Simple R version management, based on rbenv
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README.md

Simple R Version Management: Renv

Renv lets you easily switch between multiple versions of R. It's simple, unobtrusive, and follows the UNIX tradition of single-purpose tools that do one thing well.

Renv does…

  • Let you change the global R version on a per-user basis.
  • Provide support for per-project R versions.
  • Allow you to override the R version with an environment variable.

Table of Contents

1 How It Works

Renv operates on the per-user directory ~/.Renv. Version names in Renv correspond to subdirectories of ~/.Renv/versions. For example, you might have ~/.Renv/versions/2.13.2 and ~/.Renv/versions/2.14.0.

Each version is a working tree with its own binaries, like ~/.Renv/versions/2.13.2/bin/R and ~/.Renv/versions/2.14.0/bin/R. Renv makes shim binaries for every such binary across all installed versions of R.

These shims are simple wrapper scripts that live in ~/.Renv/shims and detect which R version you want to use. They insert the directory for the selected version at the beginning of your $PATH and then execute the corresponding binary.

Because of the simplicity of the shim approach, all you need to use Renv is ~/.Renv/shims in your $PATH.

2 Installation

2.1 Basic GitHub Checkout

This will get you going with the latest version of Renv and make it easy to fork and contribute any changes back upstream.

  1. Check out Renv into ~/.Renv.

    $ cd
    $ git clone git://github.com/viking/Renv.git .Renv
    
  2. Add ~/.Renv/bin to your $PATH for access to the Renv command-line utility.

    $ echo 'export PATH="$HOME/.Renv/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile
    

    Zsh note: Modify your ~/.zshenv file instead of ~/.bash_profile.

  3. Add Renv init to your shell to enable shims and autocompletion.

    $ echo 'eval "$(Renv init -)"' >> ~/.bash_profile
    

    Zsh note: Modify your ~/.zshenv file instead of ~/.bash_profile.

  4. Restart your shell so the path changes take effect. You can now begin using Renv.

    $ exec $SHELL
    
  5. Install R versions into ~/.Renv/versions. For example, to install R 2.14.0, download and unpack the source, then run:

    $ ./configure --prefix=$HOME/.Renv/versions/2.14.0
    $ make
    $ make install
    

    You can also use R-build to build and install R versions.

  6. Rebuild the shim binaries. You should do this any time you install a new R binary (for example, when installing a new R version).

    $ Renv rehash
    

2.1.1 Upgrading

If you've installed Renv using the instructions above, you can upgrade your installation at any time using git.

To upgrade to the latest development version of Renv, use git pull:

$ cd ~/.Renv
$ git pull

To upgrade to a specific release of Renv, check out the corresponding tag:

$ cd ~/.Renv
$ git fetch
$ git tag
v0.1.0
v0.1.1
v0.1.2
v0.2.0
$ git checkout v0.2.0

2.2 Neckbeard Configuration

Skip this section unless you must know what every line in your shell profile is doing.

Renv init is the only command that crosses the line of loading extra commands into your shell. Coming from rvm, some of you might be opposed to this idea. Here's what Renv init actually does:

  1. Sets up your shims path. This is the only requirement for Renv to function properly. You can do this by hand by prepending ~/.Renv/shims to your $PATH.

  2. Installs autocompletion. This is entirely optional but pretty useful. Sourcing ~/.Renv/completions/Renv.bash will set that up. There is also a ~/.Renv/completions/Renv.zsh for Zsh users.

  3. Rehashes shims. From time to time you'll need to rebuild your shim files. Doing this on init makes sure everything is up to date. You can always run Renv rehash manually.

  4. Installs the sh dispatcher. This bit is also optional, but allows Renv and plugins to change variables in your current shell, making commands like Renv shell possible. The sh dispatcher doesn't do anything crazy like override cd or hack your shell prompt, but if for some reason you need Renv to be a real script rather than a shell function, you can safely skip it.

Run Renv init - for yourself to see exactly what happens under the hood.

3 Usage

Like git, the Renv command delegates to subcommands based on its first argument. The most common subcommands are:

3.1 Renv global

Sets the global version of R to be used in all shells by writing the version name to the ~/.Renv/version file. This version can be overridden by a per-project .Renv-version file, or by setting the RENV_VERSION environment variable.

$ Renv global 2.14.0

The special version name system tells Renv to use the system R (detected by searching your $PATH).

When run without a version number, Renv global reports the currently configured global version.

3.2 Renv local

Sets a local per-project R version by writing the version name to an .Renv-version file in the current directory. This version overrides the global, and can be overridden itself by setting the RENV_VERSION environment variable or with the Renv shell command.

$ Renv local 2.11.1

When run without a version number, Renv local reports the currently configured local version. You can also unset the local version:

$ Renv local --unset

3.3 Renv shell

Sets a shell-specific R version by setting the RENV_VERSION environment variable in your shell. This version overrides both project-specific versions and the global version.

$ Renv shell 2.13.2

When run without a version number, Renv shell reports the current value of RENV_VERSION. You can also unset the shell version:

$ Renv shell --unset

Note that you'll need Renv's shell integration enabled (step 3 of the installation instructions) in order to use this command. If you prefer not to use shell integration, you may simply set the RENV_VERSION variable yourself:

$ export RENV_VERSION=2.13.2

3.4 Renv versions

Lists all R versions known to Renv, and shows an asterisk next to the currently active version.

$ Renv versions
  2.10.1
  2.11.1
* 2.14.0 (set by /Users/sam/.Renv/global)

3.5 Renv version

Displays the currently active R version, along with information on how it was set.

$ Renv version
2.14.0 (set by /home/viking/Projects/yaml/.Renv-version)

3.6 Renv rehash

Installs shims for all R binaries known to Renv (i.e., ~/.Renv/versions/*/bin/*). Run this command after you install a new version of R.

$ Renv rehash

3.7 Renv which

Displays the full path to the binary that Renv will execute when you run the given command.

$ Renv which irb
/home/viking/.Renv/versions/2.14.0/bin/R

3.8 Renv whence

Lists all R versions with the given command installed.

$ Renv whence R
2.13.2
2.14.0

4 Development

The Renv source code is hosted on GitHub. It's clean, modular, and easy to understand, even if you're not a shell hacker.

Please feel free to submit pull requests and file bugs on the issue tracker.

4.1 Version History

Renv is a forked version of rbenv.

4.2 License

(The MIT license)

Copyright (c) 2011 Sam Stephenson, Vanderbilt University

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.