[ESS] Feature Idea: open help in browser when viewing it in an emacs buffer

Vitalie Spinu spinuvit.list at gmail.com
Tue Nov 1 17:23:06 CET 2011

> (1) browsing of vignettes, a la the output from browseVignettes()
This one is quite easy to implement including links to pdf, Rnw and R
code. Will do it in the weekend.

> (2) I think you did this already: package index
> (3) making the help system work for package?, class? etc.  Right now
> they print to the *R* buffer instead of to a separate help buffer

This one is also straightforward, a couple of months ago I posted a
patch for ??. The same should work for class? etc.

An usability comment here. I personally never needed this feature,
mainly because I am using IDO activated everywhere
I just call help completion (C-c C-v), then type "-cla C-SPC" and my
completion list is reduced to all help pages with *-cla* in them. I
type Chol, and get {Cholesky-class, Cholesky-factorization-class,
pCyolesky-class} in my minubuffer. Same thing works for packages or
methods, type "-meth C-SPC", "-pack C-SPC".

If you have never used IDO, have a look at this screencast

IDO is part of emacs, I am convinced that ESS should take advantage of
it and use it whenever present. Being an unique feature of emacs this
has the potential of bringing more users to ESS. If there are people
interested I can look into refactoring ess completion mechanism a bit
to use IDO.

> (4) It would be nice to somehow get improved help for S4 methods.
> This could be something as simple as showing all signatures for a
> given method

I am using IDO by default for flagging S4-methods for debugging in
ess-tracebug (http://code.google.com/p/ess-tracebug/#Flag/Unflag_for_Debugging).
Same mechanism could be applied for help in principle, but as I've
already said making IDO work for ess completion makes it simple


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