Awesome R Package Development Tools


Indrajeet Patil


May 26, 2024


r packages, software development, software engineering, r

A curated list of awesome tools to assist ๐Ÿ“ฆ development in R programming language.

Awesome Track Awesome List

What is included?
  • Only tools helpful for package development are included, and not other resources (e.g. books).
  • All relevant tools are included, irrespective of their availability on CRAN/Bioconductor.
  • Tools which are part of publicly archived/retired GitHub repositories are not included.

If you wish to suggest any additional tools, please make a PR or create an issue here.

Code of Conduct

Please note that the awesome-r-pkgtools project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By contributing to this project, you agree to abide by its terms.

Swiss army knives ๐Ÿ› 

Tools useful across all stages of package development (some of these are meta-packages and their component packages are also included in respective sections for the sake of completeness), irrespective of whether the package is meant to be submitted to CRAN or Bioconductor.

Package templates ๐Ÿ’€



  • {fusen} (to build a package from RMarkdown files)

  • {litr} (to write a complete R package in a single R markdown document)


  • {golem} (framework for building shiny applications)

  • {leprechaun} (leaner framework for building shiny applications)

  • {rhino} (a framework to build high quality, enterprise-grade Shiny apps at speed)


Naming things ๐Ÿงธ

  • {available} (to check if a package name is available to use)

  • {collidr} (to check for namespace collisions)

  • {changer} (to change the name of an existing R package)

Working with package components

  • {rprojroot} (accessing files w.r.t. package root directory)

  • {desc} (manipulating DESCRIPTION files)

  • {withr} (to manage package side effects by safely and temporarily modifying global states)

  • {pkgload} (to simulate the process of installing and loading a package)

  • {pkgbuild} (to find tools needed to build packages)

Package configuration

  • {config} (to manage environment specific configuration values)

Package management tools

  • {pkgcache} (to cache โ€˜CRANโ€™-like metadata and packages)

Documentation ๐Ÿ“š


  • {roxygen2} (to generate R package documentation from inline R comments)

  • {Rd2roxygen} (in case you inherit a project where documentation was not written using {roxygen2})

  • {roxyglobals} (to generate global variables with {roxygen2} documentation)

  • {sinew} (generate {roxygen2} skeletons)

  • {roclang} (helpers for diffusing content across function documentation)

  • {Rdpack} (for inserting references, figures, and evaluated examples in Rd docs)

  • {roxygen2md} (to allow Markdown syntax usage in {roxygen2} documentation)

  • {rd2markdown} (to convert .Rd package documentation files into markdown files)

  • {rd2list} (converts Rd docs to a human-readable list)

  • {pasteAsComment} (RStudio addin for pasting copied code as roxygen comment)

  • roxygen2Comment (Rstudio addin for adding and remove {roxygen2} comment)

Math rendering in HTML/PDF manual

  • {katex} (to convert latex math expressions to HTML for use in package manual pages)

  • {mathjaxr} (provides โ€˜MathJaxโ€™ and macros to enable its use within Rd files for rendering equations in the HTML help files)

  • {mathml} (translates R expressions to โ€˜MathMLโ€™ or โ€˜MathJaxโ€™ so that they can be rendered in HTML manual and Shiny apps)


  • {knitr} (a general-purpose tool for dynamic report generation to be used as a vignette builder for R package vignettes)

  • {rmarkdown} (to convert R Markdown documents to a variety of formats)

  • {quarto} (provides R interface to frequently used operations in the Quarto CLI)

  • {R.rsp} (for incorporating static and dynamic vignettes)

  • {RmdConcord} (to provide support for concordances in R Markdown files)

  • {prettydoc} (creates lightweight yet pretty vignettes)


  • {learnr} (to turn any R Markdown document into an interactive tutorial)


  • {pkgdown} (static website for package documentation)

  • {gitdown} (software changes as a gitbook)

  • {altdoc} (use docute, docsify, or MkDocs to create a static website for package documentation)


  • {potools} (for translating messages and checking the โ€œhealthโ€ of the messaging corpus)


  • {lifecycle} (to manage the life cycle of exported functions)

Badges and stickers

  • {badger} (to query information and generate badges for use in README)

  • {badgen} (provides bindings to badgen to generate beautiful โ€˜svgโ€™ badges in R without internet access)

  • {hexSticker} (helper functions for creating reproducible hexagon sticker purely in R)

  • {hexFinder} (to scavenge the web for possible hex logos for packages)

  • hexwall (to create a wall of hexstickers)


  • {xaringan} (an RMarkdown output format for remark.js slides)


  • {bookdown} (authoring framework for books and technical documents with R Markdown)

