Yup, it's that time. We gotta have a dashboard discussion. No ifs ands or buts about it- Fifthdread Services needs a dashboard for all the various self-hosted services I provide. If someone asks me again for the Element URL, imma flip.
"Fifthdread Services" as we call it, is anything ranging from Bitwarden, Element, Game Servers- you name it. Anything I host. But these services aren't all located in one place, and we need a dashboard to get people to where they need to go. But what dashboard is best? Let's go over the three ones I've messed with.
Flame - Where I started
Flame dashboard immediately had appeal to me because it's minimal and clean. Other dashboards were fancy, but I wanted something streamlined. I found that Flame offered me the in-browser customization options which appealed to me, while keeping it simple. It's not bad, and has been quite usable over the past few months. It's what is in production right now, and honestly not much is wrong with it.
It does offer a login option, where I can have separate URLs appear if logged in- something particularly great for an administrator such as myself. I can hide all my admin links behind a login. Although it would be nice if there was some sort of multi-factor authorization, it's no big deal even if it does get brute forced into- they'll only be getting local IP addresses anyway, so it's not like they'll get any special access even if they do get my login.
Heimdall - The popular choice
Heimdall is another great option for as dashboard. Subjectively, you'll either like it or dislike it compared to Flame. I personally see it as maybe more beautiful, but there's a few drawbacks if I'm comparing it directly vs the Flame dashboard I've been using.
First off, while there is an option to login, it doesn't offer the same functionality that Flame does regarding a private URL list- at least not in the same way. Flame is quite elegant where the private links immediately appear once logged in, where as Heimdall doesn't have that (that I can see). As a result, I'm a little less hyped, but I can't deny that it's still applicable as a public dashboard.
I do like the larger icons, and the option to customize the background colors of each link is quite interesting from a readability perspective. Also, after some minor CSS tweaks, this could be made to look even cleaner.
This is all without mentioning one of Heimdall's biggest features. Service integrations. For example, some apps will show you additional information on each button. Not something I need really, outside of an admin dashboard, but it's admittedly cool.
Homarr - The Admin Panel
Homarr was another popular dashboard option which I decided to evaluate. It's not bad, but ultimately it's useless as a public dashboard out of the box. There are some out there who have done extensive work to make a cleaner setup, but unless I'm missing something, there isn't a way to lock the page to prevent editing. You either give public access to the entire site, or you lock everything behind a login page.
With that being said, this one is the most interesting from a customization and administration standpoint. You can add all your services to your dashboard, and everything is monitored for up-time. There are also a ton of integrations which makes it pretty cool. Check out those widgets- very fancy.
While Homarr is certainly more powerful than the other dashboard options, I wish it had the same public vs private links that Flame has.
Which Dashboard is best?
It depends on what you want. If you're trying to create a public facing dashboard, Flame and Heimdall both offer a decent solution. Flame eeks out ahead with the ability to hide certain links behind a login, where as Heimdall wins with integrations. Subjectively, eather option could be more aesthetically pleasing, but I think I prefer Heimdall for readability reasons. Both are great options.
As an Admin Dashboard, I'd say it's between Homarr and Heimdall. both are grand options with integration support, but Homarr wins in regards to overall functionality. Still, if you aren't looking for all the features Homarr offers, either Flame or Heimdall may be sufficient choices.
Overall, I'm torn between Heimdall and Flame for my public-facing dashboard, so I'll put it up for a vote on Element. Let's see if anyone has an opinion. If not, I'll pick either Flame or Heimdall depending on my mood.