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githooks to automatically update internal version numbers of R packages

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R package version bump hooks

This is a very simple implementation to automatically bump R package versions at each commit, via git hooks.

This tool works only when you have a DESCRIPTION file under your git root repository, which should contain a line of version string like:

Version: x.y.z.r

where x.y.z is the standard MAJOR.MINOR.BUILD versioning theme, and .r is the internal version number automatically managed by this tool.

Optionally if you have a Date string in DESCRIPTION:

Date: yyyy-mm-dd

it will also be updated to the current date.


The tool is implemented in bash. It assumes you have the following command tools available:

  • /bin/bash
  • git
  • wc
  • grep
  • sed
  • printf
  • date

They should come with a standard UNIX(-like) system anyways. Just listing them out here in case.


cd .git/hooks
ln -s ../../inst/misc/ pre-commit
ln -s ../../inst/misc/ post-commit

Example usage

Suppose now you have changed something in the repository. You can simply stage & commit your changes (or, commit all your changes via -a option in git commit):

$ git commit -am "Update"
Version string bumped to revision 0012 on 2018-10-06
[master d1ac43d] Update
 Date: Sat Oct 6 05:00:40 2018 -0500
 2 files changed, 12 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)
Amend current commit to incorporate version bump
[master 8b16a98] Update
 1 file changed, 11 insertions(+), 1 deletion(-)

Advanced usage

You can modify the scripts to for example automatically update documentation or run unit-tests for commits to master. See here for an example.

Make public releases

To make a public release (on github or cran) you should manually edit DESCRIPTION, change (bump) the standard versioning string x.y.z and remove the internal version number .r, eg,

Date: 2018-10-06
Version: 0.1.0

Then commit the change:

$ git commit -am "Release version 0.1.0"
[WARNING] Auto-versioning disabled because string 'Version: x.y.z.r' cannot be found in DESCRIPTION file.
[master aab4c47] Release version 0.1.0
 2 files changed, 43 insertions(+), 1 deletion(-)

You will now receive a warning message that complains about failure to make auto version bump because the version string pattern cannot be found. This is intentional because it is meant to be a public release without the .r part.

However from now on you'll be warned like this every time you make a commit, unless you manually change the version string to include internal version numbers so that the hook can take control again. To do this, simply add .0 to the current version string,


The next time you commit you should not see the warning message, and the internal version number should be updated.


githooks to automatically update internal version numbers of R packages






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