Open-LIMS Analysis Results

(Ref Id: 1304895280)

Visiting the Open-LIMS site reveals some good looking graphics and project notes. The project is hosted on Sourceforge.net and there are downloads available. So, how do you think the project is doing? I took a quick look at the source code and I can say that I have no clue to how to get it running.

From Sourceforge file update page it appears that the last update to the code was in January of 2011. I scanned the code repeatedly for any SQL code to create the back end database and simply could not find anything -- no SQL file, no data manipulation language (DML) statements embedded in the numerous PHP files included in the project. The project developers host a bug tracking site and a sample server online but the released code appears to be unusable in its present state. There is apparently no README or INSTALL file anywhere in the release either.

The code does expect there to be a relational database present. Take this SQL from the language.access.php file:

$sql = "SELECT * FROM ".self::LANGUAGE_TABLE." 
WHERE id='".$language_id."'";
The surrounding code appears to be using fairly standard database access methods. For instance, in several files you can see the database handle being set:
$db = new Database("postgresql");

So what makes me think that this project is nearing production quality? Well, for one thing there is a demo server and screen prints on the Open-LIMS website. Perusing the code reveals that there are quite a few files -- 333 PHP files according to my last count. That is a lot of code for something completely unusable. And the database code must be somewhere...it is simply absent from the source code release. This is of interest because it is a LIMS produced in a language that is very accessible, PHP. Lots of developers know this language or can at least pick it up quickly. There also appears to be an initiative to make this system modular, which is a plus.

There are some drawbacks that I can see from these early versions of the code. First, the system appears to insist upon the presence of several PHP modules like one for IMagick and GD, presumably for some kind of graphics processing. This may be necessary for graph production on the server side, but there are JavaScript tools that can produce fairly good looking charts like Google Chart Tools without the need to install anything extra. I personally found the need to include these modules a drawback since I was not planning on creating any charts. I just wanted to create some samples and enter some data. These modules should probably be optional.

I'm eagerly awaiting the next release of this software and I honestly hope this is not a dead project. At minimum I hope the database creation script can be made available so that a more thorough independent set of tests can be run.

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Citation: Open-LIMS Analysis Results. (2011). Retrieved Mon May 1 02:11:44 2017, from http://www.limsexpert.com/cgi-bin/bixchange/bixchange.cgi?pom=limsexpert3;iid=readMore;go=1304895280