Public Lab Research note

Web Working Group Monthly Recap 5: July 2015

by warren | August 03, 2015 20:49 03 Aug 20:49 | #12117 | #12117

Hello again - a lot has happened since last month's Web Working Group recap, and mostly it's happened in the Spectral Workbench codebase, which is great because it's been way overdue. (Originally, this work was to be done in the spring.)

Spectral Workbench

We'll go through the usual overview of all codebases, but first, a summary of changes to SW:


  • the database schema was thoroughly revised, with many-to-many relationships between Spectrums and Sets refactored
  • large amounts of code were stripped down and cleaned up as a result of the above
  • whether a spectrum is calibrated is now stored in the spectrums table, simplifying queries


  • a new graphing system, based on the D3.js framework, was built
  • the new graphing system was used to entirely redesign the much neglected embeds system, which is already live
  • lots of new user interface features were added; in sets, when you hover over a graph, a key appears, and the table of spectra is highlighted
  • spectra in sets can be hidden or shown for clarity
  • the whole thing looks much nicer


  • the idea of "powertags" (from the site) was adopted, allowing us key:value pairs for storage of metadata in tags
  • tags are now used to refer to the source of a calibration by its ID, as in calibration:111
  • "range" powertags are now possible (and will be deployed to the live site in coming days) which allow cropping a spectrum to a given range of wavelengths, as in: range:410-850

There's a lot more coming, in addition to a likely revision of the API and the Macros system. The Sets and Spectrums pages will be redesigned entirely based on the new graphing system. All, hopefully, by the end of August! (Fingers crossed!) You can follow a lot of the work at this pull request, which I'm using as a giant checklist for the project:

I'll list the closed issues, but many of them have been folded into the big pull request linked to above.


Across other platforms, there's been less work, as my focus has been on Spectral Workbench. But we've had some changes:

As always, read more on Github Pulse; there were a number of bugs and improvements filed related to the new Leaflet system: (plots2)

For, only one issue was closed; the platform has stabilized a lot and we aren't getting many bug reports or requests at the Web Working Group support line. Read more:

However, this doesn't mean we don't need help. A number of major issues are open, including our highest priority, a rich text editing system. This will be a big project but we're looking for ways to tackle it, so if you're interested, please be in touch. Smaller projects may be found at


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