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An interactive Shiny web application for genomic interval enrichment analysis using LOLA.

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LOLAweb is a web server and interactive results viewer for enrichment of overlap between a query region set (a bed file) and a database of region sets. It provides an interactive result explorer to visualize the highest ranked enrichments from the database. You can access the web server at

This repository contain the shiny app source code and Docker implementation for LOLAweb.

Shiny app

LOLAweb is implemented as an interactive Shiny app. You can run this app locally by following the instructions in the appfolder.


The container is based on the container, which you can find in its GitHub repository or in the GitHub Container Registry.

build the container image yourself

  1. Clone this repository
  2. Build locally using Docker. Run this command from the same directory as the Dockerfile.

docker build --no-cache -t lolaweb .

Or pull the container image:

docker pull

The container image itself is hosted in the GitHub Container Registry:

Container volumes and reference data

LOLAweb needs access to a few folders where it can store results or logs, or access necessary files like the database. To handle this, we've set up the app to look for two shell environment variables:

  • $LWREF, for LOLAweb reference data, which may be read-only
  • $LWLOCAL, where local results can be written.

To run the LOLAweb container (locally or on a server), you need to set these environment variables (for example, in your .bashrc or .profile file. These variables will be injected into the container when it is run.

For example, set these variables to two different paths if you like. Or if you keep all five subfolders together in the same path, set these variables to the same value.

# Example locations. Set to match your environment
export LWREF='/home/subdir/lola/'
export LWLOCAL='/var/things/loladata/'

LOLAweb will look at the value in $LWREF for the reference data. This folder should have subfolders called databases, universes, and examples. In each of these subfolders are another layer of subfolders for genome assemblies

LOLAweb looks for $LWLOCAL to have two subfolders: cache, and shinylogs. This is where the app will write results and log files. If running LOLAweb on a server, be sure these directories are writeable by the Docker process.

The following instructions demonstrat how to download and configure the LOLAweb data directories for a minimal example using hg19 reference data:

## assign env vars for data path
## NOTE: must include trailing /

## change reference data dir

## create dir for databases
mkdir -p databases
## create examples and universe dir
## NOTE: these must include subdirs named corresponding to appropriate ref genome
mkdir -p examples/hg19
mkdir -p universes/hg19

## download example universe and user set
curl | tar xvz

## move example universe and user set files to hg19 dir
mv lola_vignette_data/activeDHS_universe.bed universes/hg19/.
mv lola_vignette_data/setB_100.bed examples/hg19/.

## clean up
rm -rf lola_vignette_data

## download databases
curl | tar xvz
curl | tar xvz

## move databases to appropriate spots
mv scratch/ns5bc/resources/regions/LOLACore databases/Core
mv scratch/ns5bc/resources/regions/LOLAExt databases/Extended

## clean up
rm -rf scratch

## change ot local data dir

## create placeholder dirs for cache and shinylog
mkdir -p cache
mkdir -p shinylog

Run the LOLAweb container locally with reference data:

## run the docker image
## NOTE: this run command uses image pulled from
docker run -d \
  -p 80:80 \
  --volume ${LWLOCAL}:${LWLOCAL} \
  --volume ${LWREF}:${LWREF} \
  --volume ${LWLOCAL}/shinylog:/var/log/shiny-server \

Open a browser to:


Running a dev container

You could also run the dev version of the container by pulling This will retrieve the dev tagged image from the GitHub Container Registry. Just add :dev to the container name at the end of the docker run command above.

Running multiple LOLAweb containers simultaneously with Docker Swarm

For the typical use case of an individual user, a single running container will suffice. But if you need to set up an enterprise-level LOLAweb server that can handle concurrent users, we've also made that easy by using Docker Swarm. This is how we run the main LOLAweb servers, and you could do the same thing if you want your own local implementation. Docker Swarm is a technique for running multiple instances of the same container. Read more about how to set up your own swarm.


The LOLAweb Docker implementation includes a mechanism to write Shiny Server logs to $LWLOCAL/shinylog. These log files may be useful when troubleshooting problems with running LOLAweb via Docker. They include errors with R processing as well as information as to whether the Shiny Server process was killed due to resource limitations (i.e., not enough RAM allocated to Docker daemon).

For additional support with the LOLAweb Docker implementation, please file a GitHub issue.