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Web-based tools for collecting, analyzing, and sharing data from a DIY spectrometer
Ruby HTML JavaScript CSS Shell
Pull request Compare This branch is even with publiclab:master.
Latest commit e28d3c9 May 6, 2016 @jywarren Merge pull request #368 from jywarren/tsv-improvements
tsv improvements via bower.json
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app enabling TSV upload via new feature of SpectralWorkbench.js May 6, 2016
config hotfix bower dep update for sprockets issue Apr 16, 2016
db Add index to tag_id field in snapshots table to help performance. Apr 21, 2016
doc root directory cleanup!!! yay Oct 29, 2014
lib cloud9 initialization setup Sep 9, 2015
log initial boot in rails 3.2 Oct 30, 2014
public major reworking of datum parsing/uploading sequence and API, transfor… Feb 3, 2016
script initial boot in rails 3.2 Oct 30, 2014
spec/javascripts namespacing css for spectral-workbench.js Apr 12, 2016
test spectrum upload via API token authentication, CSV upload Apr 16, 2016
vendor merge plus more rails3 cleanup and set list styling Dec 23, 2014
.bowerrc basic asset pipeline #74 Feb 24, 2015
.gitignore Added auto_detect_sample_row Mar 28, 2015 added contributor guide Mar 23, 2015
Gemfile jasmine tests passing again with Tag synchronicity changes Dec 15, 2015 issue template fix Mar 10, 2016
LICENSE major cleanup, readme, license gplv3, interface library (p5) for Proc… Sep 4, 2011 basic pull request template Apr 6, 2016 graph and tag spec tests passing in Jasmine Oct 20, 2015
README_RAILS.rdoc initial boot in rails 3.2 Oct 30, 2014
Rakefile initial boot in rails 3.2 Oct 30, 2014
bower.json tsv improvements via bower.json May 6, 2016 initial boot in rails 3.2 Oct 30, 2014 cloud9 initialization setup Sep 9, 2015
restart start/stop scripts for port 80, percentage based sampling height, fix… Dec 11, 2014
startup start/stop scripts for port 80, percentage based sampling height, fix… Dec 11, 2014
stop start/stop scripts for port 80, percentage based sampling height, fix… Dec 11, 2014

Spectral Workbench

Copyright 2011-2015 Public Lab |

Spectral Workbench is an open-source tool to perform low-cost spectral analysis and to share those results online. It consists of a Ruby on Rails web application for publishing, archiving, discussing, and analyzing spectra online -- running at

Read about how to build and use your own spectrometer with this software here:


Spectral Workbench is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

Spectral Workbench is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with Spectral Workbench. If not, see

Simple installation with Cloud9

  1. If you have a GitHub account, visit and log in with the GitHub button.
  2. Fork this repository to your own GitHub account, creating a yourname/spectral-workbench project.
  3. Name your project, then (order important!) choose the Ruby template, THEN enter yourname/spectral-workbench in the "Clone from Git or Mercurial URL" field, and press Create Workspace
  4. In the command line prompt at the bottom of the page, type ./ and press enter.
  5. Enter your username when prompted, and click "Run Project" when it's done.
  6. You're done! Go to the URL shown!


The app now runs on Ruby 1.9.3 up to Ruby 2.1.2 (preferred), and Rails 3.2.x, and uses Bundler for gem management and Bower for static asset management.


Recommended; for an Ubuntu/Debian system. Varies slightly for mac/fedora/etc

Install a database, if necessary:

sudo apt-get install mysql-server

Note: You will have to update the config/database.yml file appropriately. The example file assumes usage of SQLite. For which you need not install MySQL.

RMagick dependencies are required for processing uploaded spectrum images: apt-get install imagemagick ruby-rmagick libmagickwand-dev libmagick++-dev

  • On Fedora/centOs: yum install ImageMagick-devel
  • On mac, you can use Homebrew: brew install imagemagick

Install rvm for Ruby management (

curl -L | bash -s stable

Note: At this point during the process, you may want to log out and log back in, or open a new terminal window; RVM will then properly load in your environment.

Ubuntu users: You may need to enable Run command as a login shell in Ubuntu's Terminal, under Profile Preferences > Title and Command. Then close the terminal and reopen it.

Then, use RVM to install version 2.1.2 of Ruby:

rvm install 2.1.2

You'll also need bower which is available through NPM. To install NPM, you can run:

sudo apt-get install npm

However, on Ubuntu, you may need to also install the nodejs-legacy package, as due to a naming collision, some versions of Ubuntu already have an unrelated package called node. To do this, run:

sudo apt-get install nodejs-legacy

Once NPM is installed, you should be able to run:

sudo npm install -g bower

Installation steps:

  1. Download a copy of the source with git clone
  2. Install gems with bundle install from the rails root folder. You may need to run bundle update if you have older gems in your environment.
  3. Copy and configure config/database.yml from config/database.yml.example, using a new empty databse you've created. Do the same thing for config/config.yml file copying it from config/config.yml.example file.
  4. Initialize database with bundle exec rake db:setup
  5. Install static assets (like external javascript libraries, fonts) with bower install
  6. Start rails with bundle exec passenger start from the Rails root and open http://localhost:3000 in a web browser. (For some, just passenger start will work; adding bundle exec ensures you're using the version of passenger you just installed with Bundler.)

Sign in instructions:

  • Create a account at and use that username to log in.
  • Then you will be redirected to to "approve" a use of the openid identity.
  • Note that this applies for development environment as well.

Bugs and support

To report bugs and request features, please use the GitHub issue tracker provided at

For additional support, join the Public Laboratory website and mailing list at or for urgent requests, email

For questions related to the use of this software and your open source spectrometer, the same page links to the "plots-spectrometry" group.


Development is occurring at; please fork and submit pull requests; for more guidelines on contributing to Public Lab projects, see

If you're a developer, consider joining the Public Lab developer list, also at


Before submitting changes, please run tests with rake test to ensure that your code passes.

Also run rake jasmine and navigate to http://localhost:8888 to check client-side tests.

New tests are also appreciated to increase coverage; Rails tests are in /test and Jasmine tests (JavaScript tests) are in /spec.

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