[R] .First and loading a package in a workspace

Seth Schommer scschommer at gmail.com
Thu May 7 19:15:20 CEST 2009

I'm writing a package called rNMR and I'd like to be able to save a
workspace with rNMR loaded, exit R, and then load the workspace, loading
rNMR at the same time. This is no problem on Windows but on Linux and Macs I
can't get it to work.  Here's the deal.  rNMR has includes a .onLoad

.onLoad = function(lib,pkg){
       print("rNMR version 1.0")

and also calls a different function which writes a .First to the global

.First <- function(){

Actually these have been simplified from there original versions in order to
easier diagnose the problem.  I've tested both versions and neither work.  I
open R and load rNMR.  I know .onLoad runs because I see

[1] "rNMR version 1.0"

in R.  Then I create the .First function as above (normally this is done
internally by rNMR, but I'm doing this manually here to ensure it gets done
correctly).  Just to make sure I check that .First is in the right place:

> getAnywhere(.First)
2 differing objects matching ‘.First’ were found
in the following places
Use [] to view one of them

> .First

Both versions of .First are identical.  So, you'd expect that if I saved
this workspace and exited, when I reopen R and load the workspace, .First
should run, loading the rNMR package, and calling .onLoad.  Here's what I
get when I load the workspace:

> load("/home/undergrad/Desktop/test.RData")
[1] "rNMR version 1.0"

but if I check for rNMR:

> search()
[1] ".GlobalEnv"        "package:stats"     "package:graphics"
[4] "package:grDevices" "package:utils"     "package:datasets"
[7] "package:methods"   "Autoloads"         "package:base"

it's clearly not attached.  I can't access any rNMR functions without
loading rNMR again.  .First still exists in the workspace, but somehow rNMR
hasn't loaded.  If this is the case, why is .onLoad running (indicated by
the printed rNMR version info)?  Odder still, the original version of .First
was designed to open a tk toplevel containing rNMR menus, which it does. 
Commands from these menus work but commands typed in the console don't and
everything else seems to indicate that rNMR is not attached.  Any thoughts?  
Thanks in advance,

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