The Rockerverse: Packages and Applications for Containerisation with R

The Rocker Project provides widely used Docker images for R across different application scenarios. This article surveys downstream projects that build upon the Rocker Project images and presents the current state of R packages for managing Docker images and controlling containers. These use cases cover diverse topics such as package development, reproducible research, collaborative work, cloud-based data processing, and production deployment of services. The variety of applications demonstrates the power of the Rocker Project specifically and containerisation in general. Across the diverse ways to use containers, we identified common themes: reproducible environments, scalability and efficiency, and portability across clouds. We conclude that the current growth and diversification of use cases is likely to continue its positive impact, but see the need for consolidating the Rockerverse ecosystem of packages, developing common practices for applications, and exploring alternative containerisation software.

Daniel Nüst , Dirk Eddelbuettel , Dom Bennett , Robrecht Cannoodt , Dav Clark , Gergely Daróczi , Mark Edmondson , Colin Fay , Ellis Hughes , Lars Kjeldgaard , Sean Lopp , Ben Marwick , Heather Nolis , Jacqueline Nolis , Hong Ooi , Karthik Ram , Noam Ross , Lori Shepherd , Péter Sólymos , Tyson Lee Swetnam , Nitesh Turaga , Charlotte Van Petegem , Jason Williams , Craig Willis , Nan Xiao

Supplementary materials

Supplementary materials are available in addition to this article. It can be downloaded at

CRAN packages used

sys, stevedore, AzureContainers, googleCloudRunner, babelwhale, BiocManager, reticulate, Shiny, dockerfiler, dockr, liftr, checkpoint, renv, sf, rgdal, sanitizers, RSelenium, batchtools, googleComputeEngineR, future, plumber, drake, golem, analogsea, Rserve, svSocket, keras, DBI, dbplyr, dplyr, testthat, tinytest, ttdo, diffobj

CRAN Task Views implied by cited packages

ModelDeployment, WebTechnologies, HighPerformanceComputing, ReproducibleResearch, Databases, NumericalMathematics, Spatial, SpatioTemporal


Text and figures are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 4.0. The figures that have been reused from other sources don't fall under this license and can be recognized by a note in their caption: "Figure from ...".


For attribution, please cite this work as

Nüst, et al., "The R Journal: The Rockerverse: Packages and Applications for Containerisation with R", The R Journal, 2020

BibTeX citation

  author = {Nüst, Daniel and Eddelbuettel, Dirk and Bennett, Dom and Cannoodt, Robrecht and Clark, Dav and Daróczi, Gergely and Edmondson, Mark and Fay, Colin and Hughes, Ellis and Kjeldgaard, Lars and Lopp, Sean and Marwick, Ben and Nolis, Heather and Nolis, Jacqueline and Ooi, Hong and Ram, Karthik and Ross, Noam and Shepherd, Lori and Sólymos, Péter and Swetnam, Tyson Lee and Turaga, Nitesh and Petegem, Charlotte Van and Williams, Jason and Willis, Craig and Xiao, Nan},
  title = {The R Journal: The Rockerverse: Packages and Applications for Containerisation with R},
  journal = {The R Journal},
  year = {2020},
  note = {},
  doi = {10.32614/RJ-2020-007},
  volume = {12},
  issue = {1},
  issn = {2073-4859},
  pages = {437-461}