[R-pkg-devel] Saving provenance data to the file system

Jenny Bryan jenny at stat.ubc.ca
Fri Aug 25 21:11:31 CEST 2017

I can't comment on the specific intersection of your plans and CRAN's rules, but
note that you might want to check out the rappdirs package (already on CRAN
and imported by some other packages) as a possible helper for whatever you
decide to do.


-- Jenny

> On Aug 25, 2017, at 8:42 AM, Barbara Lerner <blerner at mtholyoke.edu> wrote:
> We are working on a package that collects provenance as an R script 
> executes, saving the provenance to the file system.  In reading the 
> rules for submitting packages to CRAN, there is this rule:
>> Packages should not write in the users’ home filespace, nor anywhere 
>> else on the file system apart from the R session’s temporary directory 
>> (or during installation in the location pointed to by |TMPDIR|: and 
>> such usage should be cleaned up). Installing into the system’s R 
>> installation (e.g., scripts to its bin directory) is not allowed. 
>> Limited exceptions may be allowed in interactive sessions if the 
>> package obtains confirmation from the user. 
> To use our package, the R programmer calls a function that has an 
> optional parameter to specify where the provenance is saved.  I have a 
> few questions about whether this approach will pass CRAN or some other 
> alternatives we have considered.
> 1. Currently, we save to the user's file space and provide an optional 
> parameter to save the provenance somewhere else.  Is this acceptable?
> 2. A second alternative would be to have the default location be the R 
> session's temporary directory.  To save in the user's file space, the 
> user would need to provide a value for the optional parameter mention in 
> #1.
> 3. A third alternative would be to do the same as #2 and also ask the 
> user to confirm that they want to save the provenance before actually 
> writing to the filesystem.
> 4. A fourth alternative would be to save the provenance in a database, 
> which might or might not be on the user's computer.
> I would appreciate advice on which of these options is likely to pass 
> CRAN's rules.  Our package will be of little use if the provenance is 
> not saved somewhere.
> Thanks for any advice.
> Barbara
> -- 
> <http://www.getpostbox.com>Barbara Lerner
> Associate Professor
> Computer Science Department
> Mount Holyoke College
> <http://www.getpostbox.com><http://www.getpostbox.com>
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