Creating URLs

All JBrowseR functions that accept data require the data to be in the form of a URL. This is because static resources in Shiny apps don’t support all of the features need by JBrowse 2. However, no matter what, in genomics the data size nearly always prohibits directly including data as a static resource.

There are two key scenarios to consider for creating URLs that can be used with JBrowseR:

  1. Using local data on your computer in the browser
  2. Hosting data for a production deployment of a Shiny app

We will look at both of these in this guide.

Using local data

It is very convenient to be able view local data on your computer in JBrowseR without having to worry about hosting it somewhere. JBrowseR includes a small HTTP server that makes this process very simple:

data_server <- serve_data("~/path/to/my-data")

This function creates and starts the server. It also logs information such as the URLs for any genomic data files that it detects. While this server is running in your R session, any of the URLs can be used as arguments to JBrowseR functions.

To stop the server, simply run:


While this server is very convenient, it is not intended for production use. Shiny apps deployed using would not be able to use the URLs.

Hosting options

If you want to deploy an app that uses JBrowseR, you will need to host your data in a way that is accessible to the browser. On the JBrowse 2 team, we host our data using Amazon S3. Each item in an S3 bucket has its own URL. Another alternative is to host your data using your own web server such as Apache.

Whichever option works best for your project, there are some configuration requirements that need to be kept in mind. HTTP servers must support HTTP Range requests, and CORS. Range requests are necessary because JBrowse 2 and other genome browsers using byte serving to fetch only small chunks of data necessary to render what is currently in view. CORS needs to be enabled because the request is coming from the host where the browser is running, not where the data is located.

Here is an example CORS configuration for an S3 bucket:

        "AllowedHeaders": [
        "AllowedMethods": [
        "AllowedOrigins": [
        "ExposeHeaders": [
        "MaxAgeSeconds": 3000

One other note is that if you use S3 and are planning on using to deploy your app, you should locate your bucket in Amazon’s AWS US-East region. Currently, is hosted entirely in that region. You can expect faster performance with your data hosted in the same location and service as your app!