15 Git Backed Content

Content may be deployed to RStudio Connect directly from a remote Git repository. Content will automatically fetch from the associated remote Git repository and re-deploy. This allows for integration with Git-centric workflows and continuous deployment automation.

NOTE: Support for Git backed content is dependent on an acceptable version of Git being present in the RStudio Connect deployment environment, as described in the Admin Guide.

Git backed content may be distinguished from other content by the presence of the text “from Git” in the content description as well as a Git metadata section in the content Settings -> Info panel.

15.1 Limitations

Git backed content cannot be re-deployed or updated via other means, such as by publishing from the RStudio IDE or rsconnect::deployApp.

The current support for authenticating with private Git repositories is limited to a single set of credentials which must be configured on the Connect server. See the Admin guide for details.

NOTE: These instructions are limited to content using R such as Shiny apps, reports, or static plots. Generating the appropriate manifest for Python content like Jupyter Notebooks or reticulated R and Python content is not readily available. Please contact # support@rstudio.com if you’re interested.

15.2 Publishing for the First Time

In order to deploy Git-backed content to RStudio Connect you’ll follow a two step process:

  1. Create and commit a manifest file
  2. Link RStudio Connect to the Git repository

The first step is completed in the development environment, and the second step is accomplished from within RStudio Connect.

15.2.1 Creating a Manifest File

The first step is to create a manifest.json file associated with the content you want RStudio Connect to track and deploy. The manifest file tells RStudio Connect how to deploy and host your content. This manifest includes information like the content’s environment dependencies. The manifest can be created by calling the R function rsconnect::writeManifest from within your project directory.

NOTE: Please use rsconnect version 0.8.15 or higher when generating a manifest file.

For example, if your project has a single app.R file, the sequence would look like:

# In a directory with app.R
# [1] "app.R"

# Create the manifest

# Confirm manifest.json output
# [1] "app.R" "manifest.json"

Calling rsconnect::writeManifest repeatedly will update the manifest.json file.

If your Git repository includes multiple directories, call the function from within the directory containing the content you wish to deploy. For example, if the project looks like:

Project Git Repository :
- analysis (directory)
  - prep.R
  - experiments.Rmd
- results (directory)
  - app.R
  - supporting (directory)

If you want to deploy the shiny app in the results directory, first make the results directory your working directory and then call writeManifest.

Project Git Repository:
- analysis (directory)
  - prep.R
  - experiments.Rmd
- results (directory)
  - app.R
  - manifest.json
  - supporting (directory)

In this case, do not call writeManifest from the project’s root directory. RStudio Connect will include everything in the results directory and supporting directory in the deployment.

The writeManifest function does its best to infer the correct information about your content. In some cases you may wish to be more explicit and can include the following arguments:

  • appPrimaryDoc: The primary file in cases where there are more then one
  • contentCategory: The type of content in cases where it is unclear

Below are a two examples to show when you would need to use these explicit options:

  1. A directory containing multiple R Markdown documents

Your project directory may contain multiple R Markdown documents:


Use appPrimaryDoc to specify which R Markdown is the entry point for RStudio Connect:

rsconnect::writeManifest(appPrimaryDoc = "report.Rmd")
  1. A directory containing HTML

Use contentCategory to distinguish between a website and a plot. For instance, if the directory contains multiple HTML files for a website, use:

rsconnect::writeManifest(appPrimaryDoc = "index.html", contentCategory = "site")

15.2.2 Tracking the Manifest File

After the manifest.json is generated, add and commit it to your local Git working copy, and be sure to push to the remote Git repository so that Connect can see the manifest.json after fetching. This is roughly the equivalent done in a terminal:

git add manifest.json
git commit -m 'Adding manifest.json for RStudio Connect deployment'
git push

15.2.3 Linking Git to RStudio Connect

Connect users must have at least the publisher role in order to create new content from a Git repository.

On the “Content” page, there is a button near the top labeled “New Content”. Clicking on this button will expand a menu which contains an item called “New Content from Git Repo”, which may be clicked to launch a new content wizard.

New Content from Git Repo menu

The new content wizard will first prompt for a Git repo URL, which may use https:// (recommended) or http:// remotes.

NOTE: Repository URLs must not contain authorization. Private repository access requires configuration of GitCredential.Host, GitCredential.Username, and GitCredential.Password, as described in the Admin Guide.

Once the repository URL has been entered, the next step will require specifying a branch name. A selection of candidate branch names collected from the remote repository will be listed.

Once the branch name has been entered, the next step will require specifying a target directory. The directory names listed will have been determined by searching for directories containing a manifest.json file.

Once the target directory has been entered, an initial deployment will be triggered.

Deployed from Git Repo

15.3 Updating Content

To update Git-backed content, make any necessary code changes and then call rsconnect::writeManifest. Commit both the updated code and the updated manifest.json file. Once the commit is made, you can either wait for RStudio Connect to automatically deploy the changes or, from within the RStudio Connect dashboard, manually tell Connect to “Update Now”.

15.3.1 Option 1: Connect Automatic Update

Connect will periodically check all Git backed content for updates. By default this check occurs every 15 minutes, but administrators can configure a different interval. If the updated repository is found to contain changes to the relevant branch and path specified, a new deployment will automatically be triggered. Such an update may be from new commit(s) pushed to the remote Git repository, or from another branch being merged into the target branch such as when merging a pull request.

Automatic updates may be disabled or enabled in the Git metadata section in the Settings -> Info panel.

15.3.2 Option 2: Connect Manual Update

Git backed content may be immediately checked for updates and potentially redeployed by clicking the “Update Now” button in the content Settings -> Info panel.

Update Now button