[R-pkg-devel] "no prebuilt vignette index" error

Berry Boessenkool berryboessenkool at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 26 14:11:35 CEST 2017

On my windows machine, I once installed qpdf to get things done, but I'm not sure if that applies here.


Linking to source code is also possible online, by the way:


I use a little package to find such URLs from within R:


Kind regards,

From: R-package-devel <r-package-devel-bounces at r-project.org> on behalf of Daniel Kelley <Dan.Kelley at Dal.Ca>
Sent: Friday, August 25, 2017 23:39
To: R-package-devel at r-project.org
Cc: Daniel Kelley
Subject: [R-pkg-devel] "no prebuilt vignette index" error


I wonder how to address the error that I’ve quoted in the subject line?


I am using R 3.4.1 to build the “oce” package, which helps with the analysis of oceanographic data.  It’s several years old.

Lately, when I submit the “oce” package to winbuilder using


the message

        Package has a VignetteBuilder field but no prebuilt vignette index.

is issued. I do not get this message with




I find that message for some machines, but not all of them.

My DESCRIPTION (https://github.com/dankelley/oce/blob/develop/DESCRIPTION) has

        VignetteBuilder: knitr

and also

        Suggests: knitr, rmarkdown

(amongst other suggestions).  The file (https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dankelley/oce/develop/vignettes/oce.Rmd)


has YAML

        title: "Oce"
        author: "Dan Kelley and Clark Richards"
        date: "`r Sys.Date()`"
            fig_caption: yes
        vignette: >

and in this YAML sequence, I’ve also tried replacing the second-last line with


I downloaded R 3.4.1 and see at lie 6703 of


that R wants to find a file named


and (sure enough) that file is not in the tarball that is created with

        R CMD BUILD oce

at the commandline, or with


from within Rstudio.  As an aside, the latter issues a warning

        Warning in tools:::.build_packages() :
          invalid value for '--compact-vignettes', assuming “qpdf"

I’m not sure how to proceed to solve the problem I state in the second sentence of this email. And I’m not even positive that it *is* a problem, since it does not occur on all test systems.

Does anyone have any advice for further tests?

I’m sorry this email is very long — I tried to be quite clear.


Dan E. Kelley, Professor
Oceanography Department, Dalhousie University
PO BOX 15000
Halifax, NS, Canada
B3H 4R2
Dan.Kelley at Dal.CA

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