[ESS] Prevent ESS From Writing .Rhistory

Kevin Coombes kev|n@r@coombe@ @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Tue Aug 23 22:38:06 CEST 2016

Almost. (Not sure why I couldn't find that in the documentation, so 
thanks for pointing it out.)

If I use (setq ess-history-file nil) in the .emacs, file, then it does 
indeed prevent the .Rhistory file from being written. But then, of 
course, for the >99% of the time when I'm not updating clinical data 
files, it prevents all other .Rhistoery files from being written.

So, I tried editing the script file so the first line starts with

-*- inferior-R-args: "--no-save" ess-history-file: nil -*-

And I confirmed that the value of the variable in the buffer containing 
the script is indeed 'nil'. (Some of you can already see where this is 
heading....) But, starting the inferior R process with M-x R from that 
buffer, the variable is NOT inherited.  So, the *R* buffer still has 
ess-history-file set to the default value ".Rhistory" and it goes ahead 
and saves it anyway.

Is there anything I can put in the R script that will convince ESS to 
keep the ess-history-file set to 'nil' in the other (*R*) buffer?

Thanks again,

On 8/23/2016 2:45 PM, Enrico Schumann wrote:
> On Tue, 23 Aug 2016, Kevin Coombes <kevin.r.coombes using gmail.com> writes:
>> Hi,
>> My question: Is it possible to prevent ESS from saving a ".Rhistory" file?
>> While I know this question has appeared in ess-help before (in
>> September 2009), I'd like to resurrect it.  Briefly, the previous
>> discussion pointed out that running R from the command line with
>>      R --no-save
>> will prevent R itself from even asking about writing a workspace
>> ".RData" file, and will prevent it from creating a .Rhistory
>> file. However, using
>>      (setq inferior-R-args "--no-save")
>> prevents the RData file but *not* the Rhistory file. The explanation
>> had something to do with the (comint-write-input-ring).
>> I'd like to request that the behavior be changed, by explaining the
>> use-case that got me to this point.
>> The application is that I am the "honest broker" who holds the keys to
>> update a clinical data file. That is, I have a password-protected
>> Excel file that contains the keys mapping between HIPPA-safe
>> identifiers (like Sample013) to the protected health information of
>> either the medical record number or patient name. Then there is a
>> second password-protected Excel file that contains the updated
>> clinical information using unsafe identifiers. I have to open both
>> files, put the HIPAA-safe identifiers on the updated clinical
>> information, remove the protected information, and write the results.
>> For obvious reasons, I don't want to hard-code the password into the
>> R-script running in ESS.  So, I use the following lines to get the
>> password
>> cat("Password? ")
>> pwd <- readLines(file("stdin"), 1)
>> and go merrily on my way, reading the data, deleting traces that might
>> have existed in temporary files, and all should be good.
>> But it isn't.  Because ESS saves the .Rhistory file at the end, AND
>> the .Rhistory file contains the password that I typed. So now there is
>> a record of the password in a file left on my machine, and I have to
>> manually track down that file and delete it.
>> Oh, and I'd like a solution that works by using a local file variable
>> to set inferior-R-args (or something similar) in the script so that it
>> automatically prevents the history file from being written.
>> So, is my use case strong enough to inspire someone to figure out if
>> the current behavior of ESS can be modified? I would be very happy to
>> help test things....
>> Best,
>>    Kevin
> Hi Kevin,
> does setting
>    (setq-default inferior-R-args "--no-restore-history --no-save -q")
>    (setq ess-history-file nil)
> in your .emacs file help?
> See also http://ess.r-project.org/Manual/ess.html#Saving-History .
> Kind regards
>       Enrico

This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.

More information about the ESS-help mailing list