R Cloud Services

January 18, 2012
By

(This article was first published on Rrasch, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Ever since R was born (evoked?) geeks have been trying to get it to talk HTML. A list of web interfaces for R is updated on CRAN here. Aims are various. Some seek to replace R with a traditional GUI. Others are more ambitious and open up a glimpse of an architecture that provides live analysis of ever changing data…

Perhaps the most exciting of the architectures is Rook a R web service that takes advantage of the built in web server in R.

function(env){
  body = paste("<h1>Hello World! This is Rook",env$rook.version,".</h1>")
  list(
  status = 200L,
  headers = list(
  "Content-Type" = "text/html"
  ),
  body = body
  )
}

setRefClass(
  "HelloWorld",
  methods = list(
  call = function(env){
  list(
    status = 200L,
    headers = list(
    "Content-Type" = "text/html"
    ),
    body = paste("<h1>Hello World! This is Rook",env$rook.version,".</h1>")
    )
  }
  )
)

Cool!

While I love R, however, there are some things that I’m really not sure it should be doing everything. Making toast and being a web server two of them. The joy of django and Ruby is that they do stuff for you like look after cross site validation forgery requests. I’m a whizz with R, but I wouldn’t know where to start with those ones…

Anyhow, if the architecture exists where are the applications?

Over at Cambridge we have the brilliant Concerto which makes writing an adaptive test using catR a breeze. It really is worth a go. They will even host a demo account for you.

Elsewhere Jeroen Ooms cuts a lonely figure in R web services. Linear models and ggplots in web interfaces. Check them out here and how he did it here.

But where are the applications reaching critical mass? Where is the Ruby, django R integration work going on?

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on his blog: Rrasch.

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