2.11 Web pages and Shiny apps
Similar to HTML widgets, arbitrary web pages can be embedded in the book. You can use the function
knitr::include_url() to include a web page through its URL. When the output format is HTML, an
iframe is used;8 in other cases, knitr tries to take a screenshot of the web page (or use the custom screenshot you provided). All chunk options are the same as those for HTML widgets. One option that may require your special attention is the
delay option: HTML widgets are rendered locally, so usually they are fast to load for PhantomJS to take screenshots, but an arbitrary URL may take longer to load, so you may want to use a larger
delay value, e.g., use the chunk option
screenshot.opts = list(delay = 5).
A related function is
knitr::include_app(), which is very similar to
include_url(), and it was designed for embedding Shiny apps via their URLs in the output. Its only difference with
include_url() is that it automatically adds a query parameter
?showcase=0 to the URL, if no other query parameters are present in the URL, to disable the Shiny showcase mode, which is unlikely to be useful for screenshots or iframes. If you do want the showcase mode, use
include_url() instead of
include_app(). Below is a Shiny app example (Figure 2.6):
knitr::include_app("https://yihui.shinyapps.io/miniUI/", height = "600px")
Again, you will see a live app if you are reading an HTML version of this book, and a static screenshot if you are reading other types of formats. The above Shiny app was created using the miniUI package (Cheng 2018), which provides layout functions that are particularly nice for Shiny apps on small screens. If you use normal Shiny layout functions, you are likely to see vertical and/or horizontal scrollbars in the iframes because the page size is too big to fit an iframe. When the default width of the iframe is too small, you may use the chunk option
out.width to change it. For the height of the iframe, use the
height argument of
Shiny apps may take even longer to load than usual URLs. You may want to use a conservative value for the
delay option, e.g., 10. Needless to say,
include_app() require a working Internet connection, unless you have previously cached the chunk (but web pages inside iframes still will not work without an Internet connection).
Cheng, Joe. 2018. MiniUI: Shiny Ui Widgets for Small Screens. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=miniUI.
iframeis basically a box on one web page to embed another web page.↩