Commit 79768da5 authored by Lara Ianov's avatar Lara Ianov
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Part 1 readme,Dockerfile, sample data added

parent 26693172
# OS generated file and R-related files.
FROM rocker/rstudio:3.6.3
RUN mkdir /home/rstudio/data_plots
# location for mounting
RUN mkdir /home/rstudio/data_mount
COPY ./ggplot2_example.R /home/rstudio/data_plots
# here we add data in when we write the image as opposed to mounting
COPY ./data_for_dockerfile /home/rstudio/data_plots
RUN R -e 'install.packages("ggplot2")'
# Intro_Docker_RStudio_Part1
# Using Docker with R - Introduction
## Requirements:
* Have Docker installed in your computer - see
* Recommended, but not required: review the 3 part introduction from Docker docs:
## Overview:
Reproducibility is a key component to scientific advancement, and in computational biology this should include the following components:
* __Good documentation__ - no matter how good of a software/app/pipeline you develop, the lack of proper document hinders your science. Thus, document and update as necessary.
* __Version control of code__ - familiarity with the concept of version control using `git` and web-bases git services (e.g.: GitLab, GitHub, Bitbucket) is a crucial component to long term reproducibility. There are other types of distributed versions control systems, however, `git` is mostly used in data science and computational biology, thus it's a good starting point. For more information on this topic please see [this Git introduction](,of%20file%20on%20a%20computer.) and my overview of [GitLab in the pdf slides](
* __Environment reproducibility__ - this is a key step which is often times missed. Keep in mind that in many instances an analysis has dependencies on specific versions of softwares and programming languages, and unless that is well documented, your research is not fully reproducible. But beyond good documentation of what softwares (and versions) were used, the better solution is to deliver the environment to researchers. This is where Docker comes in - Docker provides researchers with a tool to deliver the environment in a scalable, enclosed and portable manner. In other words, you can run an R environment built in Linux that is a year old in your own OS (e.g. Mac or Windows) without having to change your main R version present in your OS. This concept is applicable to any environment types (e.g.: Python) but for our session, we will focus on R and __RStudio__ as many analysis are performed interactively in RStudio.
### Session Goals
* Become familiar with [Rocker]( resources for running RStudio:
* Build a custom Dockerfile with a commonly used CRAN package.
* Build a custom Dockerfile with a Bioconductor package. For this we will use the Bioconductor Docker container which is build upon rocker resources:
* Run a container in HPC with the conversion of Docker image to Singularity.
## Run a basic RStudio image from Rocker
To `run` a container image from Rocker present in Docker Hub, the first concept you should pay attention to is "Tags". For example, for the rstudio docker hub repository (, you will should note the "Tags" tab which determines version of the Docker image present in the repository. In the case of `rocker/rstudio` repository, the tag is linked to the R version the container will ultimately run. Thus, for instance, `rocker/rstudio:3.6.3` will run a container with R version 3.6.3. For more information on Rocker version tags see: and
Thus as a first step, let's run the latest version to the RStudio container from rocker:
To run the latest version, run:
docker run -d --rm -p 8787:8787 -e PASSWORD=NBI rocker/rstudio:latest
If it's the first time you are pulling the image, you should see the following:
Unable to find image 'rocker/rstudio:latest' locally
latest: Pulling from rocker/rstudio
a4a2a29f9ba4: Pull complete
127c9761dcba: Pull complete
d13bf203e905: Pull complete
4039240d2e0b: Pull complete
3b4941e90a2c: Pull complete
ef7ee4dd95c3: Pull complete
3d3d7ae7c8a0: Pull complete
f0c6e28dde7d: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:40b28d6518298e48d4d585874c689158462db76ce45e8eb6b1440ae8901c31e1
Status: Downloaded newer image for rocker/rstudio:latest
We can now list the images and the containers currently running:
docker image ls
rocker/rstudio latest f6cf30c3483b 8 days ago 1.9GB
docker container ls # or `docker ps`
217e3dff2f26 rocker/rstudio:latest "/init" 6 minutes ago Up 6 minutes>8787/tcp optimistic_colden
Note the container ID `217e3dff2f26` matches the last line of the output from when we first ran the `run` command. This ID will change each time you run a new container.
Further, here is brief explanation of the flags used with `run`:
* `-d`: runs the container in the background / detach
* `--rm`: Automatically removes the container when it exits. I recommend doing this to keep the server/computer clean to save computational resources.
* `-p`: exposes and binds local port to port in the container. In this case we chose 8787 since the RStudio server runs on port 8787 (if you were to run an application which runs on another port, such as R Shiny, choose the appropriate port number, which would be 3838 for R Shiny).
* `-e PASSWORD=<...>`: password is required for RStudio. The username is `rstudio`.
