Monday, July 25, 2016

Navigating your Linux system descriptions the pretty way

Machinery is a command line application to gather information about a system by inspection. The data is stored in a system description which can be accessed without the system being available. So these can be viewed and compared at any time using the console and additionally in the web browser using the graphical user interface of Machinery. This interface offers a nice and easy way to do the same in the web browser.

What's New?

Starting from version 1.21.0 you'll experience an improved graphical user interface, where show and compare views are connected. With this you can navigate between viewing different descriptions as well as comparing them, so working with multiple system descriptions is much faster and offers greater usability.

When you start the graphical user interface you will get a list of all available system descriptions, where you can choose one to view more details. The following screen shot shows this list. You can use the search mask to filter them for certain terms. Simply click on the description you would like to see and it will get you to the details view. Run the command `machinery list --html` to get to the list view.

View of all available system descriptions

The next screen shot displays the content of a single system description where each part of the system is shown in more detail. The name of the currently selected description is provided in the drop down menu in the top left corner. For showing another one, click on this menu. You will get back to the list of all descriptions and can choose again from there.

It is also possible to get to this view by running the command `machinery show --html ‹description›`.

View of a single system description
For comparing a system description to the current one, click on the drop down menu on the right. You are then presented with the familiar menu from the first screen shot, in which you can choose another description for comparing.

The result is then provided in a two-column view, where you can see all the differences between the two system, section by section.

Get to this view from the command line by running `machinery compare --html <description1> <description2>`.

Comparison of two different descriptions
For going back to the details view of one description just close the comparison by clicking on the button with the "x".

No matter if you browse through your systems, drill down to details of individual ones, or compare different machines, or versions of the same system, the new interface will give you a consistent view, where the next step is just one click away.


As static images can't do justice to the new GUI, we invite you to give it a try and experience it yourself. Download Machinery 1.21.0 from the Machinery home page via one-click install, or update to the latest version by running zypper in machinery. We love to hear feedback, so tell us what you think on our mailing list or on GitHub.