[R] A comment about R:
ligges at statistik.uni-dortmund.de
Thu Jan 5 09:27:35 CET 2006
François Pinard wrote:
> [David Forrest]
>>[...] A few end-to-end tutorials on some interesting analyses would be
> I'm in the process of learning R. While tutorials are undoubtedly very
> useful, and understanding that working and studying methods vary between
> individuals, what I (for one) would like to have is a fairly complete
> reference manual to the library.
> Of course, we already have one, and that's marvellous already. Yet, it
> is organised by library and, within each library, by function name: this
> organisation means that the manual is mainly used as a reference, or
> else, that it ought to be studied from cover to cover, dauntingly.
> The very same material could be organised by topics. Chapters could be
> named like "General Help", "Language features", "Data types", "Data
> Handling", "Input/Output", "Graphics", "Statistics", and such. The
> chapter "Language features", to take one example, could hold sections
> like "Expressions", "Statements", "Functions", "Environments",
> "Packages", "Execution" and "Debugging". Sections could then hold
> current reference pages. References by library and/or by function name
> could be stated either in appendices or as a general index at the end.
Have a look at help.start() --> Search Engine & Keywords --> Section
"Keywords by Topic".
> For those who happen to know it, I find the "Emacs Lisp Reference
> Manual" to be a good example for organising, in a very usable way,
> a comprehensive reference to a flurry of library functions. When one
> needs string handling functions, they are likely grouped together in the
> manual, and are likely all present. A tutorial, by comparison, usually
> presents a subset, or even a tiny subset, of what is available.
> Not me, or at least, not before quite a long while. The overall
> organisation of a reference should not be handled by beginners. On the
> contrary, it rather requires someone who has comprehensive knowledge of
> all the material to be considered.
> Just an idea. A good work plan would be to establish a new structure
> for a reference manual, and once competent people (or this community as
> a whole) agrees on a structure, to develop mechanical means for
> generating a reference manual out of the current material. The
> mechanism should likely allow for added glue text, about everywhere
> reasonable, and for diagnosing any lone, unreachable page in the current
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