[R] Genuine relative paths with R

Duncan Murdoch murdoch@dunc@n @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Thu Oct 11 00:07:29 CEST 2018

On 10/10/2018 5:45 PM, Olivier GIVAUDAN wrote:
> I'm not sure I'm "inventing my own way" of distributing R code... And I 
> distribute it to a very limited audience.

Nothing says a package has to go on CRAN.  You can distribute them 
privately to a small audience.

> Anyway, why not "inventing a new way" if it's more efficient than the 
> standard one (I'm talking now in theory)?

If you know as much about R as the people who wrote it, then you can 
almost certainly invent better ways to do many of the things it does.  R 
Core was constrained by trying to maintain back compatibility, and that 
means some of their solutions aren't perfect.

But if you don't know it that well, chances are you'll make mistakes 
when you invent your own way of doing it.  For example, you might think 
that all front ends set the working directory to the directory of the 
program they are running, because the ones you've tried do it that way.
But they don't.

Duncan Murdoch

> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *De :* Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan using gmail.com>
> *Envoyé :* mercredi 10 octobre 2018 21:39
> *À :* Olivier GIVAUDAN; Jeff Newmiller
> *Cc :* r-help using r-project.org
> *Objet :* Re: [R] Genuine relative paths with R
> On 10/10/2018 5:31 PM, Olivier GIVAUDAN wrote:
>> I do not want to use the terminal, just double clicks (i.e. the 
>> simplest, automatic, non-manual way, without having to write a line / 
>> command).
>> Therefore everything should happen outside any terminal. The user won't 
>> use a terminal.
>> I don't have a Mac and I'm not familiar with this OS, sorry.
>> But I'm really surprised the click method gives different results than 
>> on Linux and Windows.
>> I know the click method worked both on Linux (Ubuntu latest version) and 
>> Windows (10).
>> Yes, I executed my file from a terminal and got obviously the same 
>> result as you (that's reassuring).
>> Come on guys, creating a package... It's like using a hammer to kill a 
>> fly...
> It's a simple operation to create a package in RStudio.  Not quite a
> single click, but just a few.
> In plain R, it's just a little more work using package.skeleton().
> Really, if you are distributing R code, you should do it in the standard
> way, not invent your own.
> Duncan Murdoch
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *De :* Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan using gmail.com>
>> *Envoyé :* mercredi 10 octobre 2018 20:54
>> *À :* Olivier GIVAUDAN; Jeff Newmiller
>> *Cc :* r-help using r-project.org
>> *Objet :* Re: [R] Genuine relative paths with R
>> On 10/10/2018 4:42 PM, Olivier GIVAUDAN wrote:
>>> Why are you not simply double-clicking on 'TestPWD' and choosing to 
>>> execute the file (don't add anything)?
>>> Are you executing the file from a terminal?
>> Yes, I was executing the file from my terminal.  Otherwise I really have
>> no idea what the "current directory" is in the Finder.   (I'm on a Mac.
>> I just tried the click method; it printed my home directory, not the
>> directory of the script.)
>> I don't know the name of your visual front end, but you are displaying
>> the working directory that it sets when you click on TestPWD.  That will
>> be different from the working directory that your user sees in the Terminal.
>> You can see what I saw if you run TestPWD from the Terminal.  It will
>> print the current working directory, not the one where TestPWD happens
>> to live.
>> If you want to do the same sort of thing in R, you could set up a script
>> that calls R, and execute that in the way you executed TestPWD.  But in
>> another message you said you aren't allowed to do that, so I think your
>> best solution is the one offered by Bill Dunlap:  organize your files as
>> an R package.  If you name your package "Olivier", then you can find all
>> the files in it under the directory returned by
>>     system.file(".", package = "Olivier")
>> The package system is designed for R code, but you can put arbitrary
>> files into a package:  just store them under the "inst" directory in
>> your source.  When the package is installed, those files will be moved
>> up one level, i.e.
>> Olivier/inst/foo
>> will become
>>     system.file("foo", package = "Olivier")
>> Duncan Murdoch

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