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Shiny apps in background jobs

Shiny apps can be run in local background jobs. This promotes a workflow of running the app in the background, making changes to the source code in the original R session, and checking the app to see the updated changes.

Starting the app

Shiny applications start with a call to shiny::runApp(). In order to run an app in the background, you can create a helper script like shiny-run.R that calls shiny::runApp(). You can start a background job by clicking on the Jobs pane and then Start Local Job:

For Shiny applications, all of the default job options work well.

Viewing the app

Once the job is started, the Jobs pane will show the URL that can be used to access the application. On buth RStudio desktop and RStudio Server, you can use rstudioapi::viewer() with the URL of the application to open the application in the RStudio Viewer pane.

If you would like to view the app in an external browser window, with RStudio desktop you can simply copy and paste the app URL into a browser. On RStudio Server, you can use rstudioapi::translateLocalUrl(<URL>, absolute = TRUE) and copy and paste the resulting URL into a browser window.

Editing the app

Once the application is opened in the Viewer pane, you can make changes to the application source code in the interactive R session and the app will automatically refresh with the changes. This is happens by setting the shiny.autoreload option to TRUE, which is done in shiny-run.R.

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