Create and maintain time-versioned datasets using arrow.


This package is not yet on CRAN. Install from github with devtools::install_github("riazarbi/dataversionr").


This package allows you create, read, update and destroy time versioned datasets at arrow SubTreeFileSystem locations.

At this time, arrow supports local disk, S3 API-compatible, and GCS endpoints as FileSystems. Our test suite only runs against local and S3 FileSystems but there is no reason a GCS endpoint should work any differently.

The most high-level functions in this package are intended to introduce as little additional overhead as possible over base R read, write and unlink functions:

These high level functions make use of the other functions in this package to operate correctly.

We have exported these other functions to the user because they allow for much more fine-grained access to the files that constitute a time versioned dataset. For help on these functions, refer to the documentation for each function, eg. ?get_diffs.

Here’s an example of how to use the above high level functions.

location <- tempfile()
new_df <- iris[1:5,3:5] %>% mutate(key = 1:nrow(.))

Create a dv:

          key_cols = "key",
          diffed = TRUE,
          backup_count = 10L)
Checking that new_df can be diffed...
Diff test passed.
[1] TRUE

Update a dv:

newer_df <- new_df
newer_df [1,1] <- 2
[1] TRUE

If we try update again:

No changes detected. Exiting.

Delete a row and update:

newest_df <- newer_df[2:5,]
[1] TRUE

Read a dv:

  Petal.Length Petal.Width Species key
1          2.0         0.2  setosa   1
2          1.4         0.2  setosa   2
3          1.3         0.2  setosa   3
4          1.5         0.2  setosa   4
5          1.4         0.2  setosa   5

Summarise diffs:

> summarise_diffs(location)
       diff_timestamp new modified deleted
1 2022-08-16 12:58:29   5       NA      NA
2 2022-08-16 12:59:14  NA        1      NA
3 2022-08-16 13:04:15  NA       NA       1

Or connect directly to the diff dataset:

       diff_timestamp operation Petal.Length Petal.Width Species key
1 2022-08-16 12:58:29       new          1.4         0.2  setosa   1
2 2022-08-16 12:58:29       new          1.4         0.2  setosa   2
3 2022-08-16 12:58:29       new          1.3         0.2  setosa   3
4 2022-08-16 12:58:29       new          1.5         0.2  setosa   4
5 2022-08-16 12:58:29       new          1.4         0.2  setosa   5
6 2022-08-16 12:59:14  modified          2.0         0.2  setosa   1
7 2022-08-16 13:04:15   deleted          2.0         0.2  setosa   1

Destroy a dv:

destroy_dv(location, prompt = FALSE)
[1] TRUE

Building and running tests

Clone this repo into a local environment.

We use the devtools package to facilitate package development. Rstudio provides nice integration with this package.

To initialise the environment, clone this repo into Rstudio and load it as your working project. In your R console -

Loading the package

  1. library(devtools)
  2. To load the package via source, load_all()

Create a function

  1. To create a function use_r("function_name")
  2. To document the function, put your cursor inside the function source code and navigate to Code -> Insert Roxygen Skeleton. Be sure to populate the template correctly. For more details on this, refer to the roxygen2 documentation.
  3. After you’ve documented the function, run document() to create the right documentation files and update your NAMESPACE file.
  4. Once you are done, load_all() again.


  1. If you want to run additional tests against an S3 endpoint, set the environment variable TEST_S3 to TRUE. Sys.setenv(TEST_S3=TRUE). If you don’t do this, you’ll still run all the tests, but only against a local file path.
  2. To create a test, use_test("fuction_name"). Write your test and save it.
  3. To run a test code coverage report library(covr); cov <- package_coverage()
  4. Check which lines are not covered by your tests zero_coverage(cov)


  1. To check your package is well formed, run rcmdcheck::rcmdcheck(repos = NULL). The repos = NULL is applicable if you are running in a firewalled environment like tiro.

Creating a manual

  1. To build a PDF manual - devtools::build_manual()