BioJS : Opensource JS framework for Biological Data

Visualization of large-data has always been a challenge for researchers in biology/computational biology. In recent years, web-applications has been very instrumental for dissemination of research works, outreach activities and global collaboration. Large number of web-applications exist for visualization of biological data. Nevertheless, a co-ordinated community effort to develop a successful framework using JavaScript, was still due. Previously we have seen a number of platforms/languages approached to create libraries/frameworks like BioPerl, BioJava, Bio++ etc. Published on 23 February 2013, BioJs, finally closed the gap.

In use since 1995, JavaScript is now at the core of almost all interactive-functionality we see on the web.  For Rich Internet Application (RIA) development, most developers now-a-days rely on JavaScript. Interestingly, most of the bioinformatics web-applications currently in action rely on perl/python/cgi for interactivity; old-style cgi based application are widely used whilst true potential of JavaScript are easily ignored.

Architectural representation of a typical BioJS application. BioJS core include event and event handler classes. (abdridged from original publication: http://bioinformatics.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/02/23/bioinformatics.btt100.abstract)
[featured-img] Architectural representation of a typical BioJS application.
BioJS core include event and event handler classes. (abdridged from original publication)

Developed by a group of researchers around the globe, BioJS is a library of open source modules in JavaScript for Life Sciences. Library includes many common functionalities such as PDB file viewer, Chromosome viewer. These modules offers re-utilization of existing components within what, seems to be a one-stop shop for bioinformatics web-app developers.  These are freely available for public use. Even taking extensions in jQuery project in consideration, this framework appears to be the most extensive collection of open source JavaScript biological widgets.

With 29 components available now, BioJS provides a framework for development graphical components, implemented in JavaScript. Surely we are to see a lot more new components/modules. Like the authors said, the success of the project can only be measured by reduction of overall development time for new web applications for biological data visualisation.

In near future, I hope to write a review as user of this package.

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