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An R package for managing document templates and versions

Custom Builders

Builders are R functions that define how a particular project should be built. The package contains builders for building Sweave files (.rnw), LaTeX files (.tex), cacheSweave (.rnw), and knitr files. However, it is relatively easy to create custom builders. The following example is contained in the stocks demo (see demo('stocks')). A builder function contains two defined parameters, project and theenv. The former is the Project class to be built. The latter is an environment that has had all the appropriate Project and Version properties set. All execution should occur within that environment as to prevent the user’s environment to interfere with the build process. Also, this environment will be saved to the build directory which may be useful for debugging issues in the build process. Additional parameters will passed from the build function to the appropriate builder function using the unnamed paramater feature in R (i.e. ...).

The following function, builder.png, will create a PNG image file from a R script file.

builder.png <- function(project, theenv, ...) {
	sourceFile = ifelse(is.null(project$SourceFile), '.r$', project$SourceFile)
	wd = eval(getwd(), envir=theenv)
	files = list.files(path=wd, pattern=sourceFile,
	for(i in seq_len(length(files))) {
		cat(paste("Executing ", files[i], "...", sep=''))
		sys.source(files[i], envir=theenv)
	return(list.files(path=wd, pattern=".png",

The stocks.R file is included in the inst/stocks directory. Here is the source of that file:

results = data.frame(Open=numeric(), High=numeric(), Low=numeric(), 
					 Close=numeric(), Volume=numeric(), Adjusted=numeric(), Symbol=character())
for(s in stocks) {
	df =[month])
	names(df) = c('Open', 'High', 'Low', 'Close', 'Volume', 'Adjusted')
	df$Symbol = s
	results = rbind(results, df)
results$day = as.Date(row.names(results))
ggplot(results, aes(x=day, y=Close, colour=Symbol)) + geom_line()
ggsave(paste(month, '.png', sep=''))

Now that the builder function and R script are defined, we can create a makeR Project.

stocksProject = Project(name="stocks", projectDir=projectDir, 
	properties=list(src = "yahoo", stocks = c("GOOG",'AAPL','AMZN','MSFT')))

Next we will define a new version for December 2011.

stocksProject$newVersion(name='2011-12', properties=list(month='2011-12'))

Print the project summary


The output of the summary shows that the version was created successfully.

Project Directory: /Users/jbryer/R/makeR/demo/stocksDemo
Source Directory: source
Build Directory: build
Current build: 1
  src = yahoo
  stocks = GOOG, AAPL, AMZN, MSFT
There are currently 1 versions defined:
Version 1.1
Name: 2011-12
  month = 2011-12

We can override the default builder with the custom builder defined above.


Finally, release the version which copies the final PNG file to the release directory.


This is the resulting image.

Stocks Image

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