[Rd] [patch] giving library() a 'version' argument

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu Apr 12 14:53:59 CEST 2012

A very important point is that library() *had* a 'version' argument for 
several years, and this is not what it did.  So Mr Williams needs to do 
his homework ....

 From such a version of R:

  version: A character string denoting a version number of the package
           to be loaded, for use with _versioned installs_: see the
           section later in this document.

On 12/04/2012 13:21, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
> On 12-04-11 11:28 AM, Ken Williams wrote:
>> I've made a small enhancement to R that would help developers better
>> control what versions of code we're using where. Basically, to load a
>> package in R, one currently does:
>> library(whateverPackage)
>> and with the enhancement, you can ensure that you're getting at least
>> version X of the package:
>> library(whateverPackage, version=3.14)
>> Reasons one might want this include:
>> * you know that in version X some bug was fixed
>> * you know that in version X some feature was added
>> * that's the first version you've actually tested it with& you don't
>> want to vouch for earlier versions without testing
>> * you develop on one machine& deploy on another machine you don't
>> control, and you want runtime checks that the sysadmin installed what
>> they were supposed to install
> I don't really see the need for this. Packages already have a scheme for
> requiring a particular version of a package, so this would only be
> useful in scripts run outside of packages. But what if your script
> requires a particular (perhaps obsolete) version of a package? This
> change only puts a lower bound on the version number, and version
> requirements can be more elaborate than that.
> I think my advice would be:
> 1. Put your code in a package, and use the version specifications there.
> 2. If you must write it in a script, then put a version test at the top,
> using packageVersion().
> Duncan Murdoch
>> In general, I have an interest in helping R get better at various
>> things that would help it play in a "production environment", for
>> various values of that term. =)
>> The attached patch is made against revision 58980 of
>> https://svn.r-project.org/R/trunk . I think this is the first patch
>> I've submitted to the R core, so please let me know if anything's
>> amiss, or of course if there are reservations about the approach.
>> Thanks.
>> --
>> Ken Williams, Senior Research Scientist
>> WindLogics
>> http://windlogics.com
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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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