[ESS] help("foo") opens web browser but ?foo doesn't

Henrik Singmann henrik.singmann at psychologie.uni-freiburg.de
Wed Mar 13 16:13:28 CET 2013

Hi Keith,

Great, your pointer solved the issue. I just added the following to my .emacs:

(defun my-R-execute-options ()
     (ess-command "options(help_type = \"html\")\n"))
(add-hook 'ess-R-post-run-hook 'my-R-execute-options)

The relevant post from Vitalie Spinu can be found here: https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/ess-help/2012-September/008204.html

Thanks a lot for everyone who helped and thanks for ESS,

Am 13.03.2013 15:46, schrieb Ponting, Keith (Keith):
> It may not be relevant, but some time ago I customized ess-post-run-hook to remove a command rather like the one you are looking at.
> (My environment is Windows Vista, using Vincent Goulet's excellent bundle.)
> HTH,
> Keith Ponting
> Aurix Ltd, Malvern WR14 3SZ  UK
> Any opinions are those of the author not the company.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: ess-help-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:ess-help-bounces at r-
>> project.org] On Behalf Of Henrik Singmann
>> Sent: 13 March 2013 14:41
>> To: Marc Schwartz
>> Cc: ess-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
>> Subject: Re: [ESS] help("foo") opens web browser but ?foo doesn't
>> Unfortunately my problem is not related to this issue. My .Rprofile
>> works (e.g., I can change stringsAsFactors to FALSE in the .Rprofile and
>> see it in Emacs R).
>> The problem is solely caused by the following command that is always run
>> when ESS starts R and I have no idea how to overcome it or how to run
>> something afterwards (unfortunately .Rprofile seems to be executed
>> before this line):
>> options(chmhelp=FALSE, help_type="text")
>> Any help on how to change this start up command would be extremely
>> awesome.
>> btw, thanks for your help so far Marc, really helped me to dig into the
>> issue (albeit without solution yet).
>> Cheers,
>> Henrik
>> Am 13.03.2013 14:30, schrieb Marc Schwartz:
>>> On Mar 13, 2013, at 7:57 AM, Henrik Singmann
>> <henrik.singmann at psychologie.uni-freiburg.de> wrote:
>>>> Am 13.03.2013 13:13, schrieb Marc Schwartz:
>>>>> Different incantation in .emacs:
>>>>> (setq inferior-ess-r-help-command "help(\"%s\",
>>>>> help_type=\"html\")\n")
>>>>> which works in both cases.
>>>> Thanks, but unfortunately produces the exact same behavior on my
>> machine: opens browser for help("foo") but Emacs buffer for ?foo.
>>>> I realized it has to do with the options. When starting the R
>> terminal from within emacs I get:
>>>>>> options(chmhelp=FALSE, help_type="text")
>>>>> options(STERM='iESS', str.dendrogram.last="'",
>>>>> editor='emacsclient.exe', show.error.locations=TRUE)
>>>> When running
>>>>> options(help_type="html")
>>>> I get the desired behavior afterwards.
>>>> However, I am unable to change my R startup options for the desired
>> behavior. My Rprofile.site does contain the correct options. If adding a
>> .Rprofile to my home directory (where my .emacs is located) with this
>> line it doesn't help either. Googling was also no help.
>>>> So my question is: How do I customize my ESS startup options. Is
>> there a variable for that?
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Henrik
>>> Not being on Windows, there may be some subtleties here, especially
>> with Win7. However, a search of the R e-mail list archives comes up with
>> the following thread:
>>>     http://tolstoy.newcastle.edu.au/R/e17/help/12/05/12352.html
>>> which may be helpful in some fashion. There does appear to be some
>> interaction with the relevant help setting in .Rprofile and the setting
>> in .emacs relative to the behavior you are observing.
>>> Creating a .Rprofile in your local user folder should work, as opposed
>> to creating/editing a .Rprofile.site file, which would be for multiple
>> users, unless that is your situation.
>>> If you use a local user specific .Rprofile, be sure to fully exit from
>> Emacs/ESS/R and then restart, lest the file not be re-loaded upon
>> ESS/R's startup.
>>> Regards,
>>> Marc
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> ESS-help at r-project.org mailing list
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/ess-help
>> --
>> Dipl. Psych. Henrik Singmann
>> PhD Student
>> Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany http://www.psychologie.uni-
>> freiburg.de/Members/singmann
>> ______________________________________________
>> ESS-help at r-project.org mailing list
>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/ess-help

Dipl. Psych. Henrik Singmann
PhD Student
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany

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