[Rd] How do you make a formal "feature" request?

Greg Snow Greg.Snow at imail.org
Tue Aug 24 18:00:27 CEST 2010

I can claim some responsibility for 3 sets of functions that are in "core R", well they are in packages, but then so is the plot function, but packages that are loaded automatically in a default installation of R.  My piece of the responsibility is probably more the blame than credit (the credit goes to the R Core members who implemented the actual functions), but I will tell you the process, maybe it will work for you as well.

In my case, all the functions started with me writing my own version of the function(s) and putting them into one of my packages.  This included actual working code that did the basics of what I wanted and help pages detailing the goal/intent of the function(s) along with examples showing what it should do.  Others started using some of these functions as well until they came to the attention of a member of the R core group.  The fact that my functions were being used (or similar functionality) showed that there was interest beyond myself, the help pages showed clearly what was desired and the examples showed how it should work.  But in each of those cases (I have many other functions that have not inspired anything in core R, but are still useful in my packages) there was something about my code or implementation that the R come member saw could be improved (a phrase along the lines of "ugliest I've seen" was used in one case) and generally in less than a week from when the discussion started, there was a new function or functions in R-devel that did what my original functions tried to do, only better.

In one case the R core function did everything that I had stated in the help file, ran all the examples correctly, but did not do one of the other things that I had tried privately, but never publicized (no bug, it did what the help page said, ran all my public examples).  A bit later I presented the other situation and asked if it could be expanded to do that as well, and in just a few days the R-devel version (now in the regular version) worked for the new example as well.

So, here is a success story of what you are trying to accomplish, I think the key elements were/are:

Show that you are willing to put in some effort
Clear documentation of what you want the function(s) to do
Enough usability that others use or are interested as well

Hope this helps,

Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
greg.snow at imail.org

> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-devel-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-devel-bounces at r-
> project.org] On Behalf Of Donald Winston
> Sent: Saturday, August 21, 2010 9:41 AM
> To: R Devel List
> Subject: [Rd] How do you make a formal "feature" request?
> Who decides what features are in R and how they are implemented? If
> there is someone here who has that authority I have this request:
> A report() function analogous to the plot() function that makes it easy
> to generate a report from a table of data. This should not be in some
> auxiliary package, but part of the core R just like plot(). As a long
> time SAS user I cannot believe R does not have this. Please don't give
> me any crap about Sweave, LaTex, and the "power" of R to roll your own.
> You don't have to "roll your own" plot do you? Reports are no
> different. If you don't agree do not bother me. If you agree then
> please bring this request to the appropriate authorities for
> consideration or tell me how to do it.
> Thanks.
> 	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]
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