[R] help.start() works with Mozilla, but not with ESS

Jonathan Baron baron at cattell.psych.upenn.edu
Thu Nov 15 01:23:13 CET 2001

In a recent post, I reported that help.start worked with Mozilla,
although it had not worked before.  I now have discovered the
difference.  I'm using RH Linux 7.1 and Mozilla 0.9.5 and R

When I tried it before, I had use ESS to start R.  If I run R
without ESS, help.start() will start the browser (Mozilla), but
help(apply), for example, will produce help in ESS but not in the
browser.  If I say


then I do get help in the browser.  If I say help(x) or ?x
(knowing that x does not exist), I get an error message telling
me that htmlhelp is FALSE.  So ESS is somehow setting htmlhelp to
FALSE, although I cannot figure out where that is happening from
looking at the code for the help function.

I have tried defining a new function
h(x) <- function(x) {help(x,htmlhelp=T)}
but this does not work at all.  It thinks that "x" is what I want
help about.

I haven't looked yet at the code for ESS.  I'm hoping that
someone can suggest a workaround.  The browser is really much
better than ESS's way of displaying help.  (But not enough better
for me to give up ESS.)

Jon Baron
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