[R] A possible way to reduce basic questions
bitwrit at ozemail.com.au
Fri Dec 3 10:48:15 CET 2004
I have been thinking about how to reduce the number of basic questions that
elicit the ...ahem... robust debate that has occurred about how to answer
One theme of such questions is "I want to do this, is there a function to do
it?" These usually receive the:
reply if the respondent is in a good mood. I hypothesize that if those
seeking a function had a searchable list of all the functions available, they
would be more likely to discover the answer for themselves. I sincerely hope
that this would help both the questioners and the answerers and the list
To this end, I have written a small C program that compiles and runs on my
Linux system. Given the R library directory as an argument, it builds a list
of all the INDEX files, then writes an HTML page with a table for each
package present. As all HTML browsers with which I am familiar can search a
page for arbitrary strings, this will allow the questioner to search for the
presence of the term they seek in the INDEX file of any package.
I think this program or something similar could produce a regularly updated
list of functions available on CRAN, and that list would be easy enough to
search to encourage anyone who was looking for a function to try it.
It's a bit rough at the moment, as INDEX files vary in format, but I am
willing to refine the program if those responsible for the CRAN sites would
be willing to use it.
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