[R] R newbie example code question

Michael Friendly friendly at yorku.ca
Fri Jan 13 15:54:47 CET 2006


Your .xthelp is extremely useful, help on Linux being otherwise
quite awkward to use since a pager in the same window make it hard
to cut/paste examples --- where 'more' or 'less' really means
'instead of' :-)

Suggestion: include -title

      cat("cat > $HLPFIL\nxterm -title 'R-help' -e less $HLPFIL &\n", 

<hint>It would be nice if this solution made it into the R-FAQ or R-Admin
Failing that, it is a good example of something that would
work well in a wiki.  But, thankfully, you included the subject line
from the original thread to make it searchable in the news archives.

(Ted Harding) wrote:

>   [R] help output paged in separate window
> The solution I finally opted for, and still use,
> is based (in a Linux environment) on including
> the following code in your .Rprofile file:
> .xthelp <- function() {
>     tdir <- tempdir()
>     pgr <- paste(tdir, "/pgr", sep="")
>     con <- file(pgr, "w")
>     cat("#! /bin/bash\n", file=con)
>     cat("export HLPFIL=`mktemp ", tdir, "/R_hlp.XXXXXX`\n",
>          sep="", file=con)
>     cat("cat > $HLPFIL\nxterm -e less $HLPFIL &\n", file=con)
>     close(con)
>     system(paste("chmod 755 ", pgr, sep=""))
>     options(pager=pgr)
> }
> .xthelp()
> rm(.xthelp)
> (and it's also specific to the 'bash' shell because
> of the "#! /bin/bash\n", but you should be able to
> change this appropriately). The above was posted by
> Roger Bivand on 27 May.
> When you start an R session, this code is executed as
> part of sourcing your .Rprofile, and it has the effect that
> any output from R which would be paged is stored in a
> temporary  file which is then read by 'less' in a
> separate X window which is detached from your R session
> (i.e. your command interface will not hang while it is
> being displayed). You can close the X window displaying
> the 'less' output by closing 'less' (e.g. type "q"), or
> you can leave it open and any new paged output will go
> into a new window -- so you can for instance do
> ?glm
> ?family
> ?binomial
> and you will have three mutually relevant help windows
> open at once between which you can cross-reference.
> As to extracting the code for examples, this is easy
> in X windows since you just use your mouse: left-button
> drag to hghlight a block of text, middle-button click
> to paste the block into another window (of course the
> mouse must be over the correct window!)
> So you can use the mouse to copy code from the "help"
> pages to the command window.
> As I say, this is a Linux-oriented solution, and I don't
> know what details would be required for anything similar
> in a Windows environment.
> It is also worth reading the various contributions to
> the above thread, since several suggestions were made.
> Hoping this helps,
> Ted.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
> Date: 10-Jan-06                                       Time: 13:30:35
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Michael Friendly     Email: friendly AT yorku DOT ca
Professor, Psychology Dept.
York University      Voice: 416 736-5115 x66249 Fax: 416 736-5814
4700 Keele Street    http://www.math.yorku.ca/SCS/friendly.html
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