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

Steve Lianoglou mailinglist.honeypot at gmail.com
Mon Oct 31 14:08:47 CET 2011

Hi Matthew,

On Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 8:36 AM, Matthew Landis <landis at isciences.com> wrote:
> Steve,
> My ESS set up already opens help in HTML.  I can't recall the actual process
> of setting it up, but it might be as simple as including this in your
> .emacs:
> (setq ess-help-own-frame 'one)
> (setq inferior-ess-r-help-command "help(\"%s\", help_type=\"html\")\n")
> At least, that's what I've got that seems relevant to help.  I can't claim
> to follow exactly what it's doing though.

I actually had it set to do the same for some time, but I've come to
realize that it's a bit more handy to view the help in an emacs
buffer. What I thought might be cool is to be able to have emacs
launch the help page in your browser from within the help page you are
already looking at in emacs.

For example, I'd type `?plot` to get help on plot to pop up in my
emacs buffer. As I'm browsing it, I (for some reason) think "hey, I
kind of want to see this in my web browser right now" and then press
`w` (or whatever) as I'm reading the help in emacs to then launch it
in the web browser.

> By the way, can anyone tell me why, whenever I call help at the R prompt
> (e.g. ?setZ), the help page opens in my browser but also opens a new ESS
> buffer in a new frame, called, e.g. *help[R](setZ)*.  This is mildly
> annoying.  I would love to have a way of not having that little frame get in
> my way each time I call help.

I think this has come up on the mailing list before -- not sure if
there was an easy fix for it, though.


Steve Lianoglou
Graduate Student: Computational Systems Biology
 | Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
 | Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Contact Info: http://cbio.mskcc.org/~lianos/contact

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