[ESS] Problems invoking help when R wants to know which (of > 1) help pages you are looking for

Kasper Daniel Hansen kasperdanielhansen at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 04:14:37 CEST 2012

However, this would be awesome to fix.  I frequently run R in a screen
over ssh without X.  The tcltk does not work.  And for those of us who
are frequent users of Bioconductor we very often are in the situation
that we have multiple help pages for a given command.  Very often - I
run into this problem daily.


On Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 4:36 PM, Martin Maechler
<maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch> wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:02, Rodney Sparapani <rsparapa at mcw.edu> wrote:
>> Steve Lianoglou wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> Using ESS, I've always been tripped up when I try to invoke ?help on a
>>> particular function when there are several possible help options to
>>> consider and R is asking us which one we want (vial making a selection
>>> via the keyboard).
>>> An example would be loading the BiocGenerics package (bioconductor)
>>> and invoking `?lapply` (it makes an S4 generic out of it)
>>> R asks you if you want help in base::lapply or BiocGenerics::lapply. I
>>> have help configured to open in ESS, and it usually just hangs. It
>>> used to be that if I punch ctrl-g and ctrl-c enough times it'll "snap
>>> out of it," but now it just hangs and I can't back out -- the only
>>> option (I think) I have left is to kill emacs and start over. This
>>> perma-hanging thing might be because I recently set `(setq
>>> ess-eval-visibly-p nil)` so that blocks of R code eval'd via C-c C-r
>>> don't hang emacs[1] (not sure), but either way the behavior I was
>>> experience never really felt right.
>>> Is there something I can do (or settings to check/tweak) to fix this?
>>> Or am I alone in experiencing this?
>>> I'm runninng emacs 23.4 and ess 12.04 on OSX.6.8
>>> Thanks,
>>> -steve
>>> [1] as suggested here:
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/ess-help/2012-April/007745.html
>> I don't have the BiocGenerics
>> package installed.  Do you have this issue with other generic
>> functions like print?
> a simple reproducible example is
> library(Matrix)
> ?rcond
> This works fine (*) on Linux  unless you have tcltk somehow disabled.
> (*) "fine": means that -- as outside of ESS -- a tcltk popup window
> ask you about *which* of the two possible help pages you want to see.
> This is one of the oldest open wishlist items for ESS, not so easy to
> fulfill originally, notably
> because the R side was "not ready" originally :
> Ideally, in this case,  ESS would see that there are two options, and
> would use an Emacs
> "popup", i.e., ask typically use one of the emacs ways to let the user
> chose between options.
> More recent versions of R (>= 2.14.0 I think) have had a somewhat improved
> object (!) returned from help() that ESS could "look at" before  print()ing it.
> For me, it's too late in the evening now, to look further.
> Martin
> ______________________________________________
> ESS-help at r-project.org mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/ess-help

More information about the ESS-help mailing list