drat Tutorial: First Steps towards Lightweight R Repositories

February 7, 2015

(This article was first published on Thinking inside the box , and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Now that drat is on CRAN and I got a bit of feedback (or typo corrections) in three issue tickets, I thought I could show how to quickly post such an interim version in a drat repository.

Now, I obviously already have a checkout of drat. If you, dear reader, wanted to play along and create your own drat repository, one rather simple way would be to simply clone my repo as this gets you the desired gh-pages branch with the required src/contrib/ directories. Otherwise just do it by hand.

Back to a new interim version. I just pushed commit fd06293 which bumps the version and date for the new interim release based mostly on the three tickets addresses right after the initial release 0.0.1. So by building it we get a new version

[email protected]:~/git$ R CMD build drat
* checking for file ‘drat/DESCRIPTION’ ... OK
* preparing ‘drat’:
* checking DESCRIPTION meta-information ... OK
* checking for LF line-endings in source and make files
* checking for empty or unneeded directories
* building ‘drat_0.0.1.1.tar.gz’

[email protected]:~/git$ 

Because I want to use the drat repo next, I need to now switch from master to gh-pages; a step I am omitting as we can assume that your drat repo will already be on its gh-pages branch.

Next we simply call the drat function to add the release:

[email protected]:~/git$ r -e 'drat:::insert("drat_0.0.1.1.tar.gz")'
[email protected]:~/git$ 

As expected, now have two updated PACKAGES files (compressed and plain) and a new tarball:

[email protected]:~/git/drat(gh-pages)$ git status
On branch gh-pages
Your branch is up-to-date with 'origin/gh-pages'.
Changes not staged for commit:
  (use "git add ..." to update what will be committed)
  (use "git checkout -- ..." to discard changes in working directory)

        modified:   src/contrib/PACKAGES
        modified:   src/contrib/PACKAGES.gz

Untracked files:
  (use "git add ..." to include in what will be committed)


no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")
[email protected]:~/git/drat(gh-pages)$

All is left to is to add, commit and push—either as I usually via the spectacularly useful editor mode, or on the command-line, or by simply adding commit=TRUE in the call to insert() or insertPackage().

I prefer to use littler’s r for command-line work, so I am setting the desired repos in ~/.littler.r which is read on startup (since the recent littler release 0.2.2) with these two lines:

## add RStudio CRAN mirror
drat:::add("CRAN", "http://cran.rstudio.com")

## add Dirk's drat

After that, repos are set as I like them (at home at least):

[email protected]:~/git$ r -e'print(options("repos"))'
                                 CRAN                          eddelbuettel 
            "http://cran.rstudio.com" "http://eddelbuettel.github.io/drat/" 

[email protected]:~/git$ 

And with that, we can just call update.packages() specifying the package directory to update:

[email protected]:~/git$ r -e 'update.packages(ask=FALSE, lib.loc="/usr/local/lib/R/site-library")'                                                                                                                            
trying URL 'http://eddelbuettel.github.io/drat/src/contrib/drat_0.0.1.1.tar.gz'
Content type 'application/octet-stream' length 5829 bytes
opened URL
downloaded 5829 bytes

* installing *source* package ‘drat’ ...
** R
** inst
** preparing package for lazy loading
** help
*** installing help indices
** building package indices
** testing if installed package can be loaded
* DONE (drat)

The downloaded source packages are in
        ‘/tmp/downloaded_packages[email protected]:~/git$

and presto, a new version of a package we have installed (here the very drat interim release we just pushed above) is updated.

Writing this up made me realize I need to update the handy update.r script (see e.g. the littler examples page for more) and it hard-wires just one repo which needs to be relaxed for drat. Maybe in install2.r which already has docopt support…

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