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remotes, a small step of devtools suite, a big step for my Travis carrer

1 Beginning

Back to my graduate year, I set up Travis to automatically test my R packages.

2 Development

devtools is a good tools, but there are a few issues:

  1. install_bioc() only works well in development version
  2. even that, install_bioc() would promote you to type y to install BiocInstaller. But it’s hard to response to that, since Travis CI is automatic. So I have to manually install BiocInstaller before calling it.
  3. Due to a misunderstanding 1, only in development version can install_github() & install_local() install dependencies on GitHub

3 Climax

The newly release version of remotes works very nice. (devtools is splited, install_*() is moved to remotes and exported back)

It just needs Git on your system (no BiocInstaller at all), and it’s very lightweight, only needs severval seconds to install.

4 Afterword

By the way, the new BiocManager is also very nice. You can install it as a normal CRAN package, no more source("https://bioconductor.org/biocLite.R") 2.


  1. It’s a misconception started before the first I use R on Travis, the exact point should be the first time that I write Remotes in DESCRIPTION. At that time, I think I just need to specify GitHub packages in Remotes. But devtools doesn’t install these packages, I even switch to Github version of devtools.

    Thanks to this SO answer, I know that I have to both specify package location in Imports and add package name in Depends. Acutally, all I need to avoid the caveat is to read the official documentation:

    You can mark any regular dependency defined in the Depends, Imports, Suggests or Enhances fields as being installed from a remote location by adding the remote location to Remotes in your DESCRIPTION file.

    注:原文来自 2018-06-03 的 post:It’s me rather than devtools who is wrong | 错的并不是devtools,而是我↩︎

  2. The damn network speed never troubles me any more, 何以解忧,唯有镜像↩︎