The aim of devtools is to make package development easier by providing R functions that simplify and expedite common tasks. R Packages is a book based around this workflow.
# Install devtools from CRAN install.packages("devtools") # Or the development version from GitHub: # install.packages("devtools") devtools::install_github("r-lib/devtools")
All devtools functions accept a path as an argument, e.g.
load_all("path/to/mypkg"). If you don't specify a path, devtools will
look in the current working directory - this is recommended practice.
Frequent development tasks:
load_all()simulates installing and reloading your package, loading R code in
R/, compiled shared objects in
src/and data files in
data/. During development you usually want to access all functions (even un-exported internal ones) so
load_all()works as if all functions were exported in the package
document()updates generated documentation in
man/, file collation and
test()reloads your code with
load_all(), then runs all
test_coverage()runs test coverage on your package with covr. This makes it easy to see what parts of your package could use more tests!
Building and installing:
install()reinstalls the package, detaches the currently loaded version then reloads the new version with
library(). Reloading a package is not guaranteed to work: see the documentation for
build()builds a package file from package sources. You can use it to build a binary version of your package.
install_*functions install an R package:
install_url()from an arbitrary url
install_svn()from an arbitrary git or SVN repository
install_local()from a local file on disk
install_version()from a specific version on CRAN
update_packages()updates a package to the latest version. This works both on packages installed from CRAN as well as those installed from any of the
Check and release:
check()updates the documentation, then builds and checks the package locally.
check_win()checks a package using win-builder, and
check_rhub()checks a package using r-hub. This allows you to easily check your package on all systems CRAN uses before submission.
release()makes sure everything is ok with your package (including asking you a number of questions), then builds and uploads to CRAN.
R package development can be intimidating, however there are now a number of valuable resources to help!
R Packages gives a comprehensive treatment of all common parts of package development and uses devtools throughout. The Package structure chapter is a great place to get started understanding the parts of a package and how they work together.
RStudio community - package development is a great place to ask specific questions related to package development.
rOpenSci packages has extensive documentation on best practices for R packages looking to be contributed to rOpenSci, but also very useful general recommendations for package authors.
There are a number of fantastic blog posts on writing your first package, including
Writing R Extensions is the exhaustive, canonical reference for writing R packages, maintained by the R core developers.
devtools started off as a lean-and-mean package to facilitate local package development, but over the years it accumulated more and more functionality. Currently devtools is undergoing a conscious uncoupling to split out functionality into smaller, more tightly focussed packages. This includes:
testthat: Writing and running tests (i.e.
roxygen2: Function and package documentation (i.e.
pkgbuild: Building binary packages (including checking if build tools are available) (i.e.
pkgload: Simulating package loading (i.e.
rcmdcheck: Running R CMD check and reporting the results (i.e.
revdepcheck: Running R CMD check on all reverse dependencies, and figuring out what's changed since the last CRAN release (i.e.
sessioninfo: R session info (i.e.
usethis: Automating package setup (i.e.
Generally, you should not need to worry about these different packages, because devtools installs them all automatically. You will need to care, however, if you're filing a bug because reporting it at the correct place will lead to a speedier resolution.
Code of conduct
Please note that the devtools project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By contributing to this project, you agree to abide by its terms.