Section 10 Advanced Developing

This portion of the guide is dedicated towards documenting the advanced development and maintenance of the structure and workflow of the workshops. Any prospective changes here are considered highly relevant and must be carefully verified by the coordinators or other authorized developers.

Additionally, any significant changes to the structure of the workshop presentations, books or workflows should be carefully and documented here.

This section is under development

10.1 Changing the templates

10.1.1 Changing the presentation template

The format and styling of all workshop presentations is set using a template. If you need to change the format or styling of a presentation you are developing, please do not edit the .css within the workshop repository.

To make any changes to the template, you can submit an issue here, or submit a pull request with your proposed changes here. Please note that any changes pushed to this repository will trigger the Github Actions of all other workshop repositories to be re-run.

This section is under development

10.1.2 Changing the book template

The format and styling of all books is set using a template. If you need to change the format or styling of a book you are developing, please do not edit the .css within the workshop repository.

To make any changes to the template, you can submit an issue here, or submit a pull request with your proposed changes here. Please note that any changes pushed to this repository will trigger the Github Actions of all other workshop repositories to be re-run.

This section is under development

10.2 Managing the continuous integration workflow

The current deployment of the workshop material follows a continuous integration (CI) workflow. This workflow automatically tests and builds the code that workshop developers push to the repositories.

On January 2021, the implementation shifted from Travis CI towards Github Actions. The steps described below are contained to the currently workflows. Supplementary documentation from Github and other actions from the Github Marketplace may be helpful.

10.2.1 Github Action workflow structure

In a nutshell, inside each repository there is a .github/workflows/ directory that holds YAML files that contain workflow (recipes) that tells Github Actions when and what to execute a list of steps.

Within the workshop repositories, there are five workflows:

  1. Four workflows will detect pushes to the directories within the master branch and conditionally render presentations (deploy_presentation-en.yml and deploy_presentation-fr.yml) and/or books (deploy_book-en.yml and deploy_book-fr.yml), and deploy them to the gh-pages branch, allowing them to be accessible as HTML websites; and,

  2. An additional workflow (in-dispatch-out.yml) will detect changes done to the templates within the template repository (qcbsRWorkshops/templateWorkshops), and conditionally trigger the other workflows.

10.2.2 Workflow description Render and deployment workflows

Render and deployment workflow are specific to the language (English or French) and the type of document (presentation or book) and are conditionally triggered when changes are committed and pushed to their specific directories ([presentation-or-book]-[en-or-fr]/) or when changes committed and pushed to the template repository (qcbsRWorkshops/templateWorkshops) trigger type-specific repository dispatches. Workshops workflows

This section is under development

Workshop workflows work as follows:

Include workflow Templates workflows
Include workflow Presenter and developer protocol workflows
Include workflow Dispatch workflows

This section is under development Template repository dispatch

This section is under development Workshop repository dispatch

This section is under development

The render and deployment workflows work

Below, we will show how to create actions to deploy books built using bookdown (such as this one and the one for the upcoming workshop material) and to deploy presentations built using rmarkdown.

10.2.3 Create a gh-pages branch

We begin by creating and preparing a gh-pages branch inside a repository that is already created. Run the line below to create and checkout the gh-pages branch:

git checkout --orphan gh-pages

Then, remove all files within the gh-pages branch:

git rm -rf .

And create an empty commit inside the gh-pages branch:

git commit --allow-empty -m "Initial gh-pages commit"

Then, push changes and get back to the main or master branch:

git push origin gh-pages
git checkout master

10.2.4 Action to deploy a book Prepare book with bookdown and connect to Github

Prior to creating this action, it is assumed that R and RStudio have been installed and area working, and that:

  1. The R package bookdown is installed and working;
if (!requireNamespace("devtools")) install.packages('devtools')
  1. A bookdown RStudio project has been rendered (bookdown::serve_book()) to a local directory of your liking. You can use the code below to do it using the prompt. Remember to replace the fields <> with the relevant information (<> inclusive).
# Make new project directory
mkdir <nameofyourdirectory>
cd <nameofyourdirectory>
  1. A .gitignore file has been created within the root directory of the local directory and the repository with these basic settings:
# do not commit locally rendered files to the master or main branch


# ignore all html files except:

# ignore R and RStudio specific files
  1. A repository is added to Github and a commit is pushed to the main or master branch, as below:
# Connect to Github repository
git remote add [email protected]:<username>/<repository-name>.git

# Replace your GitHub user name within <username> and the intended repository name within <repository-name>.

# Push to master (or to main; change if needed)
git push origin master Setting up the Github Action YAML

Now, you can set the Github workflow YAML file named deploy_bookdown.yml within the repository’s .github/workflows/ directory. The current setting should follow as below:

       - master


name: renderbook

    name: Render-Book
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - name: Checkout repository
        uses: actions/checkout@v1

      - name: Setup R  
        uses: r-lib/actions/setup-r@v1
      - name: Install pandoc and pandoc citeproc
        uses: r-lib/actions/setup-pandoc@v1
      - name: Install R dependencies
        run: Rscript -e 'install.packages(c("rmarkdown","bookdown", "formatR"))'
      - name: Render the book using bookdown
        run: Rscript -e 'bookdown::render_book("index.Rmd")'
      - uses: actions/upload-artifact@v1
          name: _book
          path: _book/
# Need to first create an empty gh-pages branch
# see
# and also add secrets for a GH_PAT and EMAIL to the repository
# gh-action from Cecilapp/GitHub-Pages-deploy

   runs-on: ubuntu-latest
   needs: bookdown
     - name: Checkout to master
       uses: actions/checkout@master
     - name: Download artifact
       uses: actions/[email protected]
         # Artifact name
         name: _book # optional
         # Destination path
         path: _book # optional

     - name: Deploy to GitHub Pages
       uses: Cecilapp/[email protected]
         GITHUB_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
         email: ${{ secrets.EMAIL }}
         build_dir: _book       # "_site/" by default

Note that the GITHUB_TOKEN and EMAIL are Secrets that have already been set within this repository’s settings. Changing these settings might prevent the commit from being deployed.

