Use Dropbox’s public folder for web publishing via Notepad (or emacs or…)

Remember The Good Old Days when all you needed to host a web site was a file system and Notepad (or emacs or TeachText)?

Well, I do, and I can’t say that I miss them… until last week when I tried to insert the JavaScript for some motion charts into a WordPress.com post. It’s impossible. Literally. Don’t waste your time. Seriously.

Self-hosted WordPress blogs can use some custom field hackery, but there’s no such option for us easy-way-out WordPress.com users.

Dropbox to the rescue

Just save your HTML page to your “Public” directory in Dropbox and it will get its own public URL which you can find in Dropbox’s context menu:

It’s not the ideal embedding I was hoping for — WordPress.com even strips out iframes — but it’s quick and easy and does the job.

4 lines of R to get you started using the Rook web server interface

Now that Jeffrey Horner has settled on a name for his new package… the Rook web server interface is now available on CRAN.

Rook provides an interface for R programmers to build web applications which can run in R 2.13′s built-in web server or (soon) rApache.

Jeffrey’s provided some great documentation and sample code on his blog, in the README file, and in the package documentation itself, but somehow I completely missed the importance of the Rhttpd class and couldn’t figure out how to load or launch any of the examples.

Hopefully I can save someone some similar head-scratching. The key is the Rhttpd class, which controls the web server and manages applications. By default it will install the “RookTest” example, so here are 4 lines you need to see it work:

> library(Rook)
> s <- Rhttpd$new()
> s$start(quiet=TRUE)
> s$print()

Server started on 127.0.0.1:31839
[1] RookTest http://127.0.0.1:31839/custom/RookTest

Call browse() with an index number or name to run an application.

[EDIT: Thanks to Jim Porzak to pointing out that browse() is a method on the Rhttpd object rather than an old school package-scoped function. Times are a-changin'... for the better!]

The browse() function didn’t seem to work for me, s$browse(1) will load the URL into your browser or you can just copy-and-paste to access the running application:

Enjoy!

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