Change log and versioning

  • {fledge} (to streamline the process of updating change logs and versioning R packages developed in git repositories)

  • {newsmd} (utilities to add updates to the file)

  • {autonewsmd} (to auto-generate change log using conventional commits)

Documentation quality โœ’๏ธ

Unit testing ๐Ÿงช

Generic R Packages

  • {testthat} (a testing framework for R that is easy to learn and use; also provides snapshot testing)

  • {patrick} (for parameterized unit testing with {testthat})

  • {testdat} (a family of functions and reporting tools focused on checking of data)

  • {tinytest} (zero-dependency unit testing framework that installs tests with the package)

  • {tinysnapshot} (snapshots for unit tests using the {tinytest} framework)

  • {tinytest2JUnit} (to convert {tinytest} output to JUnit XML needed by CI/CD)

  • {RUnit} (a standard unit testing framework, with additional code inspection and report generation tools)

  • {testit} (a simple package for testing R packages)

  • {realtest} (a framework unit testing that distinguishes between expected, acceptable, current, fallback, ideal, or regressive behaviours)

  • {roxytest} (to inline {testthat} tests with {roxygen2})

  • {doctest} (to write {testthat} tests by adding {roxygen2} tags)

  • {exampletestr} (tests based on package examples)

  • {roxut} (to write the unit tests in the same file as the function)

  • {unitizer} (simplifies regression tests by comparing objects produced by test code with earlier versions of those same objects)

  • {r-hedgehog} (property based testing)

  • {autotest} (automatic mutation testing of R packages)

  • {cucumber} (an implementation of the Cucumber testing framework in R)

  • {quickcheck} (provides property-based testing in {testthat} framework)

Web/database applications

  • {httptest} (a test environment for HTTP requests in R)

  • {httptest2} (the same for {httr2} package)

  • {webfakes} (provides fake web apps for HTTP testing R packages)

  • {dittodb} (makes testing against databases easy)

Visual regression testing

  • {vdiffr} (for visual regression testing with {testthat})

  • {gdiff} (for performing graphical difference different package or R versions)

Mock testing

  • {mockthat} (provides a way to mock package function for unit testing, while coping with S3 dispatch)

  • {mockr} (provides a way to mock package function for unit testing)

  • {mockery} (provides a way to mock package function for unit testing and can be used with any testing framework)

Mutation testing

Markdown documents

  • {pandoc} (to check Markdown documents across various version of Pandoc)

Shiny applications

Helpers for testing frameworks

  • {testthis} (RStudio addins for working with files that contain tests)

  • {xpectr} (builds unit tests with the {testthat} package by providing tools for generating expectations)

  • {testdown} (turn {testthat} results into a {bookdown} project)

  • {ttdo} (provides โ€˜diffโ€™-style comparison of R objects for {tinytest} framework)

Code/Document Formatting ๐Ÿงฝ

  • {styler} (to format code according to a style guide)

  • {stylermd} (to format text in Markdown documents)

  • {formatR} (to format R source code)

  • {RFormatter} (extension of {formatR} with slightly improved heuristics)

  • {grkstyle} (extension package for {styler} that supports authorโ€™s personal code style preferences)

  • {codegrip} (addin for RStudio IDE to reshape R code and navigate across syntactic constructs)

  • {BiocStyle} (provides standard formatting styles for Bioconductor PDF and HTML documents)

  • AlignAssign (RStudio addin that aligns the assignment operators within a highlighted area)

  • {snakecase} (helpful for having consistent case while naming objects in the package)

  • {dotInternals} (to distinguish non-exported package functions by prepending their names with a dot)

Code analysis ๐Ÿ—‚โฑ


  • {codetools} (code analysis tools for R)

  • {goodpractice} (Swiss army knife for good practices)

  • {inteRgrate} (provides an opinionated set of rules for R package development)

  • {pkgcheck} (checks if package follows good practices recommended for packages in the rOpenSci ecosystem)

  • {pkgstats} (a static code analysis tool)

  • {rchk} (provides several bug-finding tools that look for memory protection errors in C source code using R API)

  • {sourcetools} (tools for reading, tokenizing, and parsing R code)

  • {precommit} (git hooks for common tasks like formatting files, spell checking, etc.)

