Dashboard App

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Fig. 1 Example of the Dashboard after a fresh install.

This Open OnDemand application provides a web-interface for launching the various other Open OnDemand applications. It also provides links for managing the session of the logged in user. This application is built with the Ruby on Rails web application framework.


This app is deployed on the OnDemand Server under the following path on the local file system:


and can be accessed with the following browser request:

GET /pun/sys/dashboard

Launches the Dashboard App.

How it Works

Requirements needed for the Dashboard App to work on your local HPC network:

  • OnDemand Server
  • Shared File System

Fig. 2 Diagram detailing how the Dashboard App interacts with the HPC infrastructure.

Fig. 2 details how the Dashboard App works on the local HPC system. The user’s PUN running on the OnDemand Server launches the Ruby on Rails Dashboard app through Passenger as the user.

The Dashboard app scans the deployment locations on the local and shared file systems for other Open OnDemand web applications. In particular it looks for a manifest.yml under the application’s root directory that describes how the Dashboard should advertise the application. The Dashboard will then dynamically construct its navigation menus based around these discovered applications.


Web applications that are protected by file system permissions will not show up in the Dashboard navigation menus if the current user does not have access to these files.

Add shortcuts to Files menu

The Files menu by default has a single link to open the Files app in the user’s Home Directory. More links can be added to this menu, for Scratch space and Project space directories.

Adding more links currently requires adding a custom initializer to the Dashboard app. Ruby code is placed in the initializer to add one or more Ruby Pathname objects to the OodFilesApp.candidate_favorite_paths array, a global attribute that is used in the Dashboard app.


We recommend doing this change in the build directory, so that when you install a new version of the dashboard and then copy it to the production location you do not lose your custom initializer.

In the root directory of the Dashboard app, create config/initializers/ood.rb file. This file is in the gitignore of the Dashboard app, so your customizations will be safe from future changes to the dashboard and there will be no version conflicts.

Here is an example of OSC OnDemand’s initializer:

OodFilesApp.candidate_favorite_paths.tap do |paths|
  # add project space directories
  projects = User.new.groups.map(&:name).grep(/^P./)
  paths.concat projects.map { |p| Pathname.new("/fs/project/#{p}")  }

  # add scratch space directories
  paths << Pathname.new("/fs/scratch/#{User.new.name}")
  paths.concat projects.map { |p| Pathname.new("/fs/scratch/#{p}")  }
  • The variable paths is an array of Pathname objects that define a list of what will appear in the Dashboard menu for Files
  • At OSC, the pattern for project paths follows “/fs/project/${PROJECT_GROUP_NAME}”. So above we:
    1. get an array of all user’s groups by name
    2. filter that array for groups that start with “P” (i.e., PZS0002, PAW0003, …)
    3. using map we turn this array into an array of Pathname objects to all the possible project directories the user could have.
    4. extend the paths array with this list of paths
  • For possible scratch space directories, we look for either “/fs/scratch/${PROJECT_GROUP_NAME}” or “/fs/scratch${USERNAME}#

On each request, the Dashboard will check for the existence of the directories in OodFilesApp.candidate_favorite_paths array and whichever directories exist and the user has access to will appear as links in the Files menu under the Home Directory link.


Fig. 3 Shortcuts to scratch and project space directories in Files menu in OSC OnDemand.

Remember, when editing ood.rb in the build directory, don’t forget to install again i.e.

scl enable rh-ruby22 -- rake build:dashboard
sudo scl enable rh-ruby22 -- rake install:dashboard
  • Changes to the initializer shouldn’t require a rebuilding of the dashboard assets or reinstalling dependencies, but to see the change it does require a Dashboard app restart, which can be forced by touching the tmp/restart.txt file. Rebuilding the dashboard will automatically handle this for you.

If you access the Dashboard, and it crashes, then you may have made a mistake in ood.rb file, whose code is run during the initialization of the Rails app.