Which "dashboard" for all your self-hosted web applications do you prefer?

My organization has a hodge-podge of intranet web services: a Discourse forum, a local wikipedia mirror, OnlyOffice, OpenMediaVault, OpenVPN web admin, Pihole, etc. And furthermore, I learned a funny new term to characterize this quest to try to self-host all these services: that of the so-called landchad! :rofl:

After reading this recent article about the power and impact of integrating all such services into one coherent, convenient experience, it occurred to me that these big tech ecosystems (GAFAM, etc) really “play for keeps”. No physical shackle is fastened around one’s ankle, however all the paths of least resistance are meticulously arranged such that if one ever thought of migrating away, psychological/emotional barriers/annoyances/discomforts/losses will stop one from doing so. So there are psychological/sociological factors which effectively do enshackle one, such that the normies of the world likely won’t leave for any competitor (let alone Open Source alternatives). Only the smartest and most highly motivated 2% (as in, they see a virtue in it worth fighting for), are the ones who would do so. To escape all those “walled gardens”, would be roughly as difficult as quitting smoking, by way of analogy.

This made me feel motivated to do what I can to try to pull together such an integrated-feeling web experience the best I could using Open-Source software. How can one hope to compete with big tech’s convenience if one doesn’t have “hot-buttons” for everything, all in one super-convenient, pan-device interface? After some looking around, I’ve taken an interest in web-dashboard apps like Heimdall, github page here.

BTW: I looked at some of Heimdall’s newer competitors, like Homer, and Homarr, but they are dependent on the Node.js ecosystem, which made me skeptical that they would bloated and slow. I also watched a comparison video between Heimdall and a couple of predecessors, Muximux, and Organizr. I ruled out Muximux and Organizr, as they apparently have outdated assumptions about the wisdom of using iframes, or they want to re-invent the wheel by giving you a system of tabs that the web browser already provides.

After test-driving Heimdall, both as a docker container, and as a native install, I ran into this docker-specific bug.

Anyway, I’d like to hear your anecdotes about your similar landchad-esque journeys to create an integrated web dashboard for all your self-installed web apps.

I did get Heimdall working behind nginx, and I’ve also contributed alternate green favicons - the default favicons were an ugly grey. The depended upon Debian 11 packages are listed here.

Dashy is another one worth checking out. Quite well documented, regular updates and looks good.

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And do you yourself run dashy? I see it requires Node.js, which makes me skeptical of it being performant. How responsive/resource-hungry is it?

Heimdall is very snappy and lightweight - albeit when not run in a docker container. That snappiness was what atteacted me to Heimdall. I wanted something that I could trust would be performant on a Raspberry Pi.

The claim is made on the Dashy github page:

Dashy also wells run on low-powered ARM-based single board computers, such as a Raspberry Pi (tested on Pi 3)

Edit: Dashy tutorial for a Raspberry Pi 4 seen here.

Do you have a self-built version of Docker which adds significant overhead?

See here. No, not self-built.

Dashy looked too heavyweight for me, although I am impressed it can be run from a Raspberry Pi 4. When I run Heimdall behind nginx, the RAM and CPU usage is so tiny that it pretty much doesn’t exist when you try to watch it in htop. A compressed backup of the entire /var/www/heimdall folder (this is after I’ve configured it with about a dozen “Application buttons”, a background image, etc), which entirely contains Heimdall, is like 11MB.

The Linuxserver heimdall docker image looks like it was made by monkeys. My apologies, Esbeeb.

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I feel confident Heimdall could even be run on a Raspberry Pi Zero W, for how lightweight it is. It might make a nice roomate for PiHole on said hardware.

That’s what first attracted me to Heimdall too - it is very lightweight.

But, I find that Dashy, unlike a lot of Node JS apps actually runs well and is very responsive. I run it in a docker container on the home server and I’ve never found any performance or responsiveness issues.

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Thanks for that!

My organization has a lot of non-techie people, and I feel that the “no-frills” nature of Heimdall is more suited to them. Just choosing app button color, custom icons, and a background image is flashy enough for my people. I also set up a few additional custom “search providers” (for the search bar at the top), which is the icing on the cake.

After looking at the Dashy demo, it’s very feature rich, but for the culture found in the group I’m in, it’s too feature rich. Again, it’s really impressive that a Raspberry Pi 4 can handle a Node.js web-app that well!

I would say Heimdall is more for the “no-frills” sort of audience, and Dashy is geared more to the “power user”.

I posted a summarized writeup of my non-docker install of Heimdall: