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RackR - Use R in your Rack stack

RackR is a Rack middleware which integrates R into a Rack based web application (like Rails). With RackR in place displaying graphs is as simple as rendering R code into your output. E.g.

<script type='text/r'>

RackR will pick this up on its way out and replace it with an empty container and some JavaScript code to perform an immediate async request for processing the R code.

RackR will answer to this reqyest with processing the R code in a temp directory, then searching this directory for displayable content and finally return the html code for display. So the example above will eventually turn into something like this.

 <img src='/path/to/sinus.png' />
   content of Rout file (stdout of R)

Almost everything can conveniently be configured in a YAML file. RackR will create a sample config file in config/rack-r.yml or any other path given.

Install in Rails

Put the following in your Gemfile and run bundle install or let Guard kick in.

gem 'rack-r', :require => 'rack_r'

In Rails 3.2 you will have to put this somewhere

require 'rack_r/railtie'

Using RackR outside of Rails

require 'rack_r/middleware'
use RackR::Middleware, :config => 'path/to/config/rack-r.yml'


These instructions are for Debian Squeeze. Install R.

apt-get install r-base r-cran-dbi

Alternatively you can use the rodbc package.

apt-get install r-cran-rodbc 

The RackR-Header is a pice of R code that gets prepended to every R script which is processed by RackR. Idealy it will read you database config and provide a seperate connection to your database via a DBI compatible con object.

If you want RackR to automatically connect R script to yoyr Rails database it is a good idea to install Jeremy Stephens' YAML for R.

R CMD INSTALL yaml_2.1.4.tar.gz


R CMD INSTALL RSQLite_0.11.1.tar.gz


apt-get install r-cran-rmysql

The whole RackR-Header is a work in progress, if you have to adjust it to your database config, please consider to contribute your addition.

Trouble shooting

Browse to /rack-r/ (including the trailing slash!) to see if RackR is working. If so it should respond with "RackR OK."

Patches and the like

If you run into bugs, have suggestions or patches feel free to drop me a line.


RackR is released under MIT License, see LICENSE.

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