Shiny in Production 2024: Workshops

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Shiny in Production is returning to the Catalyst, Newcastle upon Tyne, for its third instalment this October. We’ve expanded the itinerary this year, with four workshops to choose from as well as a day of talks, with speakers soon to be announced. Full details of the workshop are below, and you can head over to the conference website to register. Join us for an immersive experience tailored for both beginners and advanced users of Shiny and other web-based R packages.

The first day of the conference (Wednesday 9th October), will consist of the four parallel workshops, followed by a drinks reception in the evening, a great opportunity for networking and debriefing from the day’s learning.

Level up your plots: Tips, tricks and resources for crafting compelling visualisations – Cara Thompson

Data visualisations are a great asset in getting people talking about your findings. From making the patterns in the data easy to see, to making a big visual statement and keeping people talking beyond the end of your presentation, transforming your plots from functional to aesthetically pleasing and visually compelling is about so much more than making things pretty.

In this workshop, we’ll explore how we can make the most of colours, different plot types, text, and interactivity to maximise the impact of our visualisations. Here’s where we’re looking to boost your dataviz confidence:

  • crafting intuitive dataviz-friendly colour palettes without compromising on accessibility (or creativity!)
  • selecting the right type of dataviz for your data and your story
  • making the most of typography to optimise text hierarchy and readability
  • using annotations wisely to both help interpretation and declutter the visualisations
  • turning your ggplot into an interactive plot for additional data exploration
  • packaging up your decisions, easy reuse across plots (and projects!)

This is intended as a hands-on workshop, so bring along a laptop, a plot you’re working on or a research question, and some data. Throughout the workshop, I will highlight free resources for each of these aspects of dataviz development. The aim is for you to leave with a plot that you’d be happy to publish, and with some resources you can continue to build on.

About the speaker

Photo of Cara Thompson

Cara is a freelance data consultant with an academic background, specialising in dataviz and in “enhanced” reproducible outputs. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is passionate about maximising the impact of other people’s expertise.

Building Responsive Shiny Applications – Pedro Silva

The diverse range of devices used for modern web browsing presents challenges when designing an application that works well for all users. Enter responsive design: the practice of building fluid web pages that “work” on huge 4k and 5k monitors, tiny smartphones and all things in between. This course will look at responsive design principles and best practices for Shiny developers, covering page layout, easy-to-add widgets and some simple CSS tricks for when built-in solutions don’t quite cut it.

By the end of the workshop, participants will…

  • know what responsive web design is
  • know how to use flexible grids to adjust page layout for mobile, tablet and desktop
  • be able to use HTML5 elements and Shiny Widgets to use limited space efficiently and effectively
  • know how to add CSS and JavaScript snippets to an app for finer customisations
  • understand how to test Shiny apps on various screen sizes from desktop to mobile

About the speaker

Photo of Pedro Silva

Pedro is a full stack developer with over 15 years of experience in the field, loves front-end and R Shiny development, and is a moonlight practitioner of JavaScript dark arts.

Asynchronous Shiny – Russ Hyde

Imagine you couldn’t register to attend “Shiny in Production” if someone else was in the process of registering, and you had to wait until they had finished before you could click to “Buy tickets on EventBrite”. This kind of “blocking” shouldn’t happen in modern web applications but is surprisingly common in Shiny applications. It happens because a single R process handles all of the server-side processing for multiple users—one long-running task can prevent any other task from proceeding, hampering interactivity both between and within user-sessions.

Fortunately, Shiny’s support for asynchronous programming can alleviate this problem. In the asynchronous approach, you start tasks running without having to wait for them to complete. But, this requires a change in mindset for many programmers and there are a few concepts to understand before you can take advantage of this approach. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for this workshop!

By the end of the workshop, participants will…

  • understand how within-session and between-session blocking can arise in a Shiny app
  • understand the basics of asynchronous computation
  • solve between-session blocking with future/promise
  • solve blocking the modern way, with ExtendedTask

About the speaker

Photo of Russ Hyde

Russ has previously worked in molecular biology and bioinformatics. He holds a PhD in Molecular Physiology and MSc in Mathematics. Russ is an author of several CRAN packages and mentor on the R-for-data-science community.

Building Apps for Humans – Clarissa Barratt

Frameworks like Shiny and Dash can help those with a scientific or mathematical background communicate their research in a way that’s interactive and engaging. But while these tools can make constructing a graphical user interface quicker and easier, there’s no guarantee that the end product is going to be optimised for human use.

This workshop is aimed at scientists (and the curious) that are interested in learning some basics of human-computer interaction and gaining an understanding for how science itself can assist with the development of better user interfaces that, in turn, lead to improved user experiences.

By the end of the workshop, participants will…

  • understand the benefits that come from designing applications with the human mind in mind
  • know how the layout, colour, size and motion of interface and graphical components can be used to enhance (or detract from) a user’s experience
  • understand the importance of providing users with feedback so they can tell both whether their actions have been successful and what the current state of the application is
  • be able to identify some common problems found in web applications

About the speaker

Photo of Clarissa Barratt

While working towards her PhD in applied mathematics Clarissa discovered her love of science communications. Her goal is to make data science accessible to everyone, and to encourage people to engage with the goings on at Jumping Rivers.

What’s next?

Early bird tickets for the conference are still available till the end of July, so don’t miss out! The full line up of speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. Still not convinced? Head over to our YouTube channel to take a look at lineups from previous years to see what we have in store.

For updates and revisions to this article, see the original post

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