[Rd] What is preferable - a single large package or a few smaller packages?

Hervé Pagès hpages at fhcrc.org
Thu May 30 01:48:09 CEST 2013

Hi Peter,

On 05/29/2013 03:38 PM, Peter Langfelder wrote:
> Hi all,
> I maintain the WGCNA package which at present has nearly 200
> functions. In the future there will be more. Curious whether it would
> be preferable or useful to split the package into a couple different
> ones with different aims. Obviously, when one calls a function in R,
> package name spaces have to be traversed to find the matching name -
> does the speed of this depend on how functions are  partitioned into
> packages? Any other considerations?

Other important considerations are maintainability and
user-friendliness. If you think the package can keep growing and still
remain relatively easy to maintain, then maybe you don't need to split
it. But if the package becomes too hard to maintain and/or can
naturally be divided into more or less independent departments, and
if the end-user generally doesn't need all functionalities from all
departments for a typical work flow, then you might want to split.
That will benefit both: the user and you. That will also make it easier
to have other people collaborate to the whole thing (if one day you
decide you need some help for that).

The impact on the speed of function name lookup would be the last thing
I would worry about.

My 2 cents.


> My knowledge of R internals in
> this regard is pretty non-existent - thanks for any pointers.
> Best,
> Peter
> ______________________________________________
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Hervé Pagès

Program in Computational Biology
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