Public Lab Wiki documentation

Spectral Workbench

This is a revision from July 30, 2015 15:12. View all revisions
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Spectral Workbench new interface

Spectral Workbench is the client software for our open source spectrometer


Update: The "web client" version of Spectral Workbench works for users of Chrome and Opera. You no longer need to download Spectral Workbench and can simply use the browser-based version. Try it at

What is Spectral Workbench? is a place to archive, share, and interpret spectral data. By uploading spectra to the website, you agree to release the data under a Creative Commons Zero license (the equivalent of a Public Domain dedication), which allows for unrestricted use by anybody.

Currently, anyone may comment on any spectrum -- the idea is that users will help one another collect better data, will collaborate on interpreting data, and will build a large shared resource of well-documented spectral data.

As the website progresses, we hope to add features such as the ability to average sets of spectra and do pattern-recognition matching of similar spectra.


The codebase is available at The server is written in Ruby on Rails, and the capture interface is mostly jQuery, jQuery Mobile, Canvas, and the HTML5 getUserMedia() API.

The software is in need of a great deal more work, so if you are interested, please get involved! A great place to start is the "plots-dev" mailing list for software developers:

Local development

Some folks have been setting up their own copy of Spectral Workbench. This can be a bit tricky for those new to Ruby on Rails, but is a really helpful first step if you're interested in contributing to the code. YvesAD went through the whole process, written up here: but he also posted a step-by-step install guide here: