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Dependencies of popular R packages

With the growing popularity of R, there is an associated increase in the popularity of online forums to ask questions. One of the most popular sites is StackOverflow, where more than 60 thousand questions have been asked and tagged to be related to R. On the same page, you can also find related tags. Among the top 15 tags associated with R, several are also packages you can find on CRAN: ggplot2 data.table plyr knitr shiny xts lattice It very easy to install these packages directly from CRAN using the R function install.packages(), but this will also install all these package dependencies. This leads to the question: How can one determine all these dependencies? It is possible to do this using the function available.packages() and then query the resulting object. But it is easier to answer this question using the functions in a new package, called miniCRAN, that I am working on. I have designed miniCRAN to allow you to create a mini version of CRAN behind a corporate firewall. You can use some of the function in miniCRAN to list packages and their dependencies, in particular: pkgAvail() pkgDep() makeDepGraph() I illustrate these functions in the following scripts. Start by loading miniCRAN and retrieving the available packages on CRAN. Use the function pkgAvail() to do this: library(miniCRAN) pkgdata <- pkgavail(repos = c(CRAN=""), type="source">= 2.15.0), xtable, pbapply" "randomForest, e1071" ## abc "R (>= 2.10), nnet, quantreg, MASS" NA ## abcdeFBA "Rglpk,rgl,corrplot,lattice,R (>= 2.10)" "LIM,sybil" ## ABCExtremes "SpatialExtremes, combinat" NA ## ABCoptim NA NA ## ABCp2 "MASS" NA   Next, use the function pkgDep() to get dependencies of the 7 popular tags on StackOverflow: tags <- c("ggplot2", "data.table", "plyr", "knitr", "shiny", "xts", "lattice") pkglist >% zoo), adj=0, cex=0.9) text(0.9, -0.8, "xts depends on zoo", adj=0, cex=0.9) title("Package dependency graph") So, if you wanted to install the 7 most popular packages R packages (according to StackOverflow), R will in fact download and install up to 63 different packages!

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More Stories By David Smith

David Smith is Vice President of Marketing and Community at Revolution Analytics. He has a long history with the R and statistics communities. After graduating with a degree in Statistics from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, he spent four years researching statistical methodology at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, where he also developed a number of packages for the S-PLUS statistical modeling environment. He continued his association with S-PLUS at Insightful (now TIBCO Spotfire) overseeing the product management of S-PLUS and other statistical and data mining products.<

David smith is the co-author (with Bill Venables) of the popular tutorial manual, An Introduction to R, and one of the originating developers of the ESS: Emacs Speaks Statistics project. Today, he leads marketing for REvolution R, supports R communities worldwide, and is responsible for the Revolutions blog. Prior to joining Revolution Analytics, he served as vice president of product management at Zynchros, Inc. Follow him on twitter at @RevoDavid