Assertive Programming for R Analysis Pipelines

Provides functionality to assert conditions that have to be met so that errors in data used in analysis pipelines can fail quickly. Similar to 'stopifnot()' but more powerful, friendly, and easier for use in pipelines.


The assertr package supplies a suite of functions designed to verify assumptions about data early in an analysis pipeline so that data errors are spotted early and can be addressed quickly.

This package does not need to be used with the magrittr/dplyr piping mechanism but the examples in this README use them for clarity.

You can install the latest version on CRAN like this

install.packages("assertr")

or you can install the bleeding-edge development version like this:

    install.packages("devtools")
    devtools::install_github("ropenscilabs/assertr")

This package offers five assertion functions, assert, verify, insist, assert_rows, and insist_rows, that are designed to be used shortly after data-loading in an analysis pipeline...

Let’s say, for example, that the R’s built-in car dataset, mtcars, was not built-in but rather procured from an external source that was known for making errors in data entry or coding. Pretend we wanted to find the average miles per gallon for each number of engine cylinders. We might want to first, confirm

  • that the dataset contains more than 10 observations
  • that the column for 'miles per gallon' (mpg) is a positive number
  • that the column for ‘miles per gallon’ (mpg) does not contain a datum that is outside 4 standard deviations from its mean, and
  • that the am and vs columns (automatic/manual and v/straight engine, respectively) contain 0s and 1s only
  • each row contains at most 2 NAs
  • each row's mahalanobis distance is within 10 median absolute deviations of all the distances (for outlier detection)

This could be written (in order) using assertr like this:

    mtcars %>%
      verify(nrow(.) > 10) %>%
      verify(mpg > 0) %>%
      insist(within_n_sds(4), mpg) %>%
      assert(in_set(0,1), am, vs) %>%
      assert_rows(num_row_NAs, within_bounds(0,2), everything()) %>%
      insist_rows(maha_dist, within_n_mads(10), everything()) %>%
      group_by(cyl) %>%
      summarise(avg.mpg=mean(mpg))

If any of these assertions were violated, an error would have been raised and the pipeline would have been terminated early.

  • verify - takes a data frame (its first argument is provided by the %>% operator above), and a logical (boolean) expression. Then, verify evaluates that expression using the scope of the provided data frame. If any of the logical values of the expression's result are FALSE, verify will raise an error that terminates any further processing of the pipeline.

  • assert - takes a data frame, a predicate function, and an arbitrary number of columns to apply the predicate function to. The predicate function (a function that returns a logical/boolean value) is then applied to every element of the columns selected, and will raise an error if it finds any violations. Internally, the assert function uses dplyr's select function to extract the columns to test the predicate function on.

  • insist - takes a data frame, a predicate-generating function, and an arbitrary number of columns. For each column, the the predicate-generating function is applied, returning a predicate. The predicate is then applied to every element of the columns selected, and will raise an error if it finds any violations. The reason for using a predicate-generating function to return a predicate to use against each value in each of the selected rows is so that, for example, bounds can be dynamically generated based on what the data look like; this the only way to, say, create bounds that check if each datum is within x z-scores, since the standard deviation isn't known a priori. Internally, the insist function uses dplyr's select function to extract the columns to test the predicate function on.

  • assert_rows - takes a data frame, a row reduction function, a predicate function, and an arbitrary number of columns to apply the predicate function to. The row reduction function is applied to the data frame, and returns a value for each row. The predicate function is then applied to every element of vector returned from the row reduction function, and will raise an error if it finds any violations. This functionality is useful, for example, in conjunction with the num_row_NAs() function to ensure that there is below a certain number of missing values in each row. Internally, the assert_rows function uses dplyr'sselect function to extract the columns to test the predicate function on.

  • insist_rows - takes a data frame, a row reduction function, a predicate-generating function, and an arbitrary number of columns to apply the predicate function to. The row reduction function is applied to the data frame, and returns a value for each row. The predicate-generating function is then applied to the vector returned from the row reduction function and the resultant predicate is applied to each element of that vector. It will raise an error if it finds any violations. This functionality is useful, for example, in conjunction with the maha_dist() function to ensure that there are no flagrant outliers. Internally, the assert_rows function uses dplyr'sselect function to extract the columns to test the predicate function on.

assertr also offers three (so far) predicate functions designed to be used with the assert and assert_rows functions:

  • not_na - that checks if an element is not NA
  • within_bounds - that returns a predicate function that checks if a numeric value falls within the bounds supplied, and
  • in_set - that returns a predicate function that checks if an element is a member of the set supplied.

and predicate generators designed to be used with the insist and insist_rows functions:

  • within_n_sds - used to dynamically create bounds to check vector elements with based on standard z-scores
  • within_n_mads - better method for dynamically creating bounds to check vector elements with based on 'robust' z-scores (using median absolute deviation)

and the following row reduction functions designed to be used with assert_rows and insist_rows:

  • num_row_NAs - counts number of missing values in each row
  • maha_dist - computes the mahalanobis distance of each row (for outlier detection). It will coerce categorical variables into numerics if it needs to.

Finally, each assertion function has a counterpart that using standard evaluation. The counterpart functions are postfixed by "_" (an underscore).

For more info, check out the assertr vignette

Or read it here

News

assertr 1.0.0

  • added row reduction functions like mahalanobis distnace

  • added assert_rows and insist_rows assert verbs

  • bug fixes

assertr 0.5.7

  • added within_n_mads predicate generator

assertr 0.5.5

  • added support for parameterized error functions

assertr 0.5

  • improved performance by adding support for vectorized predicates
  • counts number of violations instead of short circuiting

assertr 0.4.9

  • provided standard evaluation versions of assert and insist

assertr 0.4.2

  • not_na and within_bounds are now vectorized and tagged

assertr 0.4.1

  • fixed automated tests to success with R 3.0.3

assertr 0.4

  • added insist and within_n_sds functions and updated vignette and documentations

assertr 0.2

  • initial release

Reference manual

It appears you don't have a PDF plugin for this browser. You can click here to download the reference manual.

install.packages("assertr")

2.0.2.2 by Tony Fischetti, 3 months ago


https://github.com/ropensci/assertr


Report a bug at https://github.com/ropensci/assertr/issues


Browse source code at https://github.com/cran/assertr


Authors: Tony Fischetti [aut, cre]


Documentation:   PDF Manual  


MIT + file LICENSE license


Imports dplyr, MASS, lazyeval, stats, utils

Suggests knitr, testthat, magrittr


See at CRAN