4.7 Test driving a package

pkgload diagram
pkgload diagram

4.7.1 Using load_all()

Running load_all() is the fastest way to re-load the functions in your package – much faster than installing it (install.packages(pkgName)) and loading it into memory library(pkgName). This is helpful for iteratively updating or tweaking functions you’re working on.

4.7.2 Using test()

Running test() runs load_all() and then the test files that live in tests/testthat/. If you have a test file which captures the behaviour in the function that you desire, you can quickly assess whether the changes you make in the function have worked by running test().

4.7.3 Coping with being impatient

check() can take a long time and leave your console occupied. A solution to this is to run using the build tab (ctrl-shift-E) or as a separate job:


To test examples in your documentation without running check(): run_examples()

4.7.4 (Previous speaker’s) bad habit

I like to have a working_space.Rmd in the package directory which I use to test package code away from the console. You’ll get a NOTE on the check:

N checking top-level files …

Non-standard file/directory found at top level:


But you could also add this to .Rbuildignore/.gitignore.

It can be tricky to incorporate everything into a test script, and sometimes you may want to have a closer look at what’s going on within a function. This can more easily be done by throwing some earlier return()s into your package functions, run load_all() to make them effective and then running code in your working_space.Rmd file.