[R] Recommended way of requiring packages of a certain version?

Paul Hiemstra p.hiemstra at geo.uu.nl
Fri Jul 16 10:32:58 CEST 2010

Hi Allan,

When you create an R package you can specify in the DESCRIPTION file 
that your package depends on a certain R version and versions of 
packages. For example:

Package: automap
Version: 1.0-7
Date: 2010/05/04
Title: Automatic interpolation package
Author: Paul Hiemstra <p.hiemstra at geo.uu.nl>
Maintainer: Paul Hiemstra <p.hiemstra at geo.uu.nl>
Description: This package performs an automatic interpolation by 
automatically estimating the variogram and then calling gstat.
Depends: R (>= 2.7.0), methods, sp (>= 0.9-4), gstat (>= 0.9-58)
Imports: lattice
License: GPL

So distributing code to other people is preferably done using R 
packages, which gives you this option.


On 07/16/2010 09:06 AM, Allan Engelhardt wrote:
> What is the recommended way of requiring a certain version when 
> loading a package (or, indeed, from R itself)?
> Perl has the
> require module version
> use module version
> require version
> use version
> constructs which is kind of what I am looking for (especially 'use' 
> which is evaluated at compile time), but R seems to have lost the 
> version= argument to require().
> The best I have been able to come up with are constructs of the form
> if ( utils::compareVersion(utils::packageDescription("data.table", 
> fields="Version"), "1.5") < 0 ) stop("Need data.table version 1.5 or 
> later")
> if ( utils::compareVersion(as.character(getRversion()), "2.11") >= 0 ) 
> stop("Does not work yet with latest R.")
> But this is tedious and error prone.  I have created my own require() 
> function to automate this (it takes a vector of versions and a vector 
> of comparisons and only load the package if they are all met), but it 
> is non-standard and just that much harder for my colleagues to 
> maintain. Somebody must already have done this?
> Allan
> PS: Shouldn't utils::compareVersion("2.11.0", "2.11") return zero 
> instead of one?
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Drs. Paul Hiemstra
Department of Physical Geography
Faculty of Geosciences
University of Utrecht
Heidelberglaan 2
P.O. Box 80.115
3508 TC Utrecht
Phone:  +3130 253 5773

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