[BiO BB] [Portal Web Design for Bioinformatics] How to start and cross platform issues

Chris Upton cupton at uvic.ca
Fri Sep 25 15:00:38 EDT 2009

And remember, large numbers in the life sciences and in bioinformatics use Mac OS X.


On 9/25/09 11:34 AM, "J.W. Bizzaro" <jeff at bioinformatics.org> wrote:

Hi Robert,

The separation of server-side software (e.g., PHP, ASP, etc.) from client-side software (browser and plugin) is an aspect of the Web that has made it so flexible and successful.  As long as the software that you choose to run on the client-side (e.g., JavaScript and plugins such as Flash, etc.) is widely supported on multiple platforms, it doesn't matter what you choose to run on the server-side.

So, you can set up a server that runs on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Commodore 64, or whatever, and people can access your site on any platform that supports the client software that you use, if you even use anything beyond HTML.

Technically speaking, many bioinformatics portals work on the "model-view-controller" (MVC) paradigm, intentionally or not.  Here's some more information on the topic:


Applied to the Web, the model resides on the server (e.g., in MySQL), while the view and controller reside on the client (e.g., browser and plugin).

If you choose to use a plugin and not just JavaScript, be sure that it is supported on multiple platforms.  Microsoft solutions are always best supported on Windows computers, including plugins.  Mac OS is a second-class citizen to Microsoft, and Linux barely exists.  For Linux, it is often left up to a third-party developer (e.g., Novell) to develop clones of Microsoft applications (e.g., Novell Mono attempts to bring .NET to Linux).  ActiveX and Silverlight are two examples of where Microsoft doesn't make their own plugins for Linux (AFAIK).


Robert lzw wrote:
> Hi there,
> I am a newbie to web design for bioinformatics and going to design a portal
> web page similar to the following link:
> http://www.eh3.uc.edu:8080/GenomicsPortals/
> It looks that the above portal was designed on Unix/Linux using JavaScript
> and Microsoft FrontPage 5.0 processing datasets in MySQL database. As I only
> have MS Visual Studio 2008 Prof software, I plan to go with ASP.NET and
> ADO.NET to do it for processing datasets in SQL databases.
> Does anybody know if this will work? Can the portal web pages designed based
> on Windows .NET framework be browsed without any problem on Linux/Unix.
> i.e., other platforms than the Windows? Regardless, any suggestions on how
> to start designing such a portal web page (books, online resources,
> framework and tools) would be highly appreciated. I need a general, correct
> direction to follow. Thank you very much in advance.

J.W. Bizzaro
Bioinformatics Organization, Inc. (Bioinformatics.Org)
E-mail: jeff at bioinformatics.org
Phone:  +1 978 621 8258

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