mORCA: Ubiquitous access to life science Web Services
mORCA is a mobile client able to efficiently integrate different type of web-services repositories mapping metadata over a general definition to support scalable service discovery and to achieve flexible inter-communication between tools. mORCA manages repositories heterogeneity supported by the Modular-API that provides a uniform view of metadata (e.g. GRID-based, WSDL–services, BioMoby and others), making the integration of bioinformatics Web-Services easier.
Background: Technical advances in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have produced an extraordinary increase in their use around the world and have become part of our daily lives. The possibility of carrying these devices in a pocket, particularly mobile phones, has enabled ubiquitous access to Internet resources. Furthermore, in the life sciences world there has been a vast proliferation of data types and services that finish as Web Services. This suggests the need for research into mobile clients to deal with life sciences applications for effective usage and exploitation.
Results: Starting from the analysis of existing functionality in current bioinformatics clients for Web Services, we have designed, implemented, and deployed an easy-to-use web-based lightweight mobile client. This client is able to browse, select, compose parameters, invoke, and monitor the execution of Web Services stored in catalogues or central repositories. The client is also able to deal with huge amounts of data between external storage mounts. In addition, we also present a validation use case, which illustrates the usage of the application while executing, monitoring, and exploring the results of a registered service. The software and its source code is publicly available.
Conclusions: Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important in the scientific world due to their strong potential impact on scientific