Forwards Package development module: Package documentation

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A module in the "R Forwards Package Development for women and other underrepresented groups" curriculum

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Package documentation

This workshop shows you how to document your package.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module the successful learner will be able to:

  • recognise the different levels of package documentation: Metadata, Object documentation, Vignettes and pkgdown sites
  • explain, create and populate a DESCRIPTION file
  • know how to add package dependencies with usethis::use_package() and the difference between Imports and Suggests
  • explain the components of a LICENSE file
  • add object documentation using roxygen2 and devtools::document()
  • explain what a vignette is and create one with usethis::use_vignette()
  • know how pkgdown sites can be created


You need to have:

Joining Instructions

These will be emailed to participants about 24 hours before the workshop.

About R Forwards

R Forwards is an R Foundation task force that was originally set up in December 2015 to address the underrepresentation of women in the R community. An analysis of CRAN package maintainers estimated that fewer than 15% were women, and a useR! participant survey found that women were less likely than men to have experience contributing to or writing packages. In 2017 it was rebranded to accommodate other under-represented groups such as LGBTQI, minority ethnic groups, and people with disabilities.

Forwards have delivered face-to-face one-day workshops in Package development, supported by a grant from the R Consortium, for several years. These are heavily based on the R packages book by Hadley Wickham and Jenny Bryan. Recently we have been modularising our workshop materials to increase our reach by developing and delivering approximately one hour workshops suitable for online delivery and easy reuse by others.

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Organiser of Forwards Package development module: Package documentation

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