Tag Archives: gui

Code freeze of Taverna 1.7.1

We’re hopefully doing our code freeze for Taverna 1.7.1 today, 2008-03-28.

There’s a few bug fixes, in addition to quite a bit of work on t2. There will also be a drag-and-drop-able, interactive workflow editor, basically you can edit the workflow by connecting lines between the processors. Those of you who remember Taverna 1.4 might notice that this is something we’ve had hidden in the shelves for a bit, we hope that as we bring it back this time it will be a bit more usable as an alternative way to build workflows. You will still be able to flip to the “Graphical” tab for the classic non-interactive (but usually prettier) diagram.

The t2 plugin will now be a bit more usable with support for BioMoby, we’ve also made the BioMart support use streaming so that as soon as the first row of the BioMart result set has been received, it will immediately be pushed down to the next step in the workflow. Further on, the results of those operations will also be streamed on immediately before the full list is processed. For large datasets this should significantly improve the execution time of the workflow.

The t2 plugin also now has a graphical representation of the workflow as it’s running, with progress bars. Note that when doing streaming the progress bar can look a bit weird as results are coming in – say initially processor 2 has finished 4 of 5 items, but 5 new ones comes in from above, then the progress bar will jump from 80% (4/5) to 40% (4/10). But the cool thing is that you will be able to almost see the data as it’s flowing through, almost like pipes with pumps between them. We’re planning to add more features to this view, say to let you click on a processor as it’s running and have a look, perhaps tweak some parameters or go deeper in detail.

After the 1.7.1 release, which we’re predicting will be out in about a week (2008-04-07), we’ll focus fully on the 2.0 release for June 2008. The 2.0 release will feature the t2 enactor as the core engine, and some graphical updates as well. We’ll try to post more on the progress for 2.0 here as we go along.

Future visions

Writing a User Interface is quite often the hardest part of any development job. Everyone likes different look and feel and they seem to take forever to develop. I tend to hand code using Swing (Java’s default GUI) because I have not found an interactive GUI designer which I am comfortable with. In the (not so) distant past I used Delphi which had a really nice, intuitive GUI builder and I have also played around with the OSX development tools so why doesn’t Java have something as good. Maybe the old style application is dead and browser embedded GUIs are the way to go? The Nintendo Wii and the iPhone have shown what you can do with some lateral thinking (and a large budget). Check out http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0awjPUkBXOU&feature=related for a vision of the future.

The Taverna 2 (T2) development continues with the initial release planned for late June. Although most of the team are collocated on one site (Manchester University, UK), Taverna is an open source project. However, we have not had much “external” development for a while and this is something we will address with T2. The plan is for both user and developer forums nearer the time (real and virtual (maybe via irc)) and to promote T2 and it’s open source ideals at all the conferences etc. that we attend. One of the problems we face is having a governance regime which can handle external contributions in a controlled manner. There are lots of successful open source projects out there and they must have solved this problem. You can look forward to a “Vote for this feature” on the new look Taverna/myGrid website soon(-ish)!

Also, OMII-UK – which Taverna is part of – has been accepted as a mentoring organisation in this year’s Google Summer of Code. Maybe you would like to develop some cool code for us and the open source community!!