Extension of `synapser`, a Synapse R client developed by Sage Bionetworks
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README.md

synExtra: Extensions for synapser

Sage Bionetworks develops and maintains synapser, an R client for interfacing with Synapse. This package builds on top of synapser to streamline its usage. The package can be installed directly from GitHub by running the following from R:

if( !require(devtools) ) install.packages( "devtools" )
devtools::install_github( "ArtemSokolov/synExtra" )

The two main features of synExtra streamline file downloading and Synapse querying.

Downloading files

File downloading from Synapse is done primarily via synapser::synGet(). Since the follow-up action is often to load the downloaded file, a canonical synGet() call retrieves the local filename of the downloaded file:

fn <- synapser::synGet( "syn15663039", downloadLocation = "/data/myproject" )$path
X <- readr::read_csv( fn )

If multiple files are to be downloaded, the above code would be wrapped inside a for loop or a purrr::map()-family call:

## 1. Downloading multiple files using a for loop
fns <- c()
for( id in c("syn1710445", "syn1695376", "syn1710429") )
    fns[id] <- synapser::synGet( id, downloadLocation = "/data/myproject" )$path

## 2. Downloading multiple files using purrr::map() family of functions
fns <- purrr::map_chr( c("syn1710445", "syn1695376", "syn1710429"),
                       ~synapser::synGet( .x, downloadLocation = "/data/myproject" )$path )

An alternative solution provided by synExtra creates a downloader function that is linked to a specific local path. The downloader returns location of the downloaded file(s), thereby streamlining the process:

syn <- synExtra::synDownloader( "/data/myproject" )

# Pass Synapse IDs directly to the downloader
fns <- syn( "syn1710445", "syn1695376", "syn1710429" )

# Or store them in a vector and pass that vector instead
ids <- c( "syn1710445", "syn1695376", "syn1710429" )
fns <- syn( ids )

# In either case, fns is now a character vector of local paths
# [1] "/data/myproject/PANCAN12.IlluminaGA_miRNASeq.miRNA.tumor_whitelist"    
# [2] "/data/myproject/PANCAN12.IlluminaHiSeq_miRNASeq.miRNA.normal_whitelist"
# [3] "/data/myproject/PANCAN12.MDA_RPPA_Core.RPPA.tumor_whitelist"           

An important feature of the downloader is that it recognizes whether its arguments are valid synapse IDs. Any argument not recognized to be one is assumed to be a local filename already.

syn( "localFile.csv" )      ## returns "localFile.csv"

This allows for development of tools that abstract away the distinction of local files and files residing on Synapse. For example, consider a simple csvpeek.R script which displays the first 10 lines of a .csv file:

synapser::synLogin()
syn <- synExtra::synDownloader( "./.syn" )
fn <- syn( commandArgs( trailingOnly=TRUE )[1] )
readr::read_csv( fn, col_types=readr::cols(), n_max = 10 )

Such a script accepts local filenames as well as synapse IDs; in the latter case, the file is automatically downloaded to the local .syn directory. The distinction is completely transparent to the user who would use csvpeek.R as follows:

Rscript csvpeek.R localFile.csv
Rscript csvpeek.R syn15663039

Querying Synapse

The second main feature of synExtra streamlines Synapse querying. It is essentially a wrapper around synapser::synQuery() that allows users to specify query constraints directly in the function call, preventing the need for string arithmetic beforehand. The function synExtra::synq() accepts an arbitrary number of arguments. Any unnamed argument is treated as a field to "select", while any named argument is treated as a "where" constraint. For example,

synExtra::synq( "id", "name", "projectId", parentId = "syn15673834", type = "dataset" )
## select id,name,projectId from entity where "parentId"=="syn15673834" and "type"=="dataset"

## synq() understands querying by non-character values (e.g., "Field2" == 123)
synExtra::synq( "id", "Field1", projectId="syn12180284", Field2=123 )
## select id,Field1 from entity where "projectId"=="syn12180284" and "Field2"==123

An important feature of synq() is that it will always return a data frame. Non-existent fields will contain NULL.

synExtra::synq( "id", "name", "BadField", parentId = "syn1901044" )
# select id,name,BadField from entity where "parentId"=="syn1901044" 
# # A tibble: 2 x 3
#   name                                  id         BadField
#   <chr>                                 <chr>      <list>  
# 1 ESTIMATE_scores_PANCAN11.tsv          syn1896429 <NULL>  
# 2 ESTIMATE_scores_PANCAN11_RNASeqV2.tsv syn1901530 <NULL>

while queries that return no results will produce data frames with zero rows, where the columns still correspond to the requested fields.

synExtra::synq( "id", "name", parentId = "syn1901044", SomeField="BadQuery" )
# select id,name from entity where "parentId"=="syn1901044" and "SomeField"=="BadQuery" 
# # A tibble: 0 x 2
# # ... with 2 variables: id <chr>, name <chr>