[R] permutations in R

Wacek Kusnierczyk Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk at idi.ntnu.no
Wed Mar 18 09:42:44 CET 2009

Stavros Macrakis wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 5:24 AM, Gavin Simpson <gavin.simpson at ucl.ac.uk> wrote:
>> On Mon, 2009-03-16 at 18:43 -0400, Stavros Macrakis wrote:
>>> ... no way to find relevant functions, and no way of knowing which one to use if there is more than one.
>> That is what the Task Views are meant to address, for discrete subject areas.
> Thanks for the information about Task Views -- I was completely
> unaware of this effort, which looks very valuable.
> Shouldn't it be linked from somewhere in the 'documentation' section
> of r-project.org?
> Since it was not, I was unaware of the master CRAN documentation page
> (http://cran.r-project.org/) -- and I still don't know how to get to
> this page from the R-project home page.  The only link to CRAN info on
> the R-project home page is entitled "Download"; 

not exactly true;  the links 'manuals' and 'faqs' under 'documentation'
on the r homepage will lead you to cran, too.  but it's a pity that the
r homepage is not explicit about what 'cran' means, and does not link to
the root of cran.

but if you type 'cran' in the address field of your browser (at least in
firefox, though not in opera), you should get the cran homepage.  but
you need to know in advance.

> when you click on
> CRAN, you get a list of mirror sites.  If you then click on any
> particular mirror site, you get a page (e.g.
> http://lib.stat.cmu.edu/R/CRAN/) which talks about downloading
> binaries and source. On clicking Software/Packages, you get to a page
> with an alphabetical list of a large number of packages, which finally
> mentions CRAN Task Views.  

wow!  the only way i knew to get to the task views was to search the
mailing lists archives for a post where the task views were mentioned,
and then follow the link.

seriously, once you're at the cran homepage, you have a direct and
explicit link to task views in the 'cran' section in the menu.  also,
when you choose 'packages' under 'software' in the menu, you see a page
where it says

CRAN Task Views allow you to browse packages by topic and provide tools
to automatically install all packages for special areas of interest.
Currently, 23 views are available.

> It's a pity that such valuable information
> is so hard to find in the site.  

*so* hard?

on the side, the task views are curated manually, with all benefits and
drawbacks of this approach.   it could be helpful if packages were
indexed, e.g., by keywords, tags, or a more structured vocabulary,
allowing a user to construct 'task views' dynamically, depending on the
values of a selection of criteria.
there is the rsitesearch [1], but it will only "allow you to search the
contents of most of the r functions, and r-help mail archives", which is
not quite the same as browsing a package repository organized with a
collection of, possibly structured, keywords. 


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