Anatomy of an Application in Sandstorm

Yesterday I wrote about getting your own Sandstorm server up and running, and today I wanted to follow-up with some specifics about applications in Sandstorm. This should be a fairly short post because it’s really easy, but I’m really not into the whole brevity thing. As I mentioned yesterday, Sandstorm’s Application Market is really impressive and they have done an amazing job of integrating it into the server to make exploring and installing apps painless.

When you are in the Sandstorm dashboard you will see two areas: Apps and Grains.

Anatomy of an Application in Sandstorm

Apps are just that, applications you can or have used. SO, for example, this is what the apps area looks like in my Sandbox dashboard.

Anatomy of an Application in Sandstorm

A link to the App Market to install applications as well as those I have used, in this case Ghost, Hacker CMS, and WordPress. The other area of the dashboard is the section called Grains.

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Caught in the Sandstorm

I have been looking on with wonder at the work Grant Potter and Brian Lamb have done with BC’s Open Ed Tech. In particular, their initiative designed to provide British Columbia’s post-secondary institutions the means to easily install and explore a range of open source applications using Sandstorm.io. What’s nice about Sandstorm is it provides access to a number of open source applications that don’t run on a commodity hosting LAMP stack, such as the blogging software Ghost, the collaborative text editor Etherpad, computational environments like the iPython Notebook, and Git Hosting with GitLab. And that’s just a few of the over 50 applications Sandstorm supports out of the box, and if you you have an application you want to add that’s also possible.

Sandtorm.io's App Market
Sandtorm.io’s App Market

What struck me on this run through Sandstorm (Tim turned me onto it over a year ago) was the application market. It contains a number of applications folks have asked us about hosting through Reclaim. Georgetown University was interested in the possibility of hosting iPython Notebooks on their dedicated Reclaim server, and the great Tony Hirst as been exploring how to host them for a while now. More recently, Shawn Graham at Carleton University was asking me about the possibility of hosting GitLab, which was new to me, and lo and behold that is a featured app on Sandstorm.

So, when the outlaw Tommy Woodward asked if Reclaim Hosting could spin-up a Sandstorm server for VCU’s ALT Lab, I jumped at the chance. I have to hand it to the folks at Sandstorm, they made the process of setting up your own server dead simple. I’ll document my process below, but their documentation is pretty awesome.
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