[R-pkg-devel] Package Etiquette

Dirk Eddelbuettel edd @ending from debi@n@org
Sun Sep 9 16:30:02 CEST 2018

Hi Joseph,

On 8 September 2018 at 21:11, Joseph Wood wrote:
| I’m a new developer and this is my first post. I have a question regarding
| package development with regards to duplication of functionality. I read
| the posting guide (https://www.r-project.org/posting-guide.html) and didn’t
| see anything addressing this.

I sense that by actually asking the question (good move!) you already have an
inkling about the answer.  So indeed, _ex ante_ and with the caveat about
missing details and not knowing more: it is generally a bad thing.

Every now and then we manage to avoid it.  Eg I once had an (incomplete and
tentative but functional) package to have R interface the (awesome !!)
MessagePack binary serialization format (using C++ via Rcpp).  Then I spotted
a new package by Travers doing very similar things (in broader scope) via
R. So I suggested we joing forces, we did and the resulting package is much
better. So much so that we wrote a (not yet complete) paper about it too.

But it is a complex topic, and sometimes we need different approaches. And
the best person to ask may be the maintainer of the package you aim to

The best answer may be in the _Writing R Extensions_ manual that came with
your copy of R.  It is the only "official" manual for package development.

| Is this the right place to ask?

Quite possibly, as it is the list about package development. Some more
pertinent detail may help, and as mentioned, maybe first talking to the
maintainer may not be a bad idea.

But to close: it is not formally forbidden, and duplication _happens_.  Good
judgement always helps, sometimes good judgement is informed by observing
best (prior) practice. And/or by asking here.

Hope this helps, Dirk

http://dirk.eddelbuettel.com | @eddelbuettel | edd using debian.org

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