This is the README file for the distribution of ESS version 18.10.3snapshot
ESS is a GNU Emacs package for interactive statistical programming and data analysis. Languages supported: the S family (S, S-PLUS and R), SAS, BUGS/JAGS and Stata. ESS grew out of the desire for bug fixes and extensions to S-mode and SAS-mode as well as a consistent union of their features in one package.
Installation instructions are provided in sections for both Unix and Windows; see below.
The current development team is led by Martin Maechler since August 2004. Former project leader A.J. (Tony) Rossini (firstname.lastname@example.org) did the initial port to XEmacs and has been the primary coder. Martin Maechler (email@example.com) and Kurt Hornik (Kurt.Hornik@R-project.org) have assisted with the S family and XLispStat. Stephen Eglen (firstname.lastname@example.org) has worked mostly on R support. Richard M. Heiberger (email@example.com) has assisted with S/S-PLUS development for Windows. Richard and Rodney A. Sparapani (firstname.lastname@example.org) have done much of the work improving SAS batch and interactive support. Rodney has also extended ESS to support BUGS/JAGS and has an interest in improving Stata support.
We are grateful to the previous developers of S-mode (Doug Bates, Ed Kademan, Frank Ritter, David M. Smith), SAS-mode (Tom Cook) and Stata-mode (Thomas Lumley).
The source and documentation of ESS is free software. You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version.
ESS is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License in the file COPYING in the same directory as this file for more details.
ESS supports GNU Emacs versions 25.1 and newer.
ESS is most likely to work with current/recent versions of the following statistical packages: R/S-PLUS, SAS, Stata, OpenBUGS and JAGS.
To build the PDF documentation, you will need a version of TeX Live or texinfo that includes texi2dvi.
There are two main methods used for installing ESS. You may install from a third-party repository or from source code. Once you install it, you must also activate or load ESS in each Emacs session, though installation from a third-party repository likely takes care of that for you. See Activating and Loading ESS for more details.
Next: Installing from source
ESS is packaged by many third party repositories. Many GNU/Linux distributions package it, usually with the name “emacs-ess” or similar.
ESS is also available through Milkypostman’s Emacs Lisp Package Archive (MELPA), a popular repository for Emacs packages. Instructions on how to do so are found on MELPA’s website. MELPA also hosts MELPA-stable with stable ESS builds. You may choose between MELPA with the latest and greatest features (and bugs) or MELPA-stable, which may lag a bit behind but should be more stable.
After installing, users should make sure ESS is activated or loaded in each Emacs session. See Activating and Loading ESS. Depending on install method, this may be taken care of automatically.
Stable versions of ESS are available at the
ESS web page as a .tgz file or .zip
file. ESS releases are GPG-signed, you should check the signature by
downloading the accompanying
.sig file and doing:
gpg --verify ess-18.10.tgz.sig
Alternatively, you may download the git repository. ESS is currently
hosted on GitHub: https://github.com/emacs-ess/ESS.
clone https://github.com/emacs-ess/ESS.git will download it to a new
ESS in the current working directory.
We will refer to the location of the ESS source files as /path/to/ESS/ hereafter.
After installing, users should make sure they activate or load ESS in each Emacs session, see Activating and Loading ESS
Optionally, compile Elisp files, build the documentation, and the autoloads:
cd /path/to/ESS/ make
Without this step the documentation, reference card, and autoloads will not be available. Uncompiled ESS will also run slower.
Optionally, you may make ESS available to all users of a machine by
installing it site-wide. To do so, run
make install. You might
need administrative privileges:
The files are installed into
/usr/share/emacs directory. For this step to
run correctly on macOS, you will need to adjust the PREFIX
path in Makeconf. The necessary code and instructions are
commented in that file.
After installing ESS, you must activate or load it each Emacs session. ESS can be autoloaded, and if you used a third-party repository (such as your Linux distribution or MELPA) to install, you can likely skip this section and proceed directly to Check Installation
Otherwise, you may need to add the path to ESS to
(add-to-list 'load-path "/path/to/ESS/lisp")
You then need to decide whether to take advantage of deferred loading
(which will result in a faster Emacs startup time) or require ESS when
Emacs is loaded. To autoload ESS when needed (note that if installed
from source, you must have run
To require ESS on startup, you can either put
In your configuration file, depending on whether you want all ESS features or only R related features.
Previous: Activating and Loading ESS
Restart Emacs and check that ESS was loaded from a correct
To start an S session on Unix or on Windows when you use the Cygwin bash shell, simply type M-x S RET.
To start an S session on Windows when you use the MSDOS prompt shell, simply type M-x S+6-msdos RET.
