High-Level ICRISAT LIMS Review Part I

(Ref Id: 1343915940)

Note: a high level review is not a recommendation to use the system. Instead it is the functional equivalent of having purchased some piece of equipment, opened up the box, and checked all of parts inside to make sure nothing was missing. Reviews like this are important because they mimics what will likely occur when your LIMS is being reviewed prior to adoption by a potential client organization.

Let's begin -- there is an ok release page that shows different versions all the way back to their ASP version 1.0. Current version here is 3.0.0 uploaded on 7/5/2010 (that is two years ago). Two years ago is a fairly long time the target for a small LIMS should be at least one release per year, particularly for a web-based system. A normal release cycle tells users that the software is not 'dead.'

The second thing to note is the user tutorial. It is actually a very small website that you can put on a corporate server. The issue I ran into it was the heavy use of Flash movies instead of text. Flash is cool because you are killing two birds with one stone -- you can supplant much of your training for the new system by hosting the training module on an internal server and pointing new users to it. However, without text it is difficult to search for a solution to problems. The next issue is the size of the tutorial. Flash movies take up much more space and eat up more of your bandwidth. They are not ideal for teaching someone something as simple as logging in which could probably have been done just as well with a simple Javascript slide show and some screen images.

Code review will have to wait until a later post. However, at this time I should mention that the software license appears to be missing. Nowadays, even though it can be annoying to do so, you should consider having a license message at the top of each and every source code file you release. If you don't have an open source license handy (they are freely available online for use) simply use the MIT license. Licensing protects you from legal liability. If someone uses your software and it winds up screwing something up you are normally not protected from liability simply because you give something away. Only a license that clearly says that there is no warranty will protect you in these instances.

Regarding naming: I'm not thrilled about the name of the system -- 'Java LIMS' or in some cases on the website it is referred to as the 'Bioinformatics LIMS'. That is why I've called it 'ICRISAT Java LIMS' instead. The other names are too general and it is fairly easy to confuse what you have built for someone else's work.

The next part of this series will start to move down the stack to other aspects of this LIMS like how it builds, testing, and some preliminary configuration/deployment tips.

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Citation: High-Level ICRISAT LIMS Review Part I. (2012). Retrieved Thu Jul 16 09:05:16 2020, from http://www.limsexpert.com/cgi-bin/bixchange/bixchange.cgi?pom=limsexpert3;iid=readMore;go=1343915940