Re: [Rd] Please explain your workflow from R code -> package -> R code -> package

From: Timothée Carayol <>
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 19:16:59 +0100


I guess I'm a bit late to the party. I enjoyed this thread immensely, and it helped me discover roxygen2, in what I predict to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I wrote a couple of wrappers over the last few days which are making my workflow easier. I code on a computer but run my computations on several different boxes, meaning that I need a simple way (ideally one-liner) to deploy the code on each box. So I have a couple of wrapper functions, which I am happy to share with you.

  1. RPush: this bash function roxygenizes, commits and pushes a package to a git repo. It assumes that your packages are all in a folder, the path to which is given by the environment variable $RPACK. For example $RPACK/Package1 and $RPACK/Package2.)

function RPush {
cd $RPACK/$1
R --quiet --vanilla --slave <<EOF
git add ./
git commit -am "$2"
git push
cd - > /dev/null

The syntax is
RPush <package name> 'commit message'

2) GitInstall is an R function somewhat inspired by Hadley Wickham's Intall_Github, except that it is not bound to Github and can (I think) be used with any git server.

GitInstall <- function(

                       branch = "HEAD",
                       ) {

  repo <- as.character(substitute(repo))   tartf <- tempfile()
  pkgtd <- tempfile()
  on.exit(unlink(c(tartf, pkgtd)))
               "git archive --format=tar --remote=",
               remote, repo,
               " ", branch, "> ",

  message("Attempting to install ", repo, " from ", remote, ".")   system(paste(
               "tar -xf",

  install.packages(pkgtd, repo=NULL, type="source")

You can then wrap it in a bash function such as

function RInstall {
sudo R --quiet --slave <<EOF

(where it is assumed that you put the GitInstall function in Package1)

So that to update a package and deploy it to a remote machine you just need to type:
- on the local machine: RPush Package1 'commit message' - on the remote machine: RInstall Package1

I don't think it gets much lazier than that!

Hope it helps, though I am sure this code is not super clean and may break for other people..


On Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 1:48 AM, <> wrote:

> I create & maintain all my packages using the 'mvbutils' package. Documentation in plain-text format (not Rd) is stored along with each function definition--- so when you edit your function, its doco is right there too, and it looks like proper documentation, not code-comments or quasi-Latex. The entire package source tree, including the Rd files, is created automatically by the 'preinstall' function, after which you can then R-BUILD the package as usual. However, with 'mvbutils' you only need R-BUILD when you want a distribution version for others. Normal maintenance doesn't require R-BUILD; you can add/remove/edit functions, documentation, and data to the package on-the-fly while it is loaded, with no need to unload/uninstall/rebuild/reload.
> It works with compiled code, too. My own way of working with compiled code is a bit different to most other people's, but colleagues who use more traditional routes have also successfully used 'mvbutils' to build and maintain their packages.
> In the spirit of several other replies-- I spent months developing this stuff and getting it to run smoothly, precisely because I'm lazy and have a limited memory...
> HTH (though whether "yet another approach is..." will actually help you, I'm not sure)
> Mark
> Mark Bravington
> Marine Lab
> Hobart
> Australia
> ________________________________________
> From: [] On Behalf Of Paul Johnson []
> Sent: 10 September 2011 02:38
> To:
> Subject: [Rd] Please explain your workflow from R code -> package -> R code     -> package
> Hi,
> I'm asking another one of those questions that would be obvious if I
> could watch your work while you do it.
> I'm having trouble understanding the workflow of code and package maintenance.
> Stage 1.  Make some R functions in a folder.  This is in a Subversion repo
> R/trunk/myproject
> Stage 2. Make a package:
> After the package.skeleton, and R check, I have a new folder with the
> project in it,
> R/trunk/myproject/mypackage
>  man
>  R
> I to into the man folder and manually edit the Rd files. I don't
> change anything in the R folder because I think it is OK so far.
> And eventually I end up with a tarball mypackage_1.0.tar.gz.
> Stage 3. How to make the round trip? I add more R code, and
> re-generate a package.
> package.skeleton obliterates the help files I've already edited.
> So keeping the R code in sync with the documentation appears to be a hassle.
> In other languages, I've seen to write the documentation inside the
> code files and then post-process to make the documentation.  Is there
> a similar thing for R, to unify the R code development and
> documentation/package-making process?
> pj
> --
> Paul E. Johnson
> Professor, Political Science
> 1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
> University of Kansas
> ______________________________________________
> mailing list
> ______________________________________________
> mailing list

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