When you want to share a project with other collaborators, you may want to ensure everyone is working with the same environment – otherwise, code in the project may unexpectedly fail to run because of changes in behavior between different versions of the packages in use. You can use
renv to help make this possible.
renv, the packages used in your project will be recorded into a lockfile,
renv.lock records the exact versions of R packages used within a project, if you share that file with your collaborators, they will be able to use
renv::init() to initialize your project with exactly the same R packages as recorded in the lockfile. This implies the following workflow for collaboration:
Make sure your project is initialized with
renv by calling
Share your project sources, alongside the generated lockfile
After your collaborators have received your
renv.lock lockfile, they can then also execute
renv::init() to initialize their project with the packages declared in that lockfile into their own private project library. By doing this, they will now be able to work within your project using the exact same R packages that you were when
renv.lock was generated.
For more information on collaboration strategies, please visit environments.rstudio.com.
While working on a project, you or your collaborators may need to update or install new packages in your project. The workflow remains the same as before – after installing these new packages, you can share the updated lockfile with your collaborators, and request that they execute
renv::init() to synchronize their library with the lockfile. Or, if the project has already been initialized on their machine via a prior call to
renv::init(), then they can simply execute
A bit of care needs to be taken if your collaborators attempt to update packages independently. It is recommended that a single ‘source of truth’ is used for the package sources and
renv.lock, to avoid different collaborators ending up with different lockfiles – or even, different versions of the project sources!
The simplest way to guard against this it to use a version control system, and have all collaborators work off the same branch. This way, if someone needs to update
renv.lock in the public repository, all collaborators will see that updated lockfile and will gain access to it next time they pull those changes. Depending on the size of your team, you may want to ensure any changes to
renv.lock are communicated so that everyone knows and understands when and why packages have been installed or updated.