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Tasks Integrating Continuously: CI-Agnostic Workflow Definitions

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The goal of tic is to enhance and simplify working with continuous integration (CI) systems.

The following providers are supported:

Provider R package Platforms Info
Circle CI {circle} Linux via Docker images from rocker
Github Actions {ghactions} Linux, macOS, Windows

In addition there is partial support for Drone CI via class DRONE_CI. This means that {tic} recognizes Drone CI as a CI platform and does not exit early or requires setting a fake env var to mimic another CI provider. However, there is neither an R client package for Drone CI currently nor {tic} templates available for bootstrapping CI configuration via tic::use_tic().

To learn more about CI, read our Getting Started vignette.

The most important improvements over existing solutions are:

  1. Deployment to a Git repository is greatly simplified. Update your repository with results from the CI build.

  2. Support for R packages and other kinds of projects (bookdown, blogdown, etc.), with predefined templates. Set up your project to deploy rendered versions of your book or blog with a single push to Git.

  3. Workflow specification in a single .R file, regardless of CI system used. Forget about .yml files or web browser configurations.


{tic} can be installed from GitHub with:



By calling tic::use_tic() a production ready CI setup is initialized, tailored to your specific R project. The created templates will use the providers Circle CI and Github Actions.

If only the CI YAML templates from {tic} are desired, the use_<provider>_yml() functions can be used. Refer to the complete list of options.

For an R package, the following steps will be set up for the CI workflow:

  • Installation of required dependencies for the project (dependencies are scraped from the DESCRIPTION file*)
  • Satisfying build-time dependencies of steps to be run in all CI stages (by scraping pkg::fun calls in tic.R)
  • Checking of package via rcmdcheck::rcmdcheck()
  • Creation of a pkgdown site including Github deployment
  • Running a code coverage and upload to

See the Getting Started vignette for more information and links to minimal example repositories for various R projects (package, blogdown, bookdown and more).


If you are a new user, run


If you already use {tic} and want to configure a new CI provider, do one of the following (depending on your preferred CI provider)

### Circle CI ------------------------------------------------------------------

circle::use_circle_deploy() # (optional for deployment)
tic::use_circle_yml() # optional: Change `type` arg to your liking
tic::use_tic_r("package", deploy_on = "circle")
# (all of the above in one call)
# tic::use_tic(wizard = FALSE, linux = "circle", mac = "none", windows = "none",
#              matrix = "circle", deploy = "circle")

### GitHub Actions -------------------------------------------------------------

tic::use_ghactions_deploy() # (optional for deployment)
tic::use_ghactions_yml() # optional: Change `type` arg to your liking
tic::use_tic_r("package", deploy_on = "ghactions")
# (all of the above in one call)
# tic::use_tic(wizard = FALSE, linux = "ghactions", mac = "ghactions",
#              windows = "ghactions", matrix = "ghactions", deploy = "ghactions")


Good to know

We would like to mention that {tic} is a choice and sits on top of existing community efforts providing R support for various CI providers. While {tic} will prevent you from dealing/learning every CIs YAML syntax, you will have to learn {tic}'s way of specifying your tasks on CI systems.

Also, there is no way around familiarizing yourself with the basics of CI systems in general. Without this knowledge, you will also have a hard way understanding {tic}.

We also recommend to take a look at the projects providing the direct R support for each CI system (which {tic} builds upon) to gain a deeper understanding of the whole concept.

Keeping CI templates up-to-date

{tic} is refreshing its template every few months. There are two ways to stay up-to-date and have a functional CI YAML definition:

  1. Manual updates: You can keep {tic} up-to-date by rerunning the use_*_() function which you have used to init {tic} the first time. If you have forgotten which settings you have chosen back then, you can have a look at the first line of your YAML file.

  2. Automatic updates via GHA: If you're using GitHub actions, you can use tic::use_update_tic(). This will initialize a new workflow which checks daily for new template updates. Important: This workflow requires a personal access token with "workflow" scopes. After creation, you can add it via tic::gha_add_secret() to your repo account. Hint: If you're operating in an organization, you can set this GHA secret organization-wide which saves you adding it to multiple single repos.

See vignette "Updating Templates" for more information.



The setup functions in this package assume Git as version control system, and GitHub as platform. Automated setup works best if the project under test is located in the root of the Git repository. Multi-project repositories are not supported, see the comment by @jwijffels for guidance to work around this limitation.

The DESCRIPTION files needs to live in the project root. To simplify its creation have a look at usethis::use_package() or usethis::use_description().