trackdown package offers a simple solution for collaborative
writing and editing of R Markdown (or Sweave) documents. Using
trackdown, the local
.Rnw) file can be uploaded
as a plain-text file to Google Drive. By taking advantage of the easily
readable Markdown (or LaTeX) syntax and the well-known online interface
offered by Google Docs, collaborators can easily contribute to the writing
and editing process. After integrating all authors’ contributions, the final
document can be downloaded and rendered locally.
During the collaborative writing/editing of an
document, it is important to employ different workflows for computer code
and narrative text:
Code - Collaborative code writing is done most efficiently by following a traditional Git-based workflow using an online repository (e.g., GitHub or GitLab).
Narrative Text - Collaborative writing of narrative text is done most efficiently using Google Docs which provides a familiar and simple online interface that allows multiple users to simultaneously write/edit the same document.
Thus, the workflow’s main idea is simple: Upload the
document to Google Drive to collaboratively write/edit the narrative text in
Google Docs; download the document locally to continue working on the code
while harnessing the power of Git for version control and collaboration.
This iterative process of uploading to and downloading from Google Drive
continues until the desired results are obtained. The workflow can be
Collaborative code writing using Git & collaborative writing of narrative text using Google Docs
trackdown offers different functions to manage the workflow:
upload_file uploads a file for the first time to Google
update_file updates the content of an existing file in
Google Drive with the contents of a local file.
download_file downloads the edited version of a file
from Google Drive and updates the local version.
render_file downloads a file from Google Drive and
renders it locally.
trackdown offers additional features to facilitate the collaborative
writing and editing of documents in Google Docs. In particular, it is
Hide Code: Code in the header of the document (YAML header or LaTeX preamble) and code chunks are removed from the document when uploading to Google Drive and are automatically restored during download. This prevents collaborators from inadvertently making changes to the code which might corrupt the file and allows them to focus on the narrative text.
Upload Output: The actual output document (i.e., the
rendered file) can be uploaded to Google Drive in conjunction with the
.Rnw) document. This helps collaborators to evaluate
the overall layout including figures and tables and allows them to add
comments to suggest and discuss changes.
Use Google Drive shared drives: The documents can be uploaded on your personal Google Drive or on a shared drive to facilitate collaboration.
Google Docs offers users a familiar, intuitive, and free web-based interface that allows multiple users to simultaneously write/edit the same document. In Google Docs it is possible to:
track changes (incl. accepting/rejecting suggestions)
add comments to suggest and discuss changes
check spelling and grammar errors (potentially integrating third-party services like Grammarly)
Moreover, Google Docs allows anyone to contribute to the writing/editing of the document. No programming experience is required, users can just focus on writing/editing the narrative text.
Note that not all collaborators have to have a Google account (although this
is recommended to utilize all Google Docs features). Only the person who
trackdown workflow needs to have a Google account to
upload files to Google Drive. Other collaborators can be invited to
contribute to the document using a shared link.
All the documentation is available at https://claudiozandonella.github.io/trackdown/.
To know more about the
trackdown, please reference:
vignette("trackdown-features") for a detailed description of
the function arguments and features.
vignette("trackdown-workflow") for a workflow example and
discussion of how to collaborate on narrative text and code.
vignette("trackdown-tech-notes") for details regarding
technical details like authentication and file management.
Add the following code to your website.
For more information on customizing the embed code, read Embedding Snippets.