Why is this about trucks?

Last month, at the R/Pharma conference that took place on the Harvard Campus, I presented bioWARP, a large Shiny application containing more than 500,000 lines of code. Although several other Shiny apps were presented at the conference, I noticed that none of them came close to being as big as bioWARP. And I asked myself, why?

I concluded that most people just don’t need to built them that big! So now, I would like to explain why we needed such a large app and how we went about building it.

To give you an idea of the scale I am talking about an automotive methaphor might be useful. A typical Shiny app I see in my daily work has about 50 or even less interaction items. Let’s imagine this as a car. With less than 50 interactions think of a small car like a mini cooper. Compared to these applications, with more than 500 interactions, bioWARP is a truck, maybe even a “monster” truck. So why do my customers want to drive trucks when everyone else is driving cars?

Images by Paul V and DaveR