Autoquiz: A Wrapper to Run Quizme from Terminal

Friday, Dec 28, 2018

Quizme is an R package that allows you to create a personalized quiz repository and enables you to learn any material efficiently. Autoquiz is a simple wrapper script that allows you to run quizme directly from the terminal window. Here I discuss the advantages of running the tool from terminal as well as describe the implementation.

Benefits of Running Quizme from Command Line

While quizme is quite powerful, integrating it to your daily workflow can be a bit of a challenge. This is mainly because although there are just a few simple functions you need to remember, these are repeated as many times as the number of questions you are practicing. Autoquiz addresses this challenge with the following advantages:

Run from terminal: I think this is the biggest advantage of autoquiz. This essentially separates R and Quizme from each other. You can run quizme in a separate terminal window, thus enabling you to learn any material without having any knowledge of R!

Single key responses: All the user functions available in quizme can be called now with a single key, which enables the tool to get out of your way. For example, to call hit() function as a response that you know the answer, you simply type h followed by return.

Command menu visible at prompt: You do not have to remember even the single letter function calls. These are available right at the command prompt.

Fully automated: The quizzing process itself is automated; all you need to do is launch the tool using autoquiz at the terminal. Your most typical responses will be a) yes reponse (h)it, no respnse (m)iss or adding a new question using (a)dd. It will keep on posing new questions automatically until all due questions are completed.

Cloud synchronization: This allows you to work on different machines without loosing the progress of your work. I have set it to sync with google cloud, but this can be changed to any other service if needed (Amazon, Dropbox etc) since it uses rclone for this functionality.


Key enabler for autoquiz was to launch the R script in interactive mode since we want to allow user to continuously interact with the script. This is done by reading the R_PROFILE_USER environment variable from a bash script as described in this post by Jon Gjengset.

Following line reads the bash script to run R in interactive mode:


This is followed by loading of quizme library. Then the .quizme repository containing quiz files is synced with google cloud using:

system('rclone sync gcloud:quizme ~/.quizme')

Then the local .quizme repository is read into R environment using quizme() function. After this, readline and switch are used to simplyfy the function calls:

input <- 'z' # dummy input to force into while loop
while (input != 'b') {
    if (input == 'h' | input == 'm' | input == 'z') {
    input <- readline(prompt = '(h)it (m)iss (t)ell (b)ye (a)dd (c)hange (s)tatus (r)epeat (w)eek: ')
    input <- as.character(input)
           h = hit(),
           m = miss(),
           t = tell(),
           a = addq(),
           c = changeq(),
           s = show_status(),
           r = ask(),
           w = week_ahead(),
           dl = delete_last())

If there are no more due questions in the current session, (b)ye is called automatically. (b)ye can also be called at any time during the quiz. Call to bye will update the local .quizme repository. Finally rclone is called again to update the google cloud quizme directory with the local .quizme repository:

system('rclone sync ~/.quizme gcloud:quizme')

Learning More about Quizme and Autoquiz