >Quite a few packages do already have a ChangeLog, and I took the thrust of 
> >this thread to be to require one or at least nag for one.  
> I think it should be required, and as with Rd files, we'll check the
> form but not the content.  For example, require an entry in a
> specified format for the current version number, and have optional
> entries for earlier version numbers.
> I have no idea what the Debian ChangeLog format looks like (other than
> the R example!), but I'd say if we do this, it would make sense to use
> the same format as NEWS (and the Windows CHANGES file), or put those
> two files into the new format.  They are currently easy to edit
> manually and easy to print and read.  I don't think the same could be
> said of an XML format, but I could be wrong.
> Duncan Murdoch
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