devtools 1.6

October 2, 2014

(This article was first published on RStudio Blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Devtools 1.6 is now available on CRAN. Devtools makes it so easy to build a package that it becomes your default way to organise code, data and documentation. Learn more at You can get the latest version with:


We’ve made a lot of improvements to the install and release process:

  • Installation functions now default to build_vignettes = FALSE, and only install required dependencies (not suggested). They also store a lot of useful metadata.
  • install_github() got a lot of love. install_github("user/repo") is now the preferred way to install a package from github (older forms with explicit username parameter are now deprecated). You can supply the host argument to install packages from a local github enterprise installation. You can get the latest release with user/[email protected]*release.
  • session_info() uses package installation metdata to show you exactly how every package was installed (locally, from CRAN, from github, …)
  • release() uses new webform-based submission process for CRAN, as implemented in submit_cran().
  • You can add arbitrary extra questions to release() by defining a function release_questions() in your package. It should return a character vector of questions to ask.

We’ve also added a number of functions to make it easy to get started with various aspects of the package development:

  • use_data() adds data to a package, either in data/ (external data) or in R/sysdata.rda (internal data). use_data_raw() sets up data-raw/ for your reproducible data generation scripts.
  • use_package() sets dependencies and reminds you how to use them.
  • use_rcpp() gets you ready to use Rcpp.
  • use_testthat() sets up testing infrastructure with testthat.
  • use_travis() adds a .travis.yml file and tells you how to get started with travis ci.
  • use_vignette() creates a draft vignette using Rmarkdown.

There were many other minor improvements and bug fixes. See the release notes for complete list of changes.

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