[R] FAQ package, anyone?

baptiste Auguié baptiste.auguie at googlemail.com
Tue Aug 10 14:31:18 CEST 2010

Dear list,

Here's a reproducible example that fails,

Error in library(faq) : there is no package called 'faq'

faq("lattice sweave")
Error: could not find function "faq"

As a fun challenge, I propose to remedy this by creating a fortune-like package dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) entries. The aim is multifold,

1- Provide a generic template for use in a variety of situations. I imagine that any package could then define its own FAQ entries and use the faq package to display them, search, etc.

2- Improve the visibility of the current FAQ: currently directing someone to a FAQ entry involves some web-browsing, which is not as convenient as it could be (compare with  fortune()).

3- Once stored in a R-like data format, the FAQ could be straight-forwardly converted into a wide variety of output formats, including the original html page (thus made easier to maintain, perhaps).

4- Extend and generalise the fortune package to similar kinds of problems. 

In practical terms, I can imagine the following distinct steps,

- check the FAQ license, and whether we can borrow its content

- use some kind of html parsing package (XML?, i forget)

- clean up the data and store it as a data.frame or higher class

- modify / generalise the fortune functions to deal with the different fields and categories

- write output formatting functions

et voilà!

Comments, contributions, etc. welcome



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