First steps of using googleVis on shiny

The guys at RStudio have done a fantastic job with shiny. It is really easy to build web apps with R using shiny. With the help of Joe Cheng from RStudio we figured out a way to make googleVis work on shiny as well. This allows you to make use of the Google Charts Tools in your shiny app directly from R. What I present here are three initial examples which seem to work in most browsers. The third example even uses a neat trick to create an animated geo chart.

However, before we upload the next version of googleVis to CRAN we decided to present a preview of version 0.4.0 here, asking for feedback. It would not be fair on the guys behind CRAN to release something into the wild, only to be told by users within a few days that we missed something. Hence, you can get the new version of googleVis only from the download page of our project site for the time being.

You may have read the post on RStudio's blog that the shiny API changed slightly: the reactivePlot and reactiveText functions have been renamed to renderPlot and renderText with simplified input parameters. Thanks to Joe, there is now also a renderGvis function as part of the googleVis package, which works in very much the same way as the other two.

To run the following examples you need shiny version 0.4.0 and googleVis version 0.4.0 or higher.

Example 1: Select data for a scatter chart

In this example the user can select different data to be displayed via a scatter chart. I use the renderGvis function in the same way as I would use renderPlot or renderText.

You can run the app locally via:

Example 2: Interactive table

The second example is quite simple as well, it displays a table. However, I am using the Google Chart table, which means that I can make it pageable and allow the user to choose how many rows of data to be shown. Of course, columns can be sorted by clicking in the header. I am not aware of any other option in R to create interactive tables.

You can run the app locally via:

Example 3: Animated geo chart

The third example plots the results of the US presidential elections from 1932 - 2012 as a geo chart, showing the share of democratic votes by state.

I use a slidebarPanel to enable users to browse the data. The really clever bit is that the function slideInput has an argument animate, which when set to TRUE, allows the user to animate the geo chart. Hit the play button in the bottom right hand side of the slider panel.

You can run the app locally via:


Finally, with version 0.4.0 of googleVis and shiny, both packages have found together. I think, this marks a big step forward for both projects as it becomes even easier to develop true interactive data analysis applications for the web using the power of R in the background.

We will be most curious to see how you use the two packages combined for your work. Please let us know how you have used googleVis with shiny, e.g. via a comment below with a link to your app, or send us your feedback via email and/or file issues on our project site.

As mentioned above the apps of this post are hosted on RStudio's server, as part of their shiny beta testing programme. Thanks to RStudio again.

Further changes in googleVis 0.4.0

  • In order to support shiny the order of the elements of the
    gvis*()$html$chart vector changed. The positions of jsChart and
    jsFooter have been swapped.
  • The load mechanism for the Google API changed from http to https
    again. Thanks to Jacques Philip.
  • The package dependencies changed to imports statements in DESCRIPTION.
    Thanks to Suraj Gupta for pointing this out.
  • The R.rsp example in demo googleVis has been moved into its own demo Rrsp.
  • A FAQ and shiny section has been added to the vignette.

Bug Fixes
  • jsDisplayChart didn't check if the google visualization function is already
    loaded. Many thanks to Mark Melling for reporting the issue and
    providing a solution.
  • The demo WorldBank didn't download all data but only the first 12000 records. Many thanks to John Maindonald reporting this issue.

Session Info

R version 2.15.2 (2012-10-26)
Platform: x86_64-apple-darwin9.8.0/x86_64 (64-bit)

[1] en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8/C/en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8

attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base     

other attached packages:
[1] shiny_0.4.0     googleVis_0.4.0

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
[1] bitops_1.0-4.2   caTools_1.14     digest_0.6.1     RJSONIO_1.0-1    websockets_1.1.7 xtable_1.7-0    


Dominic said...

This looks great! thank you.

One question though. Is it possible to use googleVis in corporate work. Don't you have any issues arising from with google's IP ?

Markus Gesmann said...

Have you read the Google Terms of Service

I suggest you discuss this issue with your colleagues in IT / Legal and if in doubt contact Google directly. Those concerns can usually be resolved.

Amy M. said...

Again, great work on this update!

Mr Clark to you said...

As you know Markus, this is just what I was looking for. Here are a couple of examples I have posted

Markus Gesmann said...

This looks great! I believe you are displaying weekly data in your motion chart, rather than the year 1901 onwards. Figures less than 100 will be interpreted as years between 1901 and 1999. However, the motion chart supports weekly data; see the example in the help file.

-Stan said...

That is a great work. Would you please share the codes you used for the Charts?

Mr Clark to you said...

The code can be found here

I have not provided the actual data so you cannot use runapp on it to see the charts

Mr Clark to you said...

It is not strictly weekly data.It is done by game sequence so the x axis is an integer. Can i still get rdi of the 1900. It is misleading?

az said...

Hi Markus, i tried out the new version on an old code which uses "knitr" and "googleVis" (not shiny) to produce an html report. It seems that, for some reasons, 0.4.0 has an issue that 0.3.3 does not: some gvis plots (gvisBarChart, in particular) don't always show up in the output html, keep refreshing the page may get it from time to time, but totally unpredictable when. Any ideas? Thanks!

Markus Gesmann said...

Thanks for your comment. Can you please send me a little example via email. Cheers

az said...

Just sent to your gmail, thanks!

Shane said...

How do you actually import your own data for the scatter charts for example?
This is really good stuff. Thanks

Markus Gesmann said...

Similar as to the other two examples here. Once your data is in R's memory you can use it with shiny. See the R Data Import/Export manual for more details:

Shane said...

Hi Markus,

I know how to read in the data as csv etc, but I do not know the format it has to be in, in order to run this app. You know what I mean?
This is top notch though, great work, very impressed

Markus Gesmann said...

I hope the documentation and examples of gvisScatterChart give you enough information to replicate an app with your own data.

Stan said...

Thanks for the great work. Does anyone know why the figure for the District of Columbia (DC) is not shown on the animated geo chart ?

Mike said...

Is it possible to make the chart bigger? Like extends right further with the web browser itself? (gvislinechart)

Markus Gesmann said...

I suppose you would have to set the width and height options dynamically. See here: However, this is not built into googleVis yet and I wouldn't know how without help.

Kevin Davenport said...

Great post Markus, thank you for your contribution to the R community. Shiny keeps getting better.

Angélica Ordax de Lope said...


I have one doubt. In the first example, how do you introduce the data that it uses?

Markus Gesmann said...

It is part of the example datasets that come with R when you open it.

Angélica Ordax de Lope said...

Ok. Could you tell me what i have to do if i would like to use another data that i have in .csv?

Markus Gesmann said...

See example 3 above, which uses read.csv. For further details consult the shiny and R documentation.

Jen said...

Great work Markus. How did you create this post with the examples live?

Markus Gesmann said...

Jen, the examples are hosted on Rstudio's servers, e.g. example 1 is here: and are embedded into the post via an iframe tag. I hope this helps.

Jian Wang said...

Thanks much Markus for the information.
How about the live examples in the tutorial slides.

How were the slides made?
Not sure if it is possible to share with the group your slide code?

Markus Gesmann said...

The first slide has a download button in the top right corner. I hope this helps.

Mohan Radhakrishnan said...

I have a basic idea of how I can rJava and bring data from a JVM. But this data is streaming to the shiny server. The reactive RxJava can be used for this.

But the graphs are going to change partially when new data arrives. These could be moving charts. Can R's graph libraries display dynamic charts ?

george said...

Very cool stuff. Works wonderfully on desktop browser. Any idea why the charts won't show up in mobile browser. I am using iPhone 5 chrome browser.

Post a Comment