Building Custom ergm Terms with RStudio

RStudio is an integrated development environment (IDE) for R; it makes creating and modifying packages in R incredibly easy. Mac user instructions.

Prerequisites for building R packages

These tools are required for any development for R packages. Download the latest version of Rtools (Rtools30.exe) at

Run the installer, using default options. Make sure the "Edit the system PATH" box is checked:

Then click "Next" for the other setup prompts.

The MikTeX LaTeX distribution is not necessary here, though you may want to have it for building other packages.

Install Rstudio

Get the latest versions of R (requires R version > 3.0) and Rstudio.

Install packages

Get the latest versions of the required packages from CRAN:

network (>= 1.7-1), ergm (>= 3.1-0), statnet.common (>= 3.1-0)

Enter this into R or RStudio console:

install.packages(c('network', 'ergm', 'statnet.common'))

If you are prompted to install into a personal library, click OK.

You do not need to install ergm.userterms yet!

Get ergm.userterms source

Download the source code for ergm.userterms from CRAN. The file you need is the package source.

Please note that you do not at any point need to install the ergm.userterms package binaries using the install.packages command; indeed, doing so in the future may override any work you have put into building terms in your local copy.

Extract the source files to your preferred working directory; this should not be the same as your R library directory. On Windows, you may need an application like 7-zip to open the file. Make sure you are extracting the source code folder called "ergm.userterms" inside the .tar file:

New project

Open Rstudio.

Project menu → Create Project→ Existing Directory → Browse →

Navigate to where you saved the source code (the folder called "ergm.userterms", see picture below) → Select Folder → Create Project

The new project should be open and ready for coding. When doing so, the three files that you will need to open and edit can be found at:

Files pane → R → InitErgmTerm.user.R

Files pane → src → changestats.users.c

Files pane → src → changestats.users.h

Coding your own custom ERGM term

If you are following these instructions in preparation for a statnet workshop, you can close everything and stop here; we will pick up from this point in the workshop. If you are learning on your own, we recommend following along with the JSS paper as a tutorial. If doing the latter, you will not need to follow the instructions in Section A3 if you are using RStudio; instead, whenever you want to build your version of the ergm.userterms package, simply click on:

Build menu → Build & Reload

All done!

Last modified 6 years ago Last modified on 07/18/13 12:40:19