Re: [Rd] Package development process?

From: Spencer Graves <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2010 07:41:27 -0700

Hi, Hadley:

       What about the encouragement to add unit tests, if only disguised as examples?

       I've found the unit tests to be a powerful tool to help improve and maintain the quality of packages to which I contribute. To this end, Sundar and I added a column "Autochecks" to the table of "Selected Repositories" in the Wikipedia article on "Software repository" (, and we describe it briefly in the text introducing that table. I may expand that discussion based on the reply from you and others, then try to contact leaders for the different languages / repositories, asking them to improve this discussion -- or send me comments to incorporate.

       Best Wishes,

On 6/16/2010 7:19 AM, Hadley Wickham wrote:
> Hi Spencer,
> I think it is the emphasis on documentation that makes the R
> development process unique. Many other languages have equivalents to
> CRAN and R-forge - few others require the attention to documentation
> that R does.
> Hadley
> On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 8:45 PM, Spencer Graves
> <> wrote:
>> Hello, All:
>> What thoughts might you have on "The R Software Package Development
>> Process"?
>> I'm looking for ideas, materials, references, and / or collaborators
>> for an article on this topic to be submitted to the Communications of the
>> ACM. My limited experience with other languages such as Matlab and Python
>> suggests that R may be fairly unique with CRAN and this accompanying package
>> development process -- and users of other languages might benefit from
>> emulating R in this regard. We have an immediate deadline of Sept. 15, when
>> Sundar and I are scheduled to speak on this topic for the San Francisco Bay
>> Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery.
>> So far my literature search for comparable capabilities for other
>> languages have produced essentially nothing comparable.(a) Sundar and I
>> added a section on "Selected Repositories" to the Wikipedia "Software
>> repository" entry (
>> Thanks,
>> Spencer Graves
>> ##################
>> (a) I have material discussed by Merijn de Jonge, Eindhoven University of
>> Technology on "Package-Based Software Development" at the 29th Euromicro
>> Conference (EUROMICRO'03),
>> Belek-Antalya, Turkey, September 01-September 06
>> (
>> I'm also familiar with material by Friedrich Leisch, Sundar and I on
>> "Creating R Packages" available as contributed documentation from CRAN.

Spencer Graves, PE, PhD
President and Chief Operating Officer
Structure Inspection and Monitoring, Inc.
751 Emerson Ct.
San Josť, CA 95126
ph:  408-655-4567

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