Creating, optimizing and synching R shiny apps using ConnectR

Building, maintaining, and improving interactive R shiny apps has never been easier. YakData’s ConnectR seamlessly combines the best-in-class R editor and R web app server with Secure FTP publishing and synchronization.

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Leverage the most popular IDE for R

YakData ConnectR Editor

Ready to create a new R shiny app? The ConnectR Editor is a secured version of the most popular open-source IDE for R, so you’re probably familiar with how it works. There also are many online resources for learning the details. If you have an existing app that you’d like to edit, you can do that here too.

To set you up for success, more than 2000 R packages are pre-installed for the ConnectR R environment. In the screenshot above, a search for “shiny” results in a list of the most popular R web app packages, all of which are compatible with ConnectR.

The ubiquitous app.R file

Open a ConnectR app in YakData ConnectR

For simplicity, let’s focus on opening and reviewing an R shiny app that’s already published to ConnectR. The R file for this app is located in the YakData Launch Demo file, titled “app.R”.

The path to this file shows that this R shiny app is published to a public folder. Public folders on ConnectR allow access to anyone with a web link, whether or not they have an account.

Code behind the scenes

An R web app based on the shiny package from CRAN

Opening the app.R file lets you see how this R shiny app is built. In this example, the R code window displays important comments at the top followed by many R library statements. As you scroll down, you’ll see hundreds of lines of R code which powers the app.

The ConnectR Editor includes many features to maximize your productivity. A few highlights: code completion, syntax highlighting, executing R code interactively, inspecting functions, interactive web app execution and interactive package help.

Inspect and improve the data and app

ConnectR mobile-friendly forecaster app

Running your R shiny app allows you to verify that the analysis and display are appropriate for the dataset. You can also ensure that the app functions as expected for the best user experience. Since you are interactively running the app in the same environment as the web app server, you can be confident that your users will see what you see.

A mobile R shiny app on YakData brightRserver.
A mobile R shiny app on YakData ConnectR. Seamlessly works across screen sizes.

The screenshot shows how clean and simple the final R shiny app can appear. Even users who are not technically skilled can easily sort and filter the data and page through the various tabs at the bottom of the screen.  View and interact with the YakData ConnectR mobile-friendly forecaster app live in the gallery.

Synch data and R shiny apps via SFTP

Use Secure FTP to publish data, ConnectR apps and supporting files to ConnectR

Using shell scripts or your choice of preferred Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) program, you can synch content from your computer to your ConnectR and vice-versa. Here, Filezilla is used to upload data for the YakData Launch Demo from the desktop to the ConnectR.

ConnectR hosted R shiny apps achieve high performance for several reasons including the fact that file-based data sources are located on the same server as the apps. Of course, you can also use numerous remote data sources such as Amazon S3, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Google Analytics.


Interested in all the user roles involved in creating, sharing and utilizing ConnectR web apps? Check out the next post.

Note: YakData ConnectR was previously named YakData brightRserver. Images in this article may show the previous name.

About the author
Stephen McDaniel is Co-Founder and Principal Data Scientist at YakData.


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