UPGRADING WITH A FORUM

Drupal and MyLabBook icons

We have upgraded the MyLabBook.org website with a new look and with a new forum. Our hope is that the forum will foster greater interaction among those who are interested in using Drupal as a lab informatics platform and can serve as a knowledge base of sorts for those who are exploring options for laboratory informatics platforms, especially those of the open source variety. After monitoring the open source landscape for laboratory informatics platforms for several years, it is apparent that there is a need for a more robust venue to have these discussions.

After monitoring the open source landscape for laboratory informatics platforms for several years, it is apparent that there is a need for a more robust venue to have these discussions.

We have also expanded our horizons to look at not only the Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) segment, but the lab informatics segment as a whole. Especially for a capable Content Management System (CMS) like Drupal, it makes sense to leverage more of its capabilities for the myriad of ways in which lab managers seek to manage not only the collection of data but also manage their data analysis, data exchange, samples, inventory and workflow. Ultimately all of these aspects need to be taken into account within most educational or industrial labs. While there are advantages to keeping tools small, simple and independent there are also advantages to having integrated tools. Hopefully with the modular nature of Drupal, labs can share in the advantages of both of these approaches - the simple as well as the integrated.

On another note, we have looked at upgrading the informatics platform that we use for the UH BTEC 3100 class to use Drupal 8. However, one of the critical features for our students is the ability to map the locations of their samples on a Google map. The Google map module and the associated Location module do not appear to be ready for production yet, so we are holding off on the upgrade for now. We are looking forward to being able to move to the Drupal 8 platform as soon as possible, though, given its more robust object oriented basis with Symfony and its many other enhancements.