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Shiny LOLAweb for Docker

The databio/lolaweb container is based on the databio/shinybase container, which you can find in its github repository or on dockerhub.

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 databio/lolaweb

The image itself is hosted at dockerhub:

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 LREF='/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. See the LOLAweb documentation for downloading reference data.


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.

Run the LOLAweb container locally with reference data:

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 databio/lolaweb:dev. This will retrieve the dev tagged image from dockerhub. 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.