Adding progress bar to '*apply' functions in R
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NAMESPACE update docs and namespace for pbmapply Sep 7, 2018

pbapply: adding progress bar to '*apply' functions in R

CRAN version CRAN RStudio mirror downloads Linux build status Windows build status Code coverage status License: GPL v2 Research software impact Github Stars

A lightweight package that adds progress bar to vectorized R functions (*apply). The implementation can easily be added to functions where showing the progress is useful (e.g. bootstrap). The type and style of the progress bar (with percentages or remaining time) can be set through options. The package supports snow-type clusters and multicore-type forking (see overview here).


Install CRAN release version (recommended):


Development version:

if (!requireNamespace("devtools")) install.packages("devtools")

See user-visible changes in the NEWS file.

Use the issue tracker to report a problem, or to suggest a new feature.

How to add pbapply to a package

There are two ways of adding the pbapply package to another package.

1. Suggests: pbapply

Add pbapply to the Suggests field in the DESCRIPTION.

Use a conditional statement in your code to fall back on a base function in case of pbapply not installed:

out <- if (requireNamespace("pbapply", quietly = TRUE)) {
   pbapply::pblapply(X, FUN, ...)
} else {
   lapply(X, FUN, ...)

See a small example package here.

2. Depends/Imports: pbapply

Add pbapply to the Depends or Imports field in the DESCRIPTION.

Use the pbapply functions either as pbapply::pblapply() or specify them in the NAMESPACE (importFrom(pbapply, pblapply)) and use it as pblapply() (without the ::).

Customizing the progress bar

Specify the progress bar options in the zzz.R file of the package:

.onAttach <- function(libname, pkgname){
    options("pboptions" = list(
        type = if (interactive()) "timer" else "none",
        char = "-",
        txt.width = 50,
        gui.width = 300,
        style = 3,
        initial = 0,
        title = "R progress bar",
        label = "",
        nout = 100L,
        min_time = 2))

This will set the options and pbapply will not override when loaded.

See a small example package here.

Suppressing the progress bar

Suppressing the progress bar is sometimes handy. By default, progress bar is suppressed when !interactive(). In other instances, put this inside a function:

pbo <- pboptions(type = "none")
on.exit(pboptions(pbo), add = TRUE)


n <- 2000
x <- rnorm(n)
y <- rnorm(n, model.matrix(~x) %*% c(0,1), sd=0.5)
d <- data.frame(y, x)
## model fitting and bootstrap
mod <- lm(y~x, d)
ndat <- model.frame(mod)
B <- 500
bid <- sapply(1:B, function(i) sample(nrow(ndat), nrow(ndat), TRUE))
fun <- function(z) {
    if (missing(z))
        z <- sample(nrow(ndat), nrow(ndat), TRUE)
    coef(lm(mod$call$formula, data=ndat[z,]))

## standard '*apply' functions
# system.time(res1 <- lapply(1:B, function(i) fun(bid[,i])))
#    user  system elapsed
#   1.096   0.023   1.127
system.time(res2 <- sapply(1:B, function(i) fun(bid[,i])))
#    user  system elapsed
#   1.152   0.017   1.182
system.time(res3 <- apply(bid, 2, fun))
#    user  system elapsed
#   1.134   0.010   1.160
system.time(res4 <- replicate(B, fun()))
#    user  system elapsed
#   1.141   0.022   1.171

## 'pb*apply' functions
## try different settings:
## "none", "txt", "tk", "win", "timer"
op <- pboptions(type="timer") # default
system.time(res1pb <- pblapply(1:B, function(i) fun(bid[,i])))
#    |++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++| 100% ~00s
#    user  system elapsed
#   1.539   0.046   1.599

system.time(res2pb <- pbsapply(1:B, function(i) fun(bid[,i])))
#   |++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++| 100%
#    user  system elapsed
#   1.433   0.045   1.518

pboptions(type="txt", style=1, char="=")
system.time(res3pb <- pbapply(bid, 2, fun))
# ==================================================
#    user  system elapsed
#   1.389   0.032   1.464

pboptions(type="txt", char=":")
system.time(res4pb <- pbreplicate(B, fun()))
#   |::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::| 100%
#    user  system elapsed
#   1.427   0.040   1.481