[Rd] RFC: What should ?foo do?

hadley wickham h.wickham at gmail.com
Fri Apr 25 06:23:50 CEST 2008

>  I am not convinced that ?foo should do this however. help("foo")
>  conceptually seems predicated upon the notion that a user is looking for
>  a reference/help page for a specific function or descriptor called
>  'foo'. The user knows the name of the function or descriptor and should
>  not have to wait for a search function to locate it or conceptually

Is that true?  That does limit the usefulness of ? as it implies that
you must already know the function that you need.

>  related terms. If the user has a large number of CRAN packages
>  installed, such a search can take a rather long time. That's an issue
>  for example with help.search().

But that's just a problem with the current implementation.  Better
indexing could make full text search of all documentation practical
instantaneous.  This is one argument for a centralised documentation
web site - such indices are much easier to set up in a modern web
development environment.  I could imagine this being an eventual
feature of crantastic.org, but it requires on some tool to turn Rd
files into a form more easily parsed with off-the-shelf tools (ideally



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