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Tools to make an R developer's life easier
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The aim of devtools is to make your life as a package developer easy.

It does this by providing tools to:

  • simulate R CMD install during development (IN PROGRESS)
  • interactively run some parts of R CMD check
  • build documentation, run tests and benchmarking your code
  • help you release your package

These tools are described in more detail below.


While developing a package, you often want to reload all objects in the package without having to quit R, run R CMD install and then reopen. load_all will package dependencies described in DESCRIPTION, R code in R/, compiled shared objects in src/, data files in data/.

It keeps your global workspace clean by loading all objects into an environment called devel:package-name, and works efficiently by only reload files that have changed.

Referring to a package

All devtools functions as either a path or a name. If you specify a name it will load ~/.Rpackages, and try the path given by the default function, if it's not there, it will look up the package name in the list and use that path.

For example, a small section of my ~/.Rpackages looks like this:

    default = function(x) {
      file.path("~/documents/", x, x)

  "describedisplay" = "~/ggobi/describedisplay",
  "tourr" =    "~/documents/tour/tourr", 
  "mutatr" = "~/documents/oo/mutatr"


To make it even easier to use, you might want to add the following lines to your .Rprofile:

if (interactive()) {
  l <- function(pkg, ...) {
    pkg <- tolower(deparse(substitute(pkg)))

    load_all(pkg, ...)

That way you can reload any development package with the minimum of typing.

Make sure that there is a newline at the end of the file - otherwise R will (silently) ignore the if statement.

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