Changes and New Features in 19.04 (unreleased):
ess-commandnow runs R code in a sandboxed environment. Use
.ess.environment()to inspect the current environment.
ess-elisp-trace-modeminor mode. Toggle it to start or stop tracing all
ess-prefixed functions with
trace-function. Tracing is useful for debugging background ESS behaviour.
ess-get-help-aliases-listnow caches the aliases on the R side. This should speed up help lookup when the search path has changed and the aliases are read again.
ess-commandnow uses a default timeout of 30 seconds. It should normally be avoided with long-running tasks because it causes Emacs to block while the command is running. If the timeout is reached, an error is thrown. An interrupt is also sent to the process in case of early exit.
This is a behaviour change: you will now have to explicitly opt in
blocking the whole Emacs UI for more than 30 seconds by supplying a
larger timeout (use
most-positive-fixnum for infinity).
ess-wait-for-processnow returns nil if a timeout is reached.
ess-commandis now more robust and resilient to hangs and custom prompts (#1043). It also strips continuation prompts (
+prompts) automatically and reliably (#1116).
ess-commandnow handles sinked consoles correctly.
ess-commandno longer changes
.Last.value. As a result, background tasks like completions no longer affect the last value binding (#1058).
display-bufferis set to pop up frames.
xreflookup (M-.). Function locations are now always detected for package libraries listed in
examplesfield. Since roxygen is switching to R markdown, it becomes useful to evaluate chunks of R outside examples.
ess-set-working-directoryno longer changes the active directory (as defined by the buffer-local variable
default-directory) of the buffer where the command is called. Instead, the active directory of the inferior buffer is updated to the new working directory.
'nowait. With this change you should no longer experience freezes while evaluating code.
C-c C-e C-r. Reloading now reuses the same process name and start arguments that were used to start the process.
with-current-bufferwith the return value of the inferior.
goto-address-modefor url and email highlighting in inferior buffers.
ess-smart-S-assign-keyhave been removed. Users who liked the previous behavior (i.e. underscore inserting “<-”) should bind
ess-insert-assignto the underscore in their Emacs initialization file. For example,
(define-key ess-r-mode-map "_" #'ess-insert-assign)and
(define-key inferior-ess-r-mode-map "_" #'ess-insert-assign)will activate it in all ESS R buffers.
display-buffer-alist. Users can now use
display-buffer-alistto manage how and where windows appear. For more information and examples, see See (ess)Controlling buffer display.
ess-roxy-modecan now be enabled in non-R buffers. This is primarily intended to support roxygen documentation for cpp buffers. Preview functionality is not supported outside R buffers.
ess-stylenow has effects when set as a file or directory local variable.
ess-default-styleis now obsolete, use
options(help_type = ``html'')but works with the plain-text version as well. This only works with
options(useFancyQuotes = TRUE)(the default).
ess-rdiredbuffers now derive from tabulated-list-mode. They should look better and be a bit faster overall. The size column now displays object sizes in bytes.
ess-rdiredbuffers now auto-update. The frequency is governed by the new option
electric-layout-modeis now supported. This automatically inserts a newline after an opening curly brace in R buffers. To enable it, customize
The following have been made obsolete or removed, see their documentation for more detail:
ess-swv, and related functionality like
Rnw-mode. Users are encouraged to switch to one of several other packages that deal with these modes. For example, polymode https://github.com/polymode/poly-R/, https://polymode.github.io/, or markdown-mode with edit-indirect https://jblevins.org/projects/markdown-mode.
auto-completeis obsolete. The
auto-completepackage is unmaintained and so ESS support is now obsolete. Users are encouraged to switch to
inferior-ess-frame-alist. See above about ESS respecting
ess-tab-complete-in-script. Use the Emacs-wide setting of
inferior-ess-*-start-filevariables. All modes except Stata did not respect customization of this variable. In order to load a file on startup, you should put a function on
Bug Fixes in 18.10.3:
Bug Fixes in 18.10.2:
make installand including full docs in the tarballs.
Bug Fixes in 18.10-1:
ess-eval-line-visibly-and-step(C-c C-n and
ess-eval-region-or-line-visibly-and-step(C-RET) which behave as the old versions of
Changes and New Features in 18.10:
package-installdoes), you should not need to
(require 'ess-site)at all, as autoloads should automatically load ESS when it is needed (e.g. the first time an R buffer is opened). In order to defer loading your ESS config, you may want to do something like
(with-require-after-load "ess" <ess-config-here>)in your Emacs init file. Users of the popular
use-packageEmacs package can now do
(use-package ess :defer t)to take advantage of this behavior. For more information on this feature, see See (ess)Activating and Loading ESS.
C-c [letter]bindings have been removed. This affects
C-c h, which was bound to
C-c f, which was bound to
C-c h, which was bound to
ess-eval-region-or-line-and-stepnow behave consistently with other evaluation function inside a package.
ess-r-package-use-dirnow works with any mode. This sets the working directory to the root of the current package including for example C or C++ files within
inferior-ess-replace-long+. This strips the entire + + sequence.
prog-mode. In the next release, ESS modes will use
define-derived-modeso that each mode will have (for example) its own hooks and keymaps.
lintrpackage to use it. Customizable options include
Makevarsfiles open with
ess-write-to-dribble. This allows users to disable the dribble (
*ESS*) buffer if they wish.
