The renv package is a CLI tool for creating environments for the R statistical programming language. It takes advantage of the python venv module and its modular EnvBuilder class.
Creating virtual environments for R. (currently a Linux-only implementation)
One of the problems with using R for data analysis can be dependency issues especially for
scientists who use multiple versions of R or R packages and have a large number of
projects that they are developing with R. Dependency issues are especially prevalent among those individuals or groups
that are developing R packages.
renv is a Python style
virtual environment manager for creating virtual environments for R.
This package is being managed with
poetry and is also available on PyPi.
pip install renv
Renv is currently in beta and is only supported in Linux so there may be some issues if your R has been installed in a way other than the default. There are probably plenty of unforeseen bugs, misspellings, and general use cases where the code could be more efficient. Please submit an issue or PR. We'd love to get community feedback.
The default .Rprofile also prompts you to install some commonly used packages. The functionality of this is useful, but will change for the actual release of this package.
Once you have renv installed, you need to initialize renv to set up the
.beRi/.renv folder in your
Now, you can easily create an environment:
renv -e myenv -r /path/to/R/folder # Find your current R folder is using `which R` on Linux.
An environment folder named
myenv will be created in
To activate the environment:
cd $HOME/.beRi/.renv/myenv/bin . ./activate
To deactivate the R environment:
--help to see the other command-line options.
user@host:~$ renv --help Usage: renv [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]... Options: -r, --r_home TEXT Provide the root of the directory tree where R is installed ($R_HOME). This would be R's installation directory when using ./configure --prefix=<r_home>. [required] -e, --env_name TEXT Name of the environment. [required] -p, --path TEXT An absolute installation path for renv. [default: ~/.beRi] -n, --name TEXT A directory name for renv. [default: .renv] -b, --bindir TEXT Provide the bin directory if R was installed when using ./configure --bindir=<binpath>. -l, --libdir TEXT Provide the lib directory if R was installed when using ./configure --libdir=<libpath>. -i, --includedir TEXT Provide the include directory if R was installed when using ./configure --includedir=<includepath>. -rp, --recommended_packages BOOLEAN This determines wheather or not the recommended packages are installed in theR environment along with the base packages. In most cases it's best to keep thedefault value. --clear BOOLEAN Deletes the contents of the environment directory if it already exists, before environment creation. -u, --upgrade BOOLEAN Upgrades the environment directory to use this version of R. -p, --prompt TEXT Provide an alternative prompt prefix for this environment. -v, --verbose Show verbose cli output. --help Show this message and exit. Commands: init Initialize renv using the <path>/<name>. Show this message and exit.
Creating an R Environment
user@host:~$ renv -e ~/projects/rna-brain -r /usr/local/apps/R/R-3.4.4/ user@host:~$ source ~/projects/rna-brain/bin/activate (rna-brain) user@host:~$ R R version x.y.z (YYY-MM-DD) -- "Dist" Copyright (C) YYY The R Foundation for Statistical Computing Platform: Renv is working for some linux distrubutions R is free software and comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. You are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions. Type 'license()' or 'licence()' for distribution details. R is a collaborative project with many contributors. Type 'contributors()' for more information and 'citation()' on how to cite R or R packages in publications. Type 'demo()' for some demos, 'help()' for on-line help, or 'help.start()' for an HTML browser interface to help. Type 'q()' to quit R. ..................Attempting to Load Bioconductor................... Warning: Prompting for Bioconductor Installation... Do you want to install Bioconductor??? [Y/N] n ..................Attempting to Load Devtools................... Warning: Prompting for Devtools Installation... Do you want to install Devtools??? [Y/N] n ..................Attempting to Load Tidyverse................... Warning: Prompting for Tidyverse Installation... Do you want to install Tidyverse??? [Y/N] n Warning messages: 1: In library(package, lib.loc = lib.loc, character.only = TRUE, logical.return = TRUE, : there is no package called ‘BiocInstaller’ 2: In library(package, lib.loc = lib.loc, character.only = TRUE, logical.return = TRUE, : there is no package called ‘devtools’ 3: In library(package, lib.loc = lib.loc, character.only = TRUE, logical.return = TRUE, : there is no package called ‘tidyverse’ >
- Creates a default R virtual environment using default config settings or a YAML file in the pre-existing environment directory.
- Manages the user's and the environment's .Rprofile and .Renviron files.
Below is an example of the YAML config file (there may be mistakes or missing keys). Try to use absolute paths.
R_ABS_HOME: "/home/grabear/R-installs/R-3.4.3/lib64/R" R_ENV_HOME: "/home/grabear/rna-brain" R_LIBS_USER: "/home/grabear/rna-brain/lib64/R/library" R_INCLUDE_DIR: "/home/grabear/rna-brain/lib64/R/include" R_VERSION: "3.4.3" # LIST OF DEFAULT variables for .Rprofile CRAN_MIRROR: "https://cran.rstudio.com/" CRANEXTRA_MIRROR: "https://mirrors.nics.utk.edu/cran/" # Determine how to format this for .Rprofile STANDARD_PKG_LIST: BiocInstaller: "Bioconductor" devtools: "Devtools" tidyverse: "Tidyverse" REPRODUCIBLE_WORKFLOW_PKG_LIST: packrat: "Packrat" miniCRAN: "MiniCRAN"
Tools for creating reproducible workflows with R have been needed for a long time. Renv gets its inspiration from packrat, which allows you to create isolated package libraries, and python's venv module, which creates an environment with its own package library AND python binaries. Renv, therefore, helps user better manage a system with multiple installations of R by creating a virtual environments for specific versions of R that have their own R binaries (R and Rscript) as well as their own isolated package libraries.
Why click and poetry?
Click is used over argparse for speed of development. It requires an extra dependency, but it's easy to use and what we know. Poetry is used for similar reasons. It's a developing project, so we may have regrets later down the road, but for now it's proven to be a very useful tool.
Why not develop everything in R?
Again, we are going with what we know. We aren't unfamiliar with programming or making packages with R, but we are way better at developing and maintaining python code. Virtual environments are already widely used for the python language, which means we don't have to recreate the .whl.
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