[Rd] Creating package Vignette

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu Jul 14 19:39:56 CEST 2011

On Thu, 14 Jul 2011, Melissa Jane Hubisz wrote:

> Another workaround is to create a "dummy" vignette which does nothing
> but include the pdf file.  Something like this:
> vignette.Rnw:
> % \VignetteIndexEntry{vignette}
> % \VignetteKeywords{keywords here}
> % \VignettePackage{package name}
> \documentclass[a4paper]{article}
> \usepackage{hyperref}
> \usepackage{pdfpages}
> \begin{document}
> \includepdf[fitpaper=true,pages=-]{vignette-source.pdf}
> \end{document}
> Not sure if this is totally kosher, but I did this for my package when
> the vignette was too computationally intensive to be submitted to

That's fine (because a lot of not-very-necessary work has had to have 
been done to accept vignettes with no R code), but we are working on 
ways to avoid such subterfuges.

In particular, CRAN does accept packages with Sweave vignettes that 
take too long to check -- one takes ca 8 hours (or would if it worked, 
which it currently does not).  We just ask that we are told so on 

> -Melissa
> On Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM, Ben Bolker <bbolker at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Prof Brian Ripley <ripley <at> stats.ox.ac.uk> writes:
>>> It depends what you mean by 'vignette': the R docs have been unclear
>>> (but R >= 2.13.0 are more consistent).  In most cases a 'vignette' is
>>> an Sweave document, the vignette source being the .Rnw file, and the
>>> vignette PDF the processed .pdf file.
>>> At present vignette() means Sweave documents, as only they have
>>> metadata like titles.  This is planned to be changed soon.
>>> On Thu, 14 Jul 2011, Nipesh Bajaj wrote:
>>>> Hi all, I was trying to create some vignette files for my newly
>>>> developed package, however wondering whether there could be any
>>>> simpler way to do so. In writing R extension it is advised to go
>>>> through Sweave route, however I have already got a big pdf file and
>>>> want to use this as package vignette.
>>>> So far I have manually created the inst/doc folder in the main package
>>>> skeleton, and put that file into this, which is not working by calling
>>>> "vignette(file_name)" after I build  and load the package. I am
>>> file_name is not an argument to vignette(): it is 'topic'.  And topics
>>> are normally file basenames (without any extension), not file names.
>>>> getting following error without opening that pdf file: "vignette
>>>> 'file_name' *not* found"
>>>> So I like to know, is there any way to use any arbitrary pdf file as
>>>> vignette?
>>> By definition, no.
>>>> Any suggestion is highly appreciated.
>>  One possibility: as a workaround, you could include your
>> own "xvignette" function in your package: see below.
>> It won't show you indices, but it will pick up any appropriately
>> named file that you include in the inst/doc directory of your
>> package ...
>> xvignette <- function(vname,pkg,ext="pdf") {
>>   vname <- paste(vname,ext,sep=".")
>>   fn <- system.file("doc",vname,package=pkg)
>>   if (nchar(fn)==0) stop("file not found")
>>   utils:::print.vignette(list(pdf=fn))
>>   invisible(fn)
>>  }
>>  You'll have to somehow alert your package users to the
>> fact that this alternative documentation exists -- perhaps in the help
>> package for the package itself.
>>  You might fill in the default value of "pkg" above with your
>> package name to make it easier on the user: I thought about
>> using some version of getPackageName(environment(xvignette))
>> to do it automatically, but that seems too complicated ...
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Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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