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Frequently Asked Questions

Which Workflow Systems are supported?

You can use myExperiment to share workflows for use in any workflow system. We provide extra support (such as metadata handling, service extraction, visualisation, enactment) for particular systems. At this stage we are working foremost with the Taverna Workflow Workbench (T1 and T2) and with Galaxy, and other systems include Microsoft's Trident. We are particularly interested to work with people to provide support for Kepler and Pipeline Pilot. Please contact us about your favourite workflow system.

Can I share things other than workflows?

Yes. We can provide support for new "contributable types" (e.g. we are currently developing support for statistical models and for experimental plans used on Electronic Lab Notebooks). Support for sharing collections of things (both inside and outside myExperiment) is provided through the Packs mechanism, which is designed to interoperate with the emerging OAI-ORE standard.

Is the API available?

Yes. myExperiment has a simple RESTful API and we encourage you to use it. Documentation is available on http://www.myexperiment.org/mashup/api . Our development team warmly welcomes new API users. See the Developer Pages on this Wiki for more information.

There is also a RDF API and SPARQL Endpoint. The SPARQL endpoint has an excellent tutorial and is a popualr demo of Linked Data.

Do you support remote repositories?

We are developing integration with digital repositories so that you can have "virtual content" of any size on myExperiment. We support any remote objects that can be accessed via a URI and we are specifically looking at repositories supporting the OAI harvesting protocol, such as ePrints. We have also conducted feasibility studies with S3 and dropbox. Please contact us about your favourite repository.

Can I execute workflows from myExperiment?

As well as sharing workflows, our goal is that myExperiment will be integrated with remote execution services for supported workflow systems, so that users can run workflows from myExperiment and from other interfaces which use myExperiment functionality. Taverna execution support is available for T1 and T2 will be available after the T2 server is relased. Please contact us about your favourite workflow system. We anticipate that web-based interfaces and functionality mashups will become the predominant interfaces to workflow systems, especially in a multiworkflow environment.

What are you working on at the moment?

The Development team has completed a list of new features (below) and is now working on the "RO-Enabled myExperiment"

  • Linked data support
  • Digital library integration
  • Relationships between items in packs
  • Improved search ranking and faceted browsing
  • New contribution types
  • Skinning

See Roadmap for further information.

Why not use Facebook?

The myExperiment project is producing software that anyone can download and use, and it especially caters for the attribution, licensing and sharing models required by our science users, together with integration with their work and publishing environments. This makes it quite different to Facebook. Two of our developer projects have created myExperiment Facebook apps.

Why not use a portal solution?

myExperiment focuses on providing social infrastructure for sharing. It can be used as a "skin" over existing portals, repositories and registries. Equally, portals may make use of myExperiment functionality behind the scenes. One of our design principles is to "bring myExperiment to the user" i.e. to enable myExperiment functionality to be brought through existing interfaces, and we have deliberately aimed the human interfaces that we provide (the website, and Google gadgets) at the next generation of scientists. We hope that myExperiment encourages and informs a debate about portal approaches.

Can I download the myExperiment software?

Yes. myExperiment is Open Source software written in Ruby on Rails and is maintained on GitHub and available under the BSD 3-clause licence and should run on any modern Linux distribution. You might want to look at installation instructions for Ubuntu and Fedora, or simply try out the corresponding installers.

Please contact us with any queries about installation or just to let us know what you're doing and how you get on.

We can also assist with running myExperiment virtualised and can provide you with an image, which is the solution we use on in-house servers. We have a Contributors License Agreement available following a similar model to the CLA for Taverna. We also have a virtual machine image available - contact bugs@myexperiment.org for details.