Devtools dependencies

Jim Hester, Hadley Wickham


Package remotes

Devtools version 1.9 supports package dependency installation for packages not yet in a standard package repository such as CRAN or Bioconductor.

You can mark any regular dependency defined in the Depends, Imports, Suggests or Enhances fields as being installed from a remote location by adding the remote location to Remotes in your DESCRIPTION file. This will cause devtools to download and install them prior to installing your package (so they won’t be installed from CRAN).

The remote dependencies specified in Remotes should be described in the following form.

Remotes: [type::]<Repository>, [type2::]<Repository2>

The type is an optional parameter. If the type is missing the default is to install from GitHub. Additional remote dependencies should be separated by commas, just like normal dependencies elsewhere in the DESCRIPTION file.

It is important to remember that you must always declare the dependency in the usual way, i.e. include it in Depends, Imports, Suggests or Enhances. The Remotes field only provides instructions on where to install the dependency from. In this example DESCRIPTION file, note how rlang appears in Imports and in Remotes:

Package: xyz
Title: What the Package Does (One Line, Title Case)
    person(given = "First",
           family = "Last",
           role = c("aut", "cre"),
           email = "")
Description: What the package does (one paragraph).
License: MIT + file LICENSE


Because GitHub is the most commonly used unofficial package distribution in R, it’s the default:

Remotes: hadley/testthat

You can also specify a specific hash, tag, or pull request (using the same syntax as install_github() if you want a particular commit. Otherwise the latest commit on the HEAD of the branch is used.

Remotes: hadley/httr@v0.4,

A type of github can be specified, but is not required

Remotes: github::hadley/ggplot2

Other sources

All of the currently supported install sources are available, see the ‘See Also’ section in ?install for a complete list.

# GitLab
Remotes: gitlab::jimhester/covr

# Git

# Bitbucket
Remotes: bitbucket::sulab/mygene.r@default, djnavarro/lsr

# Bioconductor
Remotes: bioc::3.3/SummarizedExperiment#117513, bioc::release/Biobase

Remotes: svn::

Remotes: url::

# Local
Remotes: local::/pkgs/testthat

# Gitorious
Remotes: gitorious::r-mpc-package/r-mpc-package

CRAN submission

When you submit your package to CRAN, all of its dependencies must also be available on CRAN. For this reason, release() will warn you if you try to release a package with a Remotes field.