New Feature: Pan-Galactic Tool Search

Author(s) orcid logoHelena Rasche avatar Helena Rasche
new feature gtn

Posted on: 7 June 2023 purlPURL:

Did you ever want to run a tool, but not know where it might be available? The GTN has you covered with the Pan-Galactic Tool Search that is now available.

Update: the authors were reminded of GalaxyCat which does the same thing as the GTN but better! Please go use that.

We recently received a question online from our colleague Dr. Scott Cain trying to find the Manta Structural Variant analysis tool amongst the Galaxies. While his complaints about generic names are very apt (and Galaxy existed before the phone!) we do still have very generic names in our tools.

Unfortunately Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is also quite difficult with these large, complex, JavaScript based web applications. So, the GTN has added a Pan Galactic Tool Search!

How it Works

The GTN uses the list of Public Galaxy Servers available from the Hub to construct the dropdowns you see on Tutorials indicating which servers support a given tutorial.

Every time the GTN gets deployed (at minimum once a day), we collect a list of tools that are available from each of those servers. This metadata is available directly from the GTN (/api/psl.json).

When we render a tutorial, we check the list of tools used in that tutorial, both those annotated by authors, as well as whichever ones are mentioned in the associated workflows, and list the intersection of what’s available.

Since we had this metadata already available, it was trivial to generate a tool search which simply searches through this file and lists the relevant servers.


As the GTN is a static site, so is our search. It takes a second to load the tool search interface (~7MB uncompressed), but after that you can search more or less instantaneously through all 15k versions of the 6k known tools we see across the Galaxy.

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