[R] can I call user-created functions without source() ?

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Mon Jun 19 13:24:02 CEST 2006

On 6/19/2006 6:25 AM, (Ted Harding) wrote:
> On 19-Jun-06 Rob Campbell wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I have to R fairly recently from Matlab, where I have been used to
>> organising my own custom functions into directories which are adding to
>> the Matlab search path. This enables me to call them as I would one of
>> Matlab's built-in functions. I have not found a way of doing the same
>> thing in R. I have resorted to using source() on symlinks located in
>> the
>> current directory. Not very satisfactory.
>> I looked at the R homepage and considered making a "package" of my
>> commonly used functions so that I can call them in one go:
>> library(myFuncions, lib.loc="/path/to/library") Perhaps this is the
>> only
>> solution but the docs on the web make the process seem rather
>> complicated--I only have a few script files I want to call! Surely
>> there's a straightforward solution?
>> How have other people solved this problem? Perhaps someone has a simple
>> "package skeleton" into which I can drop my scripts?
>> Thanks,
>> Rob
> There are pros and cons to this, but on the whole I sympathise
> with you (having pre-R been a heavy matlab/octave user myself).
> Unfortunately (from this perspective) R does not seem to have
> an automatic "load-on-demand" facility similar to what happens
> in matlab (i.e. you call a function by name, and R would search
> for it in whatever the current search-path is, and load its
> definition plus what else it depends on).
> I have a few definitions which I want in every R session, so
> I have put these in my ".Rprofile". But this is loaded from
> my home directory, not from the directory where I was when I
> started R, so it is the same every time. 

Which version of R are you using?  This is not the current documented 
behaviour.  It looks in the current directory first, and only in your 
home directory if that fails.

Duncan Murdoch

Again, one of the
> conveniences of the matlab/octave approach is that you can
> have a different sub-directory for each project, so if you
> start work in a particular one then you have access to any
> special definitions for that project, and not to others.
> I'm no expert on this aspect of R, but I suspect that the way
> start-up is organised in R does not fit well with the other
> kind of approach. I stand to be corrected, of course ...
> And others may well have formulated their own neat work-rounds,
> so we wait eagerly to hear about these!
> Best wishes,
> Ted.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
> Date: 19-Jun-06                                       Time: 11:25:15
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