[R] Severe growing pains with new help system

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Tue Oct 27 00:05:53 CET 2009

I don't see anything below that is new today.  Are you saying you didn't 
test any of the pre-release versions?  You're basically stuck with the 
features that come out in .0 releases until the next one.  I'll fix the 
typo in 4, but the rest of it is unlikely to change much in the next six 

Duncan Murdoch

On 26/10/2009 6:46 PM, Kevin Wright wrote:
> (On Windows XP with R 2.10.0)
> 1. In the past, I have used a desktop search engine (X1) to pre-index all of
> R's html help files.  Obviously, this no longer works with dynamic help
> pages.  It also appears that the .Rd files are converted to a binary format
> when installed and cannot be indexed by X1.
> 2. I like to use firefox to type 'xyplot' into the 'awesome bar' and go to
> the appropriate help page.  This obviously no longer works.
> 3. I daily run several different R sessions to keep different projects
> separate.  The NEWS file says:
> - The HTML help can now locate cross-references of the form
> \link[pkg]{foo} and \link[pkg:foo]{bar} where 'foo' is an
> alias in the package, rather than the documented (basename
> of a) filename (since the documentation has been much ignored).
> This appears to only be true if the original R session is still active.
> Close one R session and the links die in the browser.  Aahg!  What madness!
> 4.  The NEWS file says:
> o A new dynamic HTML help system is used by default, and may be
> controlled using tools::startDynamicHelp().  With this enabled,
> HTML help pages will be generated on request, resolving links
> by searching through the current .libPaths().  The user
> may set option("help.ports") to control which IP port is used
> by the server.
> This should be 'options', of course.  The 'options' page does not reference
> "help.ports", but from an email on r-help I see options(help.ports =
> sample(6800:6850)).  So I can fix the port at 6800, but the help page for
> xyplot still disappears after closing an R session.
> 5. If I want to use --enable-prebuilt-html, I assume that I will have to
> download the source and configure/build it myself instead of using the
> pre-compiled Windows binaries?  Same with packages?  (Sorry if this is
> obvious, I've never needed to do this before.)
> Looking for a new workflow and remembering why I don't like to use ".0"
> releases...
> Kevin Wright
> 	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]
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