Developer documentation:

Workbench is the primary browser-based tool for Arvados users. In addition to providing built-in generic browsing tools for data and analysis jobs, Workbench acts as a gateway and integration point for analysis and visualization applications running in VMs on the cloud.

The built-in browsing features in Workbench are also available via command line tools or any other SDK; Workbench does not need any special privileges1. The browsing features are offered for two reasons:

  • Convenience — Sometimes it's quicker to click than to type, and sometimes it's helpful to see progress bars instead of ASCII art.
  • Example — The source code is an example of how to use Arvados and the Rails SDK.

The Arvados API and authentication system facilitate a smooth user experience and effective data sharing when working with multiple independent web-based applications.

Workbench is built with Ruby on Rails using the Arvados Rails SDK.

(In a sense, Workbench is the web browser SDK -- but we don't call it that because we don't expect anyone to write an application by scripting a web browser.)

1 Exception: Each site has a Workbench installation which is trusted enough to see the authentication tokens for a user who is logged in to that Workbench. This gives the user a way to obtain authentication tokens for API clients/environments that aren't well suited to the OpenID/OAuth2 authentication process, like CLI tools.