Get notified when R packages update

April 8, 2014
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(This article was first published on DataCamp Blog | Online R tutorials and Data Science Courses » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Today’s highly active R user base is developing, re-developing, and releasing R packages at a never-before-seen rate. While this is fantastic news for the R community as such, it inevitably also causes growing pains as mentioned before.

One of the often cited problems is the painful and time-consuming task to keep track of changes and version updates of packages and functions (see for example the paper of Jeroen Ooms in The R Journal). After all, nothing beats the fun of putting a lot of effort in a project or task, just to realize minutes after finishing the job that package xyz released its latest version. (To say nothing of the frightening but inevitable moment when loading in the new version, praying to God the fragile life of your precious code will be spared.)

A better way to deal with these package updates, is to be informed automatically when changes are made to the packages you depend on. This is exactly what the brand new notification feature of Rdocumentation does. It gives you the option to subscribe to the R-packages of your choice, and then when one of these packages gets updated on CRAN, Rdocumentation automatically sends an email to inform you.

Getting updates on future package versions via Rdocumentation is simple. Navigate to the package of your choice (let’s say ggplot2 on Rdocumentation), provide your email address, and hit the green subscribe button. A message will pop-up to confirm your subscription, and that’s it. This is also shown in the following screenshot:

ggplot2 rdocumentation

Rdocumentation is a tool that enables you to easily find and browse the documentation of all current packages and functions on CRAN. If offers features such as advanced search, package popularity rankings, community forums, and package download statistics. Rdocumentation is supported by DataCamp, provider of free R tutorials. 

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