rev_check: Run 'R CMD check' on the reverse dependencies of a package

View source: R/revcheck.R

rev_checkR Documentation

Run R CMD check on the reverse dependencies of a package


Install the source package, figure out the reverse dependencies on CRAN, download all of their source packages, and run R CMD check on them in parallel.


  which = "all",
  recheck = NULL,
  ignore = NULL,
  update = TRUE,
  timeout = getOption("xfun.rev_check.timeout", 15 * 60),
  src = file.path(src_dir, pkg),
  src_dir = getOption("xfun.rev_check.src_dir")

compare_Rcheck(status_only = TRUE, output = "")



The package name.


Which types of reverse dependencies to check. See tools::package_dependencies() for possible values. The special value 'hard' means the hard dependencies, i.e., c('Depends', 'Imports', 'LinkingTo').


A vector of package names to be (re)checked. If not provided and there are any ‘*.Rcheck’ directories left by certain packages (this often means these packages failed the last time), recheck will be these packages; if there are no ‘*.Rcheck’ directories but a text file ‘recheck’ exists, recheck will be the character vector read from this file. This provides a way for you to manually specify the packages to be checked. If there are no packages to be rechecked, all reverse dependencies will be checked.


A vector of package names to be ignored in R CMD check. If this argument is missing and a file ‘00ignore’ exists, the file will be read as a character vector and passed to this argument.


Whether to update all packages before the check.


Timeout in seconds for R CMD check to check each package. The (approximate) total time can be limited by the global option xfun.rev_check.timeout_total.


The path of the source package directory.


The parent directory of the source package directory. This can be set in a global option if all your source packages are under a common parent directory.


If TRUE, only compare the final statuses of the checks (the last line of ‘00check.log’), and delete ‘*.Rcheck’ and ‘*.Rcheck2’ if the statuses are identical, otherwise write out the full diffs of the logs. If FALSE, compare the full logs under ‘*.Rcheck’ and ‘*.Rcheck2’.


The output Markdown file to which the diffs in check logs will be written. If the markdown package is available, the Markdown file will be converted to HTML, so you can see the diffs more clearly.


Everything occurs under the current working directory, and you are recommended to call this function under a designated directory, especially when the number of reverse dependencies is large, because all source packages will be downloaded to this directory, and all ‘*.Rcheck’ directories will be generated under this directory, too.

If a source tarball of the expected version has been downloaded before (under the ‘tarball’ directory), it will not be downloaded again (to save time and bandwidth).

After a package has been checked, the associated ‘*.Rcheck’ directory will be deleted if the check was successful (no warnings or errors or notes), which means if you see a ‘*.Rcheck’ directory, it means the check failed, and you need to take a look at the log files under that directory.

The time to finish the check is recorded for each package. As the check goes on, the total remaining time will be roughly estimated via n * mean(times), where n is the number of packages remaining to be checked, and times is a vector of elapsed time of packages that have been checked.

If a check on a reverse dependency failed, its ‘*.Rcheck’ directory will be renamed to ‘*.Rcheck2’, and another check will be run against the CRAN version of the package unless options( = FALSE) is set. If the logs of the two checks are the same, it means no new problems were introduced in the package, and you can probably ignore this particular reverse dependency. The function compare_Rcheck() can be used to create a summary of all the differences in the check logs under ‘*.Rcheck’ and ‘*.Rcheck2’. This will be done automatically if options(xfun.rev_check.summary = TRUE) has been set.

A recommended workflow is to use a special directory to run rev_check(), set the global options xfun.rev_check.src_dir and repos in the R startup (see ?Startup) profile file .Rprofile under this directory, and (optionally) set R_LIBS_USER in ‘.Renviron’ to use a special library path (so that your usual library will not be cluttered). Then run xfun::rev_check(pkg) once, investigate and fix the problems or (if you believe it was not your fault) ignore broken packages in the file ‘00ignore’, and run xfun::rev_check(pkg) again to recheck the failed packages. Repeat this process until all ‘*.Rcheck’ directories are gone.

As an example, I set options(repos = c(CRAN = ''), xfun.rev_check.src_dir = '~/Dropbox/repo') in ‘.Rprofile’, and R_LIBS_USER=~/R-tmp in ‘.Renviron’. Then I can run, for example, xfun::rev_check('knitr') repeatedly under a special directory ‘~/Downloads/revcheck’. Reverse dependencies and their dependencies will be installed to ‘~/R-tmp’, and knitr will be installed from ‘~/Dropbox/repo/kintr’.


A named numeric vector with the names being package names of reverse dependencies; 0 indicates check success, 1 indicates failure, and 2 indicates that a package was not checked due to global timeout.

See Also

devtools::revdep_check() is more sophisticated, but currently has a few major issues that affect me: (1) It always deletes the ‘*.Rcheck’ directories (, which makes it difficult to know more information about the failures; (2) It does not fully install the source package before checking its reverse dependencies (; (3) I feel it is fairly difficult to iterate the check (ignore the successful packages and only check the failed packages); by comparison, xfun::rev_check() only requires you to run a short command repeatedly (failed packages are indicated by the existing ‘*.Rcheck’ directories, and automatically checked again the next time).

xfun::rev_check() borrowed a very nice feature from devtools::revdep_check(): estimating and displaying the remaining time. This is particularly useful for packages with huge numbers of reverse dependencies.

xfun documentation built on Nov. 17, 2022, 1:06 a.m.