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roxyPackage: a workflow utility to maintain R packages

roxyPackage is an R package which helps package authors to build and share their R packages. it uses the fantastic roxygen2 package for the creation of documentation, but tries to keep any further dependencies to a minimum.

as of version 0.03-11, roxyPackage is no longer hosted on CRAN (see below). the most recent release of roxyPackage can be installed from my own package repository https://reaktanz.de/R, e.g. directly from an R session:

install.packages("roxyPackage", repo="https://reaktanz.de/R")


the package provides basically one function, roxy.package(), which can automate the following actions, individually or in combination:

in other words: except for your actual coding of the package, roxy.package() should take over the complete workflow from packaging to updating your personal repository. i've been using earlier versions of this function since about 2009, and have now packed it for this release, in case others find such a thing useful, too.

note that the package doesn't upload anything anywhere (yet?). so if you want your packages to be publicly available, you still have to, e.g., rsync the local repository root directory with a web server or your webspace at a hosting provider.

citation information

in case you need to cite roxyPackage for reference, consider the CITATION file, or one of the following:

Michalke, M. (2015, March). Make packages, not scripts! How roxyPackage makes sharing your code a no-brainer. Paper presented at the Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen (TeaP), Hildesheim.

Michalke, M. (2013, February). roxyPackage -- und R-Pakete bauen sich von selbst. Paper presented at the Köln R User Group (KölnRUG), Köln.

why roxyPackage is no longer on CRAN

one particular feature of this package (the generation of NEWS.Rd files) relies on an unexported function of the tools package, tools:::news2Rd(). calling an internal function is considered unsuitable for packages on CRAN, even though tools:::news2Rd() is the standard method for producing NEWS.Rd files, as recommended to packagers in the very manual page for news(). so there were three ways to deal with the issue:

  1. ignore the recommendation in ?news() and re-implement news2Rd() myself
  2. keep compliance with CRAN standards and remove all features relying on tools:::news2Rd() (including generation of RSS feeds and NEWS.html)
  3. leave all working code untouched and redraw the package from CRAN

i hope you agree with me that i did the right call. even though the package itself is therefore no longer accepted on CRAN, i will always try to see to it it builds CRANable packages from your code.


although roxyPackage does a flawless job for me personally (the package built this very repository it's hosted on itself ;-)), you might of course run into problems if you try to do things i just haven't thought of (hence for the same reason i can't name examples...). please think of backups, and let me know if you discover bugs or miss helpful features. as always, any feedback is most welcome!

a token of gratitude

if you appreciate my work an want to say "thanks", please check my wantlist on discogs (just have records sent to the address you find in the imprint/impressum). you're awesome!

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