renv uses an installed package’s
DESCRIPTION file to
infer its source. For example, packages installed from the CRAN
repositories typically have the field:
set, and renv takes this as a signal that the package was retrieved from CRAN.
The following fields are checked, in order, when inferring a package’s source:
RemoteType field; typically written for packages
installed by the devtools, remotes and pak packages,
Repository field; for example, packages
retrieved from CRAN will typically have the
Repository: CRAN field,
biocViews field; typically present for packages
installed from the Bioconductor repositories,
As a fallback, if renv is unable to determine a package’s source from
DESCRIPTION file directly, but a package of the same
name is available in the active R repositories (as specified in
getOption("repos")), then the package will be treated as
though it was installed from an R package repository.
If all of the above methods fail, renv will finally check for a package available from the cellar. The package cellar is typically used as an escape hatch, for packages which do not have a well-defined remote source, or for packages which might not be remotely accessible from your machine.
If renv is unable to infer a package’s source, it will inform you
renv::snapshot() – for example, if we attempted to
snapshot a package called
skeleton with no known
The following package(s) were installed from an unknown source:
renv may be unable to restore these packages in the future.
Consider reinstalling these packages from a known source (e.g. CRAN).
Do you want to proceed? [y/N]:
While you can still create a lockfile with such packages,
restore() will likely fail unless you can ensure this
package is installed through some other mechanism.
Custom and local R package repositories are supported as well. The
only requirement is that these repositories are set as part of the
repos R option, and that these repositories are named. For
example, you might use:
repos <- c(CRAN = "https://cloud.r-project.org", WORK = "https://work.example.org")
options(repos = repos)
to tell renv to work with both the official CRAN package repository, as well as a package repository you have hosted and set up in your work environment.
renv has been designed to work together as seamlessly as possible with the Bioconductor project. This vignette outlines some of the extra steps that may be required when using renv with packages obtained from Bioconductor.
To initialize renv in a project using Bioconductor, you can pass the
bioconductor argument to
This will tell renv to activate the appropriate Bioconductor repositories, and to use those repositories when attempting to restore packages.
Bioconductor prepares different versions of its package repositories, for use with different versions of R. The version of Bioconductor used within a particular renv project is stored both as a project setting, and also within the project lockfile. This allows you to “lock” a particular project to a particular Bioconductor release, even as new Bioconductor releases are made available for newer versions of R.
To set the version of Bioconductor used in a project, you can use:
If you later choose to upgrade R, you may need to upgrade the version of Bioconductor used as well.
If you want to override the Bioconductor repositories used by renv, you can also explicitly set the following option:
In some cases, your project may depend on R packages which are not
available from any external source, or that external source may not be
accessible from the machine calling
help accommodate these scenarios, renv allows you to prepare a package
“cellar”, to be used as an ad-hoc repository of packages during restore.
This allows you to provide package tarballs that can be used to restore
packages which cannot be retrieved from any other source.
The environment variable
RENV_PATHS_CELLAR can be used
to customize the package cellar location. It should point to a directory
containing package binaries and sources, with a structure of the
Alternatively, you can also use a project-local cellar by placing
your packages within a folder located at
<project>/renv/cellar. Note that this folder does not
exist by default; you must create it to opt-in.
As an example, if your project depended on a package
skeleton 1.0.0, you could place a tarball for this package
in one of the following locations:
Once this is done, renv will consult these directories during future attempts to restore your packages.
You can install a package from the cellar like any other package,
During restore, if a compatible package is located within the cellar,
that copy of the package will be preferred even if that package might
otherwise be accessible from its associated remote source. For example,
skeleton 1.0.0 was also available on CRAN,
renv::restore() would still use the tarball available in
the cellar rather than the version available from CRAN.
If you want to see what paths renv is using for the cellar, you can use:
?paths for more details.
You can also provide explicit source paths in the lockfile if
desired. This is most useful if you are building an renv lockfile “by
hand”, or need to tweak an existing lockfile to point at a separate
package for installation. For example, you could have a package record
renv.lock of the form:
Packages should have the following extensions, depending on whether the archive contains a binary copy of the package or the package sources:
Note that on Linux, both binaries and sources should have the
.tar.gz extension, but R and renv will handle this as
appropriate during installation.
ABI compatibility issues can arise if different packages were built against different versions of a shared dependency. For example, one package may have been built against Rcpp 1.0.6, and another package might have been built against Rcpp 1.0.7. However, because only one version of the Rcpp package can be loaded at a time within an R session, mixing of these two packages might cause issues either on load or at runtime depending on the version of Rcpp available.
It’s worth emphasizing that this is not Rcpp’s fault; a package built against Rcpp 1.0.7 would reasonably expect newer APIs made available by that version of the package would be available at runtime, and that contract would be violated if an older version of Rcpp were installed in the project library. The challenge for renv is that this build-time dependency is not clearly communicated to renv; in general, it is not possible to know what packages (and their versions) a particular package was built against.
R packages might occasionally (and unintentionally) take a build-time dependency on another R package – for example, a package with the code:
`%>%` <- magrittr::`%>%`
would take the version of
%>% that was available from
the version of magrittr that was available at build time, not
the one available at run time. This could be problematic if,
for example, an update to the magrittr package changed in a way that
made old definitions of
%>% incompatible with newer
In general, it is a mistake for packages to take a build-time
dependency on exported objects from another package; rather, such
objects should be imported at runtime (using
importFrom() in the package