a-Help during package development

Sébastien Rochette


Load package {attachment}


Use “dev/dev_history.R”

When building your package, create a file called “dev_history.R” in a “dev/” directory. You will store all “manual” calls to devtools::xxx and usethis::xxx in this script.
Its first line should be :


You can then call {attachment} in this file to help you build your description file.

Fill your DESCRIPTION file

What you really want is to fill and update your description file along with the modifications of your documentation. Indeed, only this function will really be called in your “dev/dev_history.R”.
Run attachment::att_amend_desc() each time before devtools::check(), this will save you some warnings and errors !


Example on a fake package

If you are running this inside a Rmd like here, you may need parameter inside_rmd = TRUE.

# Copy package in a temporary directory
tmpdir <- tempdir()
file.copy(system.file("dummypackage",package = "attachment"), tmpdir, recursive = TRUE)
#> [1] TRUE
dummypackage <- file.path(tmpdir, "dummypackage")
# browseURL(dummypackage)
att_amend_desc(path = dummypackage, inside_rmd = TRUE)
#> Updating dummypackage documentation
#> ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
#> Changes in roxygen2 7.0.0:
#> * `%` is now escaped automatically in Markdown mode.
#> Please carefully check .Rd files for changes
#> ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
#> Setting `RoxygenNote` to "7.2.1"
#> ℹ Loading dummypackage
#> Writing ']8;;file:///tmp/RtmpxWWCEr/dummypackage/NAMESPACENAMESPACE]8;;'
#> Writing ']8;;file:///tmp/RtmpxWWCEr/dummypackage/NAMESPACENAMESPACE]8;;'
#> ℹ Loading dummypackage
#> Package(s) Rcpp is(are) in category 'LinkingTo'. Check your Description file to be sure it is really what you want.
#> [-] 1 package(s) removed: utils.
#> [+] 2 package(s) added: stats, glue.

Propose content for “Remotes” field

set_remotes_to_desc() adds packages that were installed from other source than CRAN to Remotes: field in DESCRIPTION.

For instance:

You may want to run it after att_amend_desc().

att_amend_desc(dummypackage) %>%

If you only want to find if packages were installed from other source than CRAN, without amending DESCRIPTION, you can use find_remotes().

You can use it on a vector of packages names

find_remotes(pkg = c("attachment", "desc", "glue"))
#> $attachment
#> local maybe ? 
#>            NA

You may also want to combine it to att_from_description()

att_from_description() %>%

Create a file for package installation

Once your package is finished. Well, is a package ever finished ? Let’s say, once you want to release a version of your package, you may want to deliver the list of dependencies your users will have to install. A little script like install.packages(c(...all dep...)) would be so nice :


This file will be placed in inst/dependencies.R and contains :

# No Remotes ----
# remotes::install_github("ThinkR-open/fcuk")
# Attachments ----
to_install <- c("covr", "desc", "devtools", "glue", "knitr", "magrittr", "rmarkdown", "stats", "stringr", "testthat", "utils")
for (i in to_install) {
  message(paste("looking for ", i))
  if (!requireNamespace(i)) {
    message(paste("     installing", i))

Other possibilities

Of course, you can also use {attachment} out of a package to list all package dependencies of R scripts using att_from_rscripts() or Rmd files using att_from_rmds().

dummypackage <- system.file("dummypackage", package = "attachment")

att_from_rscripts(path = file.path(dummypackage, "R"))
#> [1] "stats"
att_from_rmds(path = file.path(dummypackage, "vignettes"), inside_rmd = TRUE)
#> [1] "knitr"     "rmarkdown" "glue"