Tom Clegg, 04/10/2013 09:51 PM
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 privileges. 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.)
fn1. Exception: Each site has an official Workbench installation with the privileges required to retrieve a user's API authentication tokens. This is necessary to obtain authentication tokens for API clients/environments that aren't well suited to the OpenID authentication process, like CLI tools.