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Package uniset provides an easily accessible, user-friendly text file as settings-file for your R-package.


Package uniset enables any package (the ‘target package’) to provide its users an easily accessible, user-friendly and human readable text file where key=value pairs (used by functions defined in the target package) can be saved.

This settings file lives in a location defined by the user of the target package, and its user-defined values remain unchanged even when the author of the target package is introducing or deleting keys, or when the target package is updated or re-installed.

In order to enable the target package to make use of the functionality offered by package uniset, three files have to be exported by uniset and be placed into the target package.


The most imminent advantage of the uniset settings-file system over using any static file for permanently storing settings for any package is the fact that the key=value pairs in the ‘settings.R’ file get updated (added / deleted) dynamically.
So the developer of a package can delete keys or introduce new ones, and the new key=value pairs will be automatically added to or deleted from the local ‘settings.R’ file.

Values changed by the user of the target package will be preserved.
So the author of the target package can add or delete keys from the ‘settings.R’ file without worrying that this will cause any effort or troubles for the user of the target package.

Two ways to generate the required files

A) Export and Move Files

  • Use uniset_getFiles(), then move the ‘xxx_settings.R’ file (‘xxx’ for the name of the target package) into the ‘inst’ folder (create one if not already done) of the target package.

  • Move the files ‘uniset_globals.R’ and ‘uniset_functions.R’ to the ‘R’ folder of the target package.

B) Write files directly to target package

Alternatively, use uniset_copyFilesToPackage() to copy the required files directly into the target package.

In both cases the name of a setup-function has to be provided, that is the name of a function defined in the target package that contains the uniset function uniset_setup().

Accessing values from within target package

Every variable defined in the ‘settings.R’ file is accessible in the code of the target package.

The target package has to list uniset as an import, and then the functions uniset_updateSettings(), uniset_autoUpS() or uniset_getstn() called from a function defined in the target package can be used to manually or automatically update the settings, i.e. to read in the key=value pairs stored in the ‘settings.R’ file.

See next page for a practical example.

Some more explanations

You can define functions in the target package (what in this example will be the package ‘dogPack’) that can call the following functions from uniset:

  • uniset_setup(where="somePath", get("uniset_handover"))
  • uniset_test(get("uniset_handover"))
  • uniset_updateSettings(get("uniset_handover"), "nameOfSetupFunction")
  • uniset_autoUpS(get("uniset_handover"), "nameOfSetupFunction")
  • uniset_getstn(get("uniset_handover"))

uniset_handover is a global variable defined in the target package (the package ‘dogPack’ in our example). It contains the name of a function exported by the target package that hands over required values to package uniset.

uniset_test() is a testing function to see if the handover of environments etc. is working properly.

nameOfSetupFunctionis the name of the function defined in the target package that is containing the uniset setup-function uniset_setup().

The function uniset_setup() is:

  • Creating the required environment variable in the .Renviron file, and

  • copying the ‘dogPack_settings.R’ file to a destination specified by the user of ‘dogPack’.
    It is this file (’dogPack_settings.R) that is meant to be seen, read and modified by the user of package dogPack.

The functions uniset_updateSettings() and uniset_autoUpS() are updating (adding / deleting) the key=value pairs in the local, user-level ‘dogPack_settings.R’ file according to a possibly new template in the dogPack installation folder.

Thus, whenever the developer of package dogPack is introducing new or deleting obsolete key=value pairs, they will be automatically added to or deleted from the user´s file.
Any values that the user modified will be preserved.

Thus, a new update or installation of package dogPack will not force the user of package dogPack to completely re-customize the ‘dogPack_settings.R’ file.

Only Sourcing vs. Compare Keys

The difference between uniset_getstn() on the one hand and uniset_autoUpS() and uniset_updateSettings() on the other hand is that the first one is merely sourcing the values from the ‘settings.R’ file, while the other ones are first comparing the keys in the user defined settings.R file with those in the root of the target packge. If the keys differ, the user-defined settings.R file is modified accordingly. Only then, after the comparison of the keys, is the user defined settings.R file sourced.

Go on and see what uniset can do in a practical example.