Code review

  • {PaRe} (reviews other packages during code review by looking at their dependencies, code style, code complexity, and how internally defined functions interact with one another)

Code coverage

  • {covr} (to compute code coverage)

  • {covrpage} (to include summary README of code coverage and more detailed information about tests)

  • {covtracer} (provides tools for contextualizing tests)

Code quality

  • {lintr} (static code analysis)

  • {roxylint} (to lint {roxygen2}-generated documentation)

  • {checkglobals} (to check R-packages for globals and imports)

  • {CodeDepends} (analysis of R code for reproducible research and code view)

  • {adaptalint} (infer code style from one package and use it to check another)

  • {roger} (provides tools for grading the coding style and documentation of R scripts)

  • {cleanr} (tests code for some of the most common code layout flaws)

Code complexity

  • {cyclocomp} (to index the complexity of a function)

  • {pkgGraphR} (to visualize the relationship between functions in an R package)

Code similarity

  • {dupree} (identifies code blocks that have a high level of similarity within a set of R files)

  • {rscc} (provides source code similarity evaluation by variable/function names)

  • {SimilaR} (quantifies the similarity of the code-base of R functions by means of program dependence graphs)

Compiled code

JavaScript code

  • {jshintr} (to run JSHint for static code analysis for JavaScript code included in the package)

Lines of code

  • {cloc} (counts blank lines, comment lines, and physical lines of source code in source files)


  • {refactor} (to check speed and performance of both the original and refactored version of code)

Code performance โฑ๏ธ


  • {bench} (provides high precision benchmarks for R expressions)

  • {microbenchmark} (provides infrastructure to accurately measure and compare the execution time of R expressions)

  • {tictoc} (provides functions for timing R scripts)

  • {touchstone} (benchmarking pull requests)


  • {profvis} (to profile and visualize profiling data)

  • {proffer} (to create friendlier, faster visualizations for profiling data)

  • {jointprof} (to profile packages with native code in C, C++, Fortran, etc.)

  • {xrprof} (an external sampling profiler for R programs)

Dependency Management โš–๏ธ

  • {pkgdepends} (to find recursive dependencies of from various sources)

  • {deepdep} (to visualize and explore package dependencies)

  • {itdepends} (to assess usage, measure weights, visualize proportions, and assist removal of dependencies)

  • {DependenciesGraphs} (to visualize package dependencies)

  • {DependencyReviewer} (to investigate packages during code review by looking at their dependencies)

  • {deps} (to manage source code dependencies by decorating R code with roxygen-style comments)

  • {pkgnet} (to build a graph representation of a package and its dependencies)

  • {functiondepends} (to find functions in an unstructured directory and explore their dependencies)

  • {pkgndep} (checks the heaviness of the packages used)

  • {oysteR} (to secure package against insecure dependencies)

  • {attachment} (to deal with package dependencies during package development)

CRAN/Bioconductor checks, submission, and status ๐Ÿ“ฌ

  • {rcmdcheck} (to run R CMD check form R programmatically)

  • {BiocCheck} (to run Bioconductor-specific package checks)

  • {rhub} (to run R CMD check on CRAN architectures)

  • {checkhelper} (to help avoid problems with CRAN submissions)

  • {extrachecks} (to run some additional CRAN checks)

  • {foghorn} (to check for results and submission portal status)

  • {urlchecker} (to checks for URL rot)

Usage ๐Ÿ™ˆ


CI/CD: continuous integration and either continuous delivery or continuous deployment

Security/Privacy ๐Ÿ‘ฎ

  • {digest} (for the creation of hash digests of arbitrary R objects)

  • {hash} (implements a data structure similar to hashes in Perl and dictionaries in Python but with a purposefully R flavor)

  • {gpg} (GNU privacy guard for R)

Build systems

  • {fakemake} (to mock Unix Make build system in case it is unavailable)

Validation frameworks

  • {valtools} (in clinical research and drug development)

Debugging ๐Ÿ”ญ

  • {debugme} (provides helpers to specify debug messages as special string constants, and control debugging of packages via environment variables)

  • {debugr} (tools to print out the value of R objects/expressions while running an R script)

  • {winch} (provides stack traces for call chains that cross between R and C/C++ function calls)

  • {flow} (to visualize as flow diagrams the logic of functions, expressions, or scripts, which can ease debugging)

  • {boomer} (provides debugging tools to inspect the intermediate steps of a call)

Input validation ๐Ÿ”ฌ

  • {checkmate} (fast and versatile argument checks)

  • {assertthat} (to declare the pre and post conditions that you code should satisfy and to produce friendly error messages)

  • {assertive} (provides readable check functions to ensure code integrity)

  • {pkgcond} (better error messages for package users)

  • {dreamerr} (a simple and intuitive, yet powerful and flexible, way to check the arguments passed to a function and to offer informative error messages)

  • {erify} (to check arguments and generate readable error messages)

  • {validate} (to check whether data lives up to expectations based on the domain-specific knowledge)

