[Rd] Automatic Compression by Save Causes Check Warning

Tomas Kalibera tom@@@k@liber@ @ending from gm@il@com
Wed Jun 20 12:54:40 CEST 2018

Dear Dario,

this question may be more suitable for R-pkg-devel or perhaps R-help 
list, if you have subsequent questions, you might get better advice 
there. In short, save() does no automated selection of a compression 
algorithm - it just uses the one specified, by default "gzip". For 
automated selection, please use resaveRdaFiles(). You can also use 
"--resave-data" when building your package (see "Building package 
tarballs" in R-exts) for this to be done automatically for all your data 
files. Finally, "R CMD check --as-cran" will report when it can find a 
significantly better compression (note that CRAN policies ask for 
--as-cran check being run locally before submitting a package, anyway).

The CRAN repository policy mentions that packages should be of minimum 
necessary size and the checks are in line with that (and there are 
already heuristics in place to avoid the warning if possible gains are 
small). I don't think in principle things could be made any simpler than 
they are now: "R CMD check --as-cran" will report a possible improvement 
by resave, "R CMD build --resave-data" will do the resave. Note that the 
detection of the best compression algorithm cannot be done without 
actually compressing the data using different algorithms, which is what 
resaveRdaFiles() does -- doing this in save() by default is not possible 
due to the performance overhead.


On 06/18/2018 10:00 AM, Dario Strbenac wrote:
> Good day,
> Save sometimes chooses a compression method which causes a warning during package checking. An example of this is:
> measurements <- matrix(round(rnorm(2000*190), 2), nrow = 2000, ncol = 190)
> classes <- factor(sample(LETTERS[1:2], 190, replace = TRUE))
> save(measurements, classes, file = "data/experiment.RData")
> then, when the package is checked,
> * checking data for ASCII and uncompressed saves ... WARNING
>    Note: significantly better compression could be obtained
>          by using R CMD build --resave-data
>                     old_size new_size compress
>    experiment.RData    689Kb    447Kb    bzip2
> Could save and R CMD check consistently agree on a suitable compression scheme? Could R CMD check not emit warnings if the data is already small and the alternative compression doesn't reduce the size much, such as for this example? Perhaps it could only emit warnings when the data file is more than 5 MB and the alternative scheme's resulting file is 50% or more than the size of the existing file. There is also no explanation in Section 1.1.6 Data in Packages of Writing R Extensions that compression of data files is implicitly mandatory for R packages to pass the checking process these days.
> --------------------------------------
> Dario Strbenac
> University of Sydney
> Camperdown NSW 2050
> Australia
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