*-program-namevariables have been renamed to
*-program. Users who previously customized e.g.
inferior-ess-R-program-namewill need to update their customization to
inferior-ess-R-program. These variables are treated as risky variables.
ess-smart-S-assignwas renamed to
ess-insert-assign. It provides similar functionality but for any keybinding, not just ‘_‘. For instance if you bind it to ‘;‘, repeated invocations cycle through between assignment and inserting ‘;‘.
C-c C-=is now bound to
ess-cycle-assignby default. See the documentation for details. New user customization option
ess-assign-listcontrols which assignment operators are cycled.
ess-eval-regionfor details. This only works on Emacs 25.1 and newer.
Many improvements to fontification:
ess-R-modifiers. See the documentation for details.
inis now only fontified when inside a
forconstruct. This avoids spurious fontification, especially in the output buffer where ‘in‘ is a common English word.
ess-R-keywordsin your Emacs configuration file after loading ESS (i.e. in the
@paramkeywords now supports comma-separated parameters.
stop()are no longer fontified as keyword if not followed by an opening parenthesis. The same holds for search path modifiers like
%op%operators and backquoted function definitions.
ess-font-lock-toggle-keywordcan be called interactively. This command asks with completion for a font-lock group to toggle. This functionality is equivalent to the font-lock menu.
Notable bug fixes:
prettify-symbols-modeno longer breaks indentation. This is accomplished by having the pretty symbols occupy the same number of characters as their non-pretty cousins. You may customize the new variable
ess-r-prettify-symbolsto control this behavior.
Obsolete libraries, functions, and variables:
ess-r-args.ellibrary has been obsoleted and will be removed in the next release. Use
eldoc-modeinstead, which is on by default.
ess-smart-S-assign-key is now deprecated and will
be removed in the next release. If you would like to continue using
‘_‘ for inserting assign in future releases, please bind
ess-mode-map the normal way.
ess-s-versions-listis obsolete and ignored. Use
ess-s-versionsinstead. You may pass arguments by starting the inferior process with the universal argument.
Changes and New Features in 17.11:
(require 'ess-stata-mode)in your init file. This is for experienced Emacs users as this requires setting up autoloads for
.Rfiles manually. We will keep maintaining
ess-sitefor easy loading of all ESS features.
ess-r-package-use-dir. It sets the working directory of the current process to the current package directory.
ess-r-package-source-rootscontains package sub-directories which are searched recursively during the file lookup point. Directories in
ess-tracebug-search-pathare now also searched recursively.
R/directory. This way ESS will not attempt to update function definitions from a package if you are working from e.g. a test file.
Changes and New Features in 16.10:
%op%operators are recognized as sexp. This is useful for code navigation, e.g. with C-M-f and C-M-b.
ess-roxy-fold-examplesto non-nil to automatically fold the examples field when you open a buffer.
ess-roxy-fontify-examplesto non-nil to try it out.
ess-r-devtools-askbound to C-c C-w C-a. It asks with completion for any devtools command that takes
ess-r-package-modeis now activated in non-file buffers as well.
Bug fixes in 16.10:
Changes and New Features in 16.04:
developerfunctionality has been refactored. The new user interface consists of a single command
ess-r-set-evaluation-envbound by default to C-c C-t C-s. Once an evaluation environment has been set with, all subsequent ESS evaluation will source the code into that environment. By default, for file within R packages the evaluation environment is set to the package environment. Set
nilto disable this.
ess-r-package-modeThis development mode provides features to make package development easier. Currently, most of the commands are based on the
devtoolspackages and are accessible with C-c C-w prefix. See the documentation of
ess-r-package-modefunction for all available commands. With C-u prefix each command asks for extra arguments to the underlying devtools function. This mode is automatically enabled in all files within R packages and is indicated with
[pkg:NAME]in the mode-line.
Bug fixes in 16.04:
The easiest way to do this is within Emacs by typing
This also gives the maintainers valuable information about your installation which may help us to identify or even fix the bug.
If Emacs reports an error, backtraces can help us debug the problem. Type "M-x set-variable RET debug-on-error RET t RET". Then run the command that causes the error and you should see a *Backtrace* buffer containing debug information; send us that buffer.
Note that comments, suggestions, words of praise and large cash donations are also more than welcome.
There is a mailing list for discussions and announcements relating to ESS. Join the list by sending an e-mail with "subscribe ess-help" (or "help") in the body to email@example.com; contributions to the list may be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Rest assured, this is a fairly low-volume mailing list.
The purposes of the mailing list include