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Genestack’s Key Ideas

key-stillfx-sstockChatting on Facebook, a friend asked to explain a bit about Genestack Platform, how it was different from Galaxy. So, here’s the response.

Here are some Key Ideas about Genestack Platform, just to grab a few. First Key Idea is that we’re format-free. You never have to think about fastq/sam/bam/vcf or any of that mumbo-jumbo again, it “just works.” Users work with biological data types, and any conversions are dealt with by app developers, and for this we provide tools.

Second Key Idea is about writing full applications: with an interactive UI, visualisations, and a computational part. With an SDK to support this kind of development. So we provide nice APIs for this, for Javascript, for Java, for Python, etc. Of course, you can use it also to just wrap a third-party tool or an R script and make it a format-free script.

Our Third Key Idea is to do with reproducibility of research and it is about being data-centric, rather than process-centric as in Galaxy. Rather than running apps, you create files, linked as dependencies. We have a very neat way of capturing and replaying these data flows. You can take any file produced in Genestack Platform and say “I want to create more like this.”

Our Fourth Key Idea is about data sharing and shared computing. We make it easy to import data from public repositories, and compute on public and private data securely. Our file system was designed just for that: create a folder, add interesting GEO datasets, some imported from ENA and some of your own (you never have to convert or prepare any formats!) and start analysing, sharing, visualising, and so forth.

So, overall we aim for a much more clean end-user experience and a much more enjoyable bioinformatics developer experience. We’re geeks and hackers at heart :) There are lots of other interesting details like better security, an original data sharing model, scalability, rich metainfo system, file naming, I could go on.

One ultimate, important thing is that it’s a complete new operating system, with well-defined applications, processes, and files (with metadata, references, etc.), extendable and supported. We built a strong foundation and are developing and providing an SDK and APIs to build powerful applications on top of it.

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