We can now access the Docker container by visiting `localhost:8787` in your browser and providing the username `rstudio` and password you set:
<img src="rocker_rstudio_latest.png" align="center" width="850px" />
Note under `sessionInfo()`, that we are running this RStudio session with R version 4.0.3 under Ubuntu 20.04 LTS as opposed to my local R version (3.6) in my MacBook Pro. Also note that the current working directory (`/home/rstudio`) is a directory that is only present in the Docker container, and not my Mac.
This is a great way to test newer versions of packages without upgrading your own local versions. One downside to using the container as it is, is that as soon as the container is removed, the installed packages will be deleted too. There is a method to avoid this (by using `docker commit` to create a new image with changes made in the container - see more at:, but we will focus on doing this by writing a Dockerfile.
Finally, to stop a container simply run `docker stop <container_id>`. In our case, this will also remove the container since we used `--rm` with the `run` command, but the image will remain locally unless the user deletes it with `docker image rm <image_id>`.
## Build and customize your image with Dockerfile
Developing your own image and container allows you to customize the R session to suit your needs, and thus ensuring that your research is reproducible and scalable.
Let's start with a simple example, where we want to run RStudio with R version 3.6.3 and plot data with `ggplot2`, which is a CRAN package (we will cover Bioconductor later).
The following defines the Dockerfile containing the necessary R version and package dependency along with a small data set to be included in the container.
FROM rocker/rstudio:3.6.3
RUN mkdir /home/rstudio/data_plots
# location for mounting
RUN mkdir /home/rstudio/data_mount
COPY ./ggplot2_example.R /home/rstudio/data_plots
# here we add data in when we write the image as opposed to mounting
COPY ./data_for_dockerfile /home/rstudio/data_plots
RUN R -e 'install.packages("ggplot2")'
Note that the example above only uses a subset of Docker directives. For a full reference of directives see
Now, that we have the Dockerfile ready, we build the image and run to launch the container (make sure you are in the directory that contains the Dockerfile):
docker build --rm --force-rm -t rstudio_ggplot2:3.6.3 .
(by not providing a tag to `-t rstudio_ggplot2`, it will default to `latest` tag)
Sending build context to Docker daemon 3.613MB
Step 1/6 : FROM rocker/rstudio:3.6.3
---> 0e89f80390af
Step 2/6 : RUN mkdir /home/rstudio/data_plots
---> Running in 363aece8e2d2
Removing intermediate container 363aece8e2d2
---> c4f81c427c87
Step 3/6 : RUN mkdir /home/rstudio/data_mount
---> Running in e6ea2fbdd2bc
Removing intermediate container e6ea2fbdd2bc
---> 8bb4a2960cb7
Step 4/6 : COPY ./ggplot2_example.R /home/rstudio/data_plots
---> 944f156a9a17
Step 5/6 : COPY ./data_for_dockerfile /home/rstudio/data_plots
---> 9774922404e5
Step 6/6 : RUN R -e 'install.packages("ggplot2")'
---> Running in 4302f07f9511
###--- R ggplot2 installation starts ---###
And now we `run`:
docker run -d --rm -p 8787:8787 -e PASSWORD=NBI rstudio_ggplot2:3.6.3
Now, in our `localhost:8787`, you should the new RStudio session with the environment we specified in the Dockerfile (R version 3.6.3 and ggplot2 available), along with the R script and data file present in `/home/rstudio/data_plots`
<img src="rstudio_ggplot2_3_6_3.png" align="center" width="850px" />
__Mounting a directory to the container__
While adding data files and scripts to the image is a good solution to ship a container with all data for a specific project, a user may want to simply use the same environment for their own data. This can be done without modifying the image by mounting a local directory to the container with flag `-v <local_dir>:<remote_container_dir>` to the `run` command:
docker run -d --rm -p 8787:8787 -e PASSWORD=NBI -v `pwd`/dir_for_mounting:/home/rstudio/data_mount rstudio_ggplot2:3.6.3
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# ggplot2 example being run in Docker container
# Amazon top 50 books from 2009-2019:
# Data from
data_plot <- read.csv("./data_plots/bestsellers_with_categories.csv")
data_plot_selected <- data_plot[c("Year", "Genre")]
data_plot_selected <- data.frame(table(data_plot_selected))
ggplot(data_plot_selected, aes(x=Year, y=Freq, group=Genre)) +
geom_point(size=3, aes(colour=Genre)) +
theme_bw(base_size = 16) +
theme(panel.grid.major = element_blank(), panel.grid.minor = element_blank(),
axis.text.x = element_text(colour="black", size = 18, angle = 45, vjust = 0.5),
axis.text.y = element_text(colour="black", size = 18),
axis.line = element_line(size=0.5, colour = "black"),
axis.title = element_text(size=22)) +
# to load the following data, you will need to first mount the directory
# which contains the data file since we did not include it in the Dockerfile
# data_plot2 <- read.csv("./data_mount/netflix_titles.csv")
# View(data_plot2)
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