24 Non-Software Packages

Most packages contributed by users are software packages. However, there are instances where other package types are submitted. The following sections will go into specifics we look for in each of the non-software type packages.

24.1 Annotation and Experiment data packages

Annotation packages are database-like packages that provide information linking identifies (e.g., Entrez gene names or Affymetrix probe ids) to other information (e.g., chromosomal location, Gene Ontology category).

Experiment data packages provide data sets that are used, often by software packages, to illustrate particular analyses. These packages contain curated data from an experiment, teaching course or publication and in most cases contain a single data set.

We look for similar requirements as software packages, but most importantly is proper documentation for the data included within the package. Traditional Annotation and Experiment packages are not ideal; AnnotationHub and ExperimentHub interfaces and packages are desirable.

24.2 Annotation/Experiment Hub packages

These light weight packages are related to resources added to AnnotationHub or ExperimentHub. The package should minimally contain the resource metadata, man pages describing the resources, and a vignette. It may also contain supporting R function the author wants to provide. These packages are similar to the above Annotation or Experiment data packages except the data is stored in AWS S3 buckets or publicly accessibly sites instead of in the package itself.

There is more information about creating a hub packages as well as the contents of on in the Creating a Hub Package vignette within the HubPub Bioconductor package.

24.3 Workflow packages

Workflow packages contain vignettes that describe a bioinformatics workflow that involves multiple Bioconductor packages. These vignettes are usually more extensive than the vignettes that accompany software packages. These packages do not need man/ or R/ directories nor a data/ directory as ideally workflows make use of existing data in a Bioconductor package.

Existing Workflows

Workflow vignettes may deal with larger data sets and/or be more computationally intensive than typical Bioconductor package vignettes. For this reason, the automated builder that produces these vignettes does not have a time limit (in contrast to the Bioconductor package building system which will time out if package building takes too long). It is expected the majority of vignette code chunks are evaluated.

24.3.1 How do I write and submit a workflow vignette?

  • Write a package with the same name as the workflow. The workflow vignette written in Markdown, using the rmarkdown package should be included in the vignette directory. You may include more than one vignette but please use useful identifying names.

  • The package does not need man/ or R/ directories nor a data/ directory as ideally workflows make use of existing data in a Bioconductor repository or on the web; the workflow package itself should not contain large data files.

  • In the DESCRIPTION file, include the line “BiocType: Workflow.” Please also include a detailed Description field in the DESCRIPTION file. The DESCRIPTION file should contain biocViews which should be from the Workflow branch. If you think a new term is relevant please reach out to .

  • Submit the package to the GitHub submission tracker for a formal review. Please also indicate in the tracker issue that this package is a workflow.

  • Workflows are git version controlled. Once the package is accepted it will be added to our git repository at and instructions will be sent for gaining access for maintainence.

24.3.2 Consistent formatting

  • In an effort to standardize the workflow vignette format, it is strongly encouraged to use either BiocStyle for formatting or utilize BiocWorkflowTools. The following header shows how to use BiocStyle in the vignette:

    output:
        BiocStyle::html_document
  • The following should also be include

    - author affiliations
    - a date representing when the workflow vignette has been modified
  • The first section should have some versioning information. The R version, Bioconductor version, and package version should be visible. The following is an example of how this could be achieved:

    <p>
    **R version**: R Under development (unstable) (2022-01-07 r81454)
    <br />
    **Bioconductor version**: 3.15
    <br />
    **Package**: 1.19.0
    <\p>
  • An example start to a workflow vignette:

The following is taken as an example header from the variants workflow package:

    
– – –
title: Annotating Genomic Variants
author: 
–name: Valerie Obenchain
  affiliation: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., P.O. Box 19024, Seattle, WA, USA 98109–1024
date: 11 April 2018
vignette: >
  %\VignetteIndexEntry{Annotating Genomic Variants}
  %\VignetteEngine{knitr::rmarkdown}
output: 
    BiocStyle::html_document
– – –


# Version Info
```{r, echo=FALSE, results="hide", warning=FALSE}
suppressPackageStartupMessages({library('variants')})
```
<p>
**R version**: `r R.version.string`
<br />
**Bioconductor version**: `r BiocInstaller::biocVersion()`
<br />
**Package version**: `r packageVersion("variants")`
</p>


    

24.3.3 Tidying package loading output

Most workflows load a number of packages and you do not want the output of loading those packages to clutter your workflow document. Here’s how you would solve this in markdown; you can do something similar in Latex.

First, set up a code chunk that is evaluated but not echoed, and whose results are hidden. We also set warning=FALSE to be sure that no output from this chunk ends up in the document:

```{r, echo=FALSE, results="hide", warning=FALSE}
suppressPackageStartupMessages({
library(GenomicRanges)
library(GenomicAlignments)
library(Biostrings)
library(Rsamtools)
library(ShortRead)
library(BiocParallel)
library(rtracklayer)
library(VariantAnnotation)
library(AnnotationHub)
library(BSgenome.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19)
library(RNAseqData.HNRNPC.bam.chr14)
})
```

Then you can set up another code chunk that is echoed, which has almost the same contents. The second invocation of library() will not produce any output since the package has already been loaded:

```{r}
library(GenomicRanges)
library(GenomicAlignments)
library(Biostrings)
library(Rsamtools)
library(ShortRead)
library(BiocParallel)
library(rtracklayer)
library(VariantAnnotation)
library(AnnotationHub)
library(BSgenome.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19)
library(RNAseqData.HNRNPC.bam.chr14)
```

24.3.4 Citations

To manage citations in your workflow document, specify the bibliography file in the document metadata header.

bibliography: references.bib

You can then use citation keys in the form of [@label] to cite an entry with an identifier “label.”

Normally, you will want to end your document with a section header “References” or similar, after which the bibliography will be appended.

For more details see the rmarkdown documentation.