promptClass: Generate a Shell for Documentation of a Formal Class

promptClassR Documentation

Generate a Shell for Documentation of a Formal Class


Assembles all relevant slot and method information for a class, with minimal markup for Rd processing; no QC facilities at present.


promptClass(clName, filename = NULL, type = "class",
            keywords = "classes", where = topenv(parent.frame()),
            generatorName = clName)



a character string naming the class to be documented.


usually, a connection or a character string giving the name of the file to which the documentation shell should be written. The default corresponds to a file whose name is the topic name for the class documentation, followed by ".Rd". Can also be NA (see below).


the documentation type to be declared in the output file.


the keywords to include in the shell of the documentation. The keyword "classes" should be one of them.


where to look for the definition of the class and of methods that use it.


the name for a generator function for this class; only required if a generator function was created and saved under a name different from the class name.


The class definition is found on the search list. Using that definition, information about classes extended and slots is determined.

In addition, the currently available generics with methods for this class are found (using getGenerics). Note that these methods need not be in the same environment as the class definition; in particular, this part of the output may depend on which packages are currently in the search list.

As with other prompt-style functions, unless filename is NA, the documentation shell is written to a file, and a message about this is given. The file will need editing to give information about the meaning of the class. The output of promptClass can only contain information from the metadata about the formal definition and how it is used.

If filename is NA, a list-style representation of the documentation shell is created and returned. Writing the shell to a file amounts to cat(unlist(x), file = filename, sep = "\n"), where x is the list-style representation.

If a generator function is found assigned under the class name or the optional generatorName, skeleton documentation for that function is added to the file.


If filename is NA, a list-style representation of the documentation shell. Otherwise, the name of the file written to is returned invisibly.


VJ Carey and John Chambers


Chambers, John M. (2008) Software for Data Analysis: Programming with R Springer. (For the R version.)

Chambers, John M. (1998) Programming with Data Springer (For the original S4 version.)

See Also

prompt for documentation of functions, promptMethods for documentation of method definitions.

For processing of the edited documentation, either use R CMD Rdconv, or include the edited file in the ‘man’ subdirectory of a package.


## Not run: > promptClass("track")
A shell of class documentation has been written to the
file "track-class.Rd".

## End(Not run)