Version 1.1.0 of the
rversions package has been released on CRAN!
rversions queries the main R SVN repository to find the versions r-release and r-oldrel refer to, and also all previous R versions and their release dates.
rversions's latest version from
a safe CRAN mirror near
This release, compared to
rversions 1.0.3, brings
✨ caching ✨ of the R versions within each R session (less useless queries!) thanks to a contribution by Rich FitzJohn;
✨ version nicknames ✨ information to the output of
a documentation website built with
and a new home for
rversions’ source from METACRAN to R-hub! 🏠
That’s it, but since it’s the first time we blog about
rversions, we’ll use the release as an opportunity to introduce it with all due respect! How does
rversions work and what is it useful for?
rversions get its information from?
As you might have guessed, R is developed under version control. The R Core team uses SVN, i.e. Apache Subversion. The versions
rversions outputs are derived from SVN tags in the main R SVN repository. In SVN lingo, “tagging refers to labeling the repository at a certain point in time so that it can be easily found in the future." so it might remind you of git tags (or of GitHub releases). In more details,
version date nickname 1 0.60 1997-12-04 08:47:58 <NA> 2 0.61 1997-12-21 13:09:22 <NA> 3 0.61.1 1998-01-10 00:31:55 <NA> 4 0.61.2 1998-03-14 19:25:55 <NA> 5 0.61.3 1998-05-02 07:58:17 <NA> 6 0.62 1998-06-14 12:56:20 <NA>
- r-release is the latest SVN tag
version date nickname 117 4.0.0 2020-04-24 07:05:34 Arbor Day
- r-oldrel is the latest of the previous minor version
version date nickname 116 3.6.3 2020-02-29 08:05:16 Holding the Windsock
- r-release-tarball is the latest SVN tag that has a corresponding tar.gz to download
version date 116 3.6.3 2020-02-29 08:05:16 URL nickname 116 https://cran.r-project.org/src/base/R-3/R-3.6.3.tar.gz Holding the Windsock
- Windows, macOS are the same: latest SVN tag that has a file to download
version date 117 4.0.0 2020-04-24 07:05:34 URL nickname 117 https://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/base/R-4.0.0-win.exe Arbor Day
version date 117 4.0.0 2020-04-24 07:05:34 URL nickname 117 https://cran.r-project.org/bin/macosx/R-4.0.0.pkg Arbor Day
Version nicknames are extracted from specific files from R 2.15.1, e.g. https://svn.r-project.org/R/tags/R-2-15-1/VERSION-NICK. Before that there were only 3 version nicknames, which we got from Lucy D’Agostino McGowan’s excellent blog post about R release names, where you can also read about their meaning.
rversions is used in R packages but also public services for R package developers, including R-hub of course!
In R packages
rversionsis used in
dr_devtools()to compare the installed R version to the current R release version.
rversionsand uses it in
check_r_version(), a function that checks and coerces something into an R version.
In other tools
In the tools mentioned below,
rversions is used via its very own web service.
Can we also play with
At this point, you have no doubt
rversions is useful, but what about we use it to get a glimpse at R’s release schedule over time?
library("ggplot2") versions <- rversions::r_versions() versions <- dplyr::mutate(versions, date = anytime::anytime(date)) versions <- tidyr::separate(versions, version, into = c("major", "minor", "patch"))
Warning: Expected 3 pieces. Missing pieces filled with `NA` in 13 rows [1, 2, 6, 11, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 31, 33].
versions <- dplyr::mutate(versions, patch = ifelse(is.na(patch), 0, patch)) versions <- dplyr::mutate(versions, release = dplyr::case_when( major != dplyr::lag(major) ~ "major", minor != dplyr::lag(minor) ~ "minor", TRUE ~ "patch" )) ggplot(versions) + geom_segment(aes(x = date, xend = date, col = release), y = 0, yend = 1) + viridis::scale_colour_viridis(discrete = TRUE) + theme_minimal() + hrbrthemes::theme_ipsum(base_size = 16, axis_title_size = 16) + xlab("Time") + theme( axis.text.y = element_blank(), axis.ticks.y = element_blank(), axis.title.y = element_blank(), legend.position = "bottom") + ggtitle("R releases over time", subtitle = "Data obtained via the R-hub rversions R package")
With the R version being x.y.z, we define a major release as a change in x, a minor release as a change in y and a patch release as a change in z. The figure above shows that the frequency of minor releases decreased in 2013, from twice to once a year. The frequency of patch releases seems irregular, as is the frequency of major releases: not sure when we should expect R 4.0.0!
The best place to get to know
rversions is its brand-new documentation website built with
pkgdown, and the best place to provide feedback or contribute is its GitHub repo. Thanks to all folks who chimed in in the issue tracker and pull request tab!