As we near the commercial release of LabArchives as well as testing at the NIH, I am reflecting on the amazing progress made by our Development and IT teams over the last year. LabArchives is emerging as an extremely easy to use yet powerful tool that we believe will improve the efficiency of many investigators throughout the world. Our team owes a huge round of “Thanks” to our Beta-testers, many of whom have provided us with excellent suggestions for enhancements (not to mention the location of a few “bugs”), and we are very grateful for their contribution.
We are also excited about two incredible partnerships with other scientific software companies that will benefit many of our mutual customers. Via the LabArchives API (Applications Program Interface), we have been able to collaborate with our partners so that LabArchives interacts with their software.
Our partner from the inception of LabArchives was GraphPad Software, developers of the very popular Prism software which is a powerful combination of biostatistics, curve fitting (nonlinear regression) and scientific graphing in one comprehensive program (www.graphpad.com) which is currently used by tens of thousands of scientists throughout the world. GraphPad has modified Prism and is will be providing a free update to registered users of Version 5 (5.04 for Windows, 5.0d for Mac) which interacts directly with LabArchives via our API. Users of the latest release of Prism (which should be released within a few weeks) will be able to save Prism files directly to LabArchives; when they are modified, they can be automatically sent back to the same Notebook page (where, of course, all copies are preserved).
Our most recent partner is Treestar Software, makers of the popular and powerful flow cytometry analysis software, FlowJo (www.flowjo.com), who are currently updating their software to work with LabArchives in a couple of important ways. In addition to adding the ability to save FlowJo Workspaces, this software is also being enhanced to enable users to automatically query their LabArchives Notebooks and retrieve *.fcs files based on a variety of criteria.
It was a suggestion from the people at Treestar that also led to a new desktop utility that will make this interaction even more powerful. We are currently testing a program known as “FolderMonitor” that can be installed on any PC and is used to automatically transfer files in specified locations and of the desired types into the LabArchives Notebook. So, for example, you can install FolderMonitor on the PC that is connected to your flow cytometer and instruct it to automatically send all raw *.fcs files to your Notebook. There, using our new “Inbox Rules” function, these files can be organized within your Notebook. As we developed FolderMonitor, we realized that this program can be used for a wide variety of functions…not only for uploading files from automated laboratory instruments.
For those of you who may be attending the the Cytometry Development Workshop (CDW 2010) in Monterey next week, we plan to demonstrate the latest release of LabArchives in interaction with FlowJo. We look forward to meeting the Treestar / FlowJo development team in person and to brainstorming about additional ways in which we can improve connectivity between our products.
As I mentioned, we are also getting ready for testing of LabArchives at the NIH next month. We were thrilled when LabArchives was selected as one of only 3 such programs to be considered for adoption by the NIH, and look forward to starting our test (now scheduled for November 16). We are also grateful to the NIH team who had some specific requirements that we have been able to incorporate into our product. Perhaps most notably, our team as put together a Desktop version of LabArchives that enables you to work offline, and then “sync” your data back to the server when you are connected. I will Blog about the test progress once we get started.
Once again, I would like to thank our entire team, our partners at GraphPad and Treestar, our Beta testers, the NIH, and everyone else who has contributed to the development of LabArchives. We look forward to our commercial release in the next few weeks.