Package metadata ๐Ÿ–จ

  • {codemetar} (provides utilities to generate, parse, and modify codemeta.jsonld files automatically for R packages), or {codemeta} (a leaner version of {codemetar})

  • {cffr} (provides utilities to generate, parse, modify and validate CITATION.cff files automatically for R packages)

  • {citation} (creates CITATION.cff from R package metadata)

  • {pkgapi} (to create the map of function calls in a package)

  • {riskmetric} (provides a collection of risk metrics to evaluate the quality of R packages)

  • {packagemetrics} (for comparing among packages)

  • {devtoolbox} (to create a summary report for R package and to extract dependency statistics in a tidy data frame)

  • {pkgattrs} (useful for getting information on the contents of any R package)

  • {foreman} (for unpacking, interrogating and subsetting R packages)

  • {sessioninfo} (to include R session information)

Reverse dependency checks ๐Ÿ“กโšฐ๏ธ

  • {revdepcheck} (for automated, isolated, reverse dependency checking)

  • {xfun} (specifically, xfun::rev_check())

Gratitude ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’Œ

To thank the contributors or maintainers of packages you rely on.

Docker container ๐Ÿ›

  • {containerit} (to package R script/session/workspace and all dependencies as a Docker container by generating a suitable Dockerfile)

  • {usethat} (to automate analytic project setup tasks)

Integration with other languages ๐Ÿ”—





.NET Framework



Upkeep ๐Ÿงน

  • {TODOr} (RStudio addin to list things that you need to do or change)

Sundry ๐Ÿ—’

  • {pkglite} (tools to represent and exchange R package source code as text files)

  • {gpttools} (RStudio addin that allows using chatGPT to automate writing documentation, tests, etc.)

  • {rfold} (to work with many R folders within an R package)

  • {many} (to create R packages from many directories)

  • {prefixer} (prefix function with their namespace )

  • {options} (provides simple mechanisms for defining and interpreting package options)

  • {onetime} (for package authors to run code only once for a given user on a given computer)

  • {rstudioapi} (to conditionally access the RStudio API from CRAN packages)

  • {rcheology} (to access data on base packages for previous versions of R)

  • {gitignore} (to fetch gitignore templates)

  • {DIZutils} (helpers for packages dealing with database connections)

Session information

Session details

โ”€ Session info โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€
 setting  value
 version  R version 4.4.0 (2024-04-24)
 os       Ubuntu 22.04.4 LTS
 system   x86_64, linux-gnu
 ui       X11
 language (EN)
 collate  C.UTF-8
 ctype    C.UTF-8
 tz       UTC
 date     2024-05-26
 pandoc   3.2 @ /opt/hostedtoolcache/pandoc/3.2/x64/ (via rmarkdown)
 quarto   1.5.39 @ /usr/local/bin/quarto

โ”€ Packages โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€
 package     * version    date (UTC) lib source
 base        * 4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 cli           3.6.2      2023-12-11 [1] RSPM
 clipr         0.8.0      2022-02-22 [1] RSPM
 compiler      4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 datasets    * 4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 desc          1.4.3      2023-12-10 [1] RSPM
 details     * 0.3.0      2022-03-27 [1] RSPM
 digest        0.6.35     2024-03-11 [1] RSPM
 evaluate      0.23       2023-11-01 [1] RSPM
 fastmap       1.2.0      2024-05-15 [1] RSPM
 graphics    * 4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 grDevices   * 4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 grid          4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 htmltools    2024-04-04 [1] RSPM
 httr          1.4.7      2023-08-15 [1] RSPM
 jsonlite      1.8.8      2023-12-04 [1] RSPM
 knitr         1.46       2024-04-06 [1] RSPM
 magrittr      2.0.3      2022-03-30 [1] RSPM
 methods     * 4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 png           0.1-8      2022-11-29 [1] RSPM
 R6            2.5.1      2021-08-19 [1] RSPM
 rlang         1.1.3      2024-01-10 [1] RSPM
 rmarkdown     2.27       2024-05-17 [1] RSPM
 sessioninfo 2024-04-28 [1] Github (r-lib/sessioninfo@064bc38)
 stats       * 4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 tools         4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 utils       * 4.4.0      2024-05-25 [3] local
 withr         3.0.0      2024-01-16 [1] RSPM
 xfun          0.44       2024-05-15 [1] RSPM
 xml2          1.3.6      2023-12-04 [1] RSPM
 yaml          2.3.8      2023-12-11 [1] RSPM

 [1] /home/runner/work/_temp/Library
 [2] /opt/R/4.4.0/lib/R/site-library
 [3] /opt/R/4.4.0/lib/R/library
 * โ”€โ”€ Packages attached to the search path.