Why I ditched fancy dashboards I wasn't using for a more ethical way to access links both on my home lab network and favorite websites.
I love a good, fancy looking dashboard when I see one. The problem I had with any dashboard over the last several years of using them is one thing. Keeping them updated is a pain in the butt. I tinker constantly so apps are always breaking, moving or being removed if I don't like them after a couple months of not being used.
I started out about 4 years ago using Heimdall dashboard and I loved it. I was always one of those white knights who always had a reason to use a dashboard when dashboards were being questioned and scrutinized on Reddit subs.
After about a year of testing and using Heimdall, I discovered another dashboard called Homer. In my opinion, it's cleaner and I liked how it looked over Heimdall.
It has a dark mode built in but it also came with it's disadvantages. It has to be customized through yaml files and updating this dashboard became a nightmare when I was quickly growing my home lab with new applications and services.
I used Homer for the better part of 3 years and all through the COVID pandemic era. It served me very well, but I needed a change that would allow me to add services and bookmarks quickly and not be a pain to customize or edit when needed. So I tossed Homer out the window and started looking for something new.
I soon discovered Linkding. Now I know what you're thinking. "It's not a dashboard and I can't do fancy things with it like display my sonarr, radarr, pihole stats". Everyone has their reasons for using dashboards but for me it just wasn't something I was utilizing to access my apps and services.
Linkding made more sense to me because it's an app for bookmarks on steroids. You can add your services and put everything into categories using a simple tagging system. The Firefox bookmarklet makes it a breeze to quickly add links as seen below.
Everything about Linkding makes more sense and is way more practical for my use case. I can add/remove links quickly, organize links using tags, search for links and I can even export and import my links to another instance of Linkding in seconds if I need to.
Install Linkding with Docker Compose:
version: '3.3' services: run: container_name: linkding ports: - '9090:9090' volumes: - '/docker/linkding:/etc/linkding/data' image: sissbruecker/linkding:latest
Finally you need to create a user so that you can access the application. Replace the credentials in the following command and run it:
docker exec -it linkding python manage.py createsuperuser --username=joe [email protected]
Final Notes and Thoughts
After evolving and growing over the last 4 years, I finally realized dashboards just are not for me. This may not be the case for everyone and it's completely subjective to your use case. I would just rather use something like Grafana to display information about services if I really wanted to see that. I already use it to monitor my servers anyway. I'm trying to downsize the amount of apps I use and if I find one like Linkding that acts both as a bookmark tool and a pseudo dashboard, then why not cut out one more service I won't be using to save the resources on the host? What are your thoughts?