The final step should be to push this repository and expect that the verification works! If anything goes wrong, contact the organizers of the workshop series with a clear message indicating the issue you are having!

10.3 The qcbsRworkshops package

The package qcbsRworkshops was originally designed as a set of functions to check whether the workshops can be correctly built on Travis CI. While working on thi s package,it turned out to be quite helpful to develop/improve the workshops. The main features of qcbsRworkshops are detailed below. Installation

To install qcbsRworkshops, use the remotes (dependency of devtools).


Note that by installing qcbsRworkshops a set of packages will be installed, including xaringan. Once installed, load it just as you would do for any package.


Note that, as any other R package, the functions of the package qcbsRworkshops are documented. Therefore, if you ever need more details about a specific function, just use the question mark, e.g. ?download_workshops. Download a workshop

Once the package loaded, you can quickly download a package with download_workshops(), you simply need to use the identifier (id) of the desired workshop (1 for the first workshop, 2 for the second and so forth).

download_workshops(id = 1)

This actually downloads a zip file from GitHub that includes the sources files of the workshop, so the English and the French version of the workshop. By default, the files will be extracted in the working directory. This can be changed by setting path to the desired path. Note that download_workshops() also supports vectors of identifiers, for instance, the following code will download all workshops :

download_workshops(id = 1:10) Build a workshop

By default, build_workshops() looks for R Markdown source files in a given path (argument path, set to the current working directory by default) and build the corresponding xaringan presentation(s) (i.e. the HTML slides). For instance, once I have downloaded the first, I can directly build the English and the French HTML presentations like so:

download_workshops(id = 1)
# or 
build_workshops(path = ".")  # equivalent as this is the default value of path

Importantly enough, build_workshops() will download all the packages required for the workshop. To build only one version of the workshop, lang needs to be set to either “en” or “fr”.

# build English version only
build_workshops(lang = "en")
# build French version only
build_workshops(lang = "fr")

This function also has several important feature. First, it can build the pdf version (this required the installation of Chromium or Google Chrome it not already installed):

# this builds both version of the workshop in HTML and pdf 
build_workshops(pdf = TRUE)

Second, it can extract the R code from the Markdown source file.

# build both version of the workshop in HTML and pdf +  extract the R code
build_workshops(pdf = TRUE, script = TRUE)

Third, it can update the CSS template

# update CSS template + build both versions in HTML and pdf + extract the code and 
build_workshops(pdf = TRUE, script = TRUE, update_template = TRUE)

Finally, it can call download_workshops() to download the package:

# download workshop #1 + update CSS template + build both versions in HTML and pdf + extract the code and update template
build_workshops(id =1, download = TRUE, pdf = TRUE, script = TRUE,  update_template = TRUE) Presenter email

mail_workshop() writes the email to be sent two weeks before the workshop, for instance:

# Mail for workshop #7
mail_workshop(7, pres_name = "Kevin Cazelles", lang = "both", 
      details_fr = "à l'UdeM, salle A-2553, campus MIL, le vendredi 28 Février 2020 de 13h à 17h", 
      details_en = "at the UdeM, MIL campus, room A-2553, on Friday February
    28th 2020, 1pm-5pm" 

will create a HTML version of the email that will pop up in your web browser that you can copy and paste. Functions for workshop developers

The main function is obviously build_workshops() as it builds the workshop (see above). That being said, there are other functions worth mentioning.

First it is often useful to clean up the (e.g., clean the cache), this is possible with clean_workshops(), for instance assuming workshop 1 was built in my current working directory, the cache can be cleaned like so:

clean_workshops(files = FALSE, cache = TRUE)

Second, it is possible to update the CSS template without rendering any presentation using update_template(). Similarly, it is possible to extract the R code without rendering a presentation using extract_Rcode_workshop().

Third, the first two slides (after the title slide) have now been standardized: it includes various hyperlinks (GitHub repository, wiki, PDF version, R script), and the list of package required (see for instance Those two slides can be generated using first_slides():

# the generate the first slides for the workshop 2 and copy the text to the clipboard
first_slides(2, c("dplyr", "tidyr"), clip = TRUE) 

Last, the Travis file used for the deployment (see below) can be added with use_travis(). Deployment

Currently, we are using Travis CI to check that the package built seamlessly and also to deploy the presentations (English and French in HTML and PDF with the R code). We create all the files needed with the following line (see our Travis file with use_travis()):

  - Rscript -e "qcbsRworkshops::build_workshops(update_template = TRUE, pdf = TRUE, script = TRUE)"

and they are all stored in the folder public

  - mkdir public
  - cp public
  - cp -r workshop* public/

which is the one that will be used by Travis that will create a commit and push on the branch master of the repository that GitHub Pages turn into a website.

  provider: pages
  token: $GH_TOKEN
  strategy: git 
  skip_cleanup: true
  keep_history: false
  target_branch: master
  local_dir: public
    branch: dev Contributing to the package

The qcbsRworkshops R package is released with a Contributor Code of Coduct. By contributing to this project, you agree to abide by its terms.

Do not hesitate to report issues (could be a feature request, a bug, a typo, …) and create pull request, but before doing so, first check the contributing guidelines.