[R] trouble with html help

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu Nov 6 08:07:43 CET 2008

Please note that a more accurate subject line would be

'Problems with links generated by the search page in HTML help in <insert 
your browser here> on obsolete versions of R'

The problem is almost certainly your browser, not R.  Later versions (>= 
2.7.2) of R mention this in the R-admin manual and provide a direct link 
to the search page on the Rgui menu.  The current manual says (Appendix D)

   There is a known issue with Firefox 3 (and 3.0.1). The links in the
   results page may point to the wrong directory level. This is a bug in
   the way Firefox is interpreting relative URLs, and can be circumvented
   by opening the HTML search page (.../doc/html/SearchEngine.html)
   directly rather than from .../doc/html/index.html as shown by

and on Windows the CHANGES file for 2.7.2 says

     o   Rgui has a new menu item 'Html search page' on the Help menu,
         which goes directly to the HTML search form.  This is needed
         by users of Firefox 3, which generates incorrect links in
         search results when the page is accessed via the 'Html help'
         menu item (or via help.start()).

The R posting guide asked you to update *before* posting, and that would 
have solved this for you by providing workarounds.  We cannot workaround 
future bugs in other software, but we have been kind enough to do so in 
subsequent versions of R.  (You would also have found this in the mailing 
list archives.)

This issue is known from Firefox 3 (but not even its betas) and other 
browsers based on the same version of the Gecko engine.

On Thu, 6 Nov 2008, Samu Mäntyniemi wrote:

> I have this problem with R 2.6.1 and 2.7.1 (have not tried others) running on 
> Windows XP:
> Html help has wrong links to help files.

That's not what your evidence shows.  It shows that the HTML help search 
page generates links that your browser interprets incorrectly.

> The index.html is correctly found 
> from
> file:///C:/PROGRA~1/R/R-26~1.1/doc/html/index.html
> as well as the search engine
> file:///C:/PROGRA~1/R/R-26~1.1/doc/html/search/SearchEngine.html
> However, when I search for, say, "paste", I will be pointed to
> file:///C:/PROGRA~1/R/library/base/html/paste.html

Even that is not correct: the search engine generates a relative URL, 
which the browser has incorrectly interpreted relative to its start page 
and not the current page.

> which of course does not exist. Changing this manually to
> file:///C:/PROGRA~1/R/R-2.6.1/library/base/html/paste.html
> leads me to the correct page.
> Any views on how to fix this? I have installed 2.6.1 to another laptop 
> without such problems, therefore I suspect that the problem would be somehow 
> related to the settings of this particular laptop. However, I do not know 
> where to look.
> Cheers,
> Samu
> -- 
> ------------------------------------------
> Samu Mäntyniemi
> University Researcher, PhD
> Fisheries and Environmental Management Group (FEM)
> Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
> Biocenter 3, room 4414
> Viikinkaari 1
> P.O. Box 65
> FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
> Phone: +358 9 191 58710
> Fax: +358 9 191 58257
> email: samu.mantyniemi at helsinki.fi
> personal webpage: http://www.helsinki.fi/people/samu.mantyniemi/
> FEM webpage: http://www.helsinki.fi/science/fem/
> ______________________________________________
> R-help at r-project.org mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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