InstallOldPackages: a repmis command for installing old R package versions

February 3, 2013
By

[This article was first published on Christopher Gandrud (간드루드 크리스토파), and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)
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A big problem in reproducible research is that software changes. The code you used to do a piece of research may depend on a specific version of software that has since been changed. This is an annoying problem in R because install.packages only installs the most recent version of a package. It can be tedious to collect the old versions.

On Toby Dylan Hocking‘s suggestion, I added tools to the repmis package so that you can install, load, and cite specific R package versions. It should work for any package version that is stored on the CRAN archive (http://cran.r-project.org).

To only install old package versions use the new repmis command InstallOldPackages. For example:

# Install old versions of the e1071 and gtools packages.

# Create vectors of the package names and versions to install
# Note the names and version numbers must be in the same order
Names <- c("e1071", "gtools")
Vers <- c("1.6", "2.6.1")

# Install old package versions into the default library
InstallOldPackages(pkgs = Names, versions = Vers)

You can also now have LoadandCite install specific package versions:

# Install, load, and cite specific package versions

# Create vectors of the package names and versions to install
# Note the names and version numbers must be in the same order
Names <- c("e1071", "gtools")
Vers <- c("1.6", "2.6.1")

# Run LoadandCite
LoadandCite(pkgs = Names, versions = Vers, install = TRUE, file = "PackageCites.bib")

See this post for more details on LoadandCite.

Future

I intend to continue improving these capabilities. So please post any suggestions for improvement (or report any bugs) at on the GitHub issues page.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Christopher Gandrud (간드루드 크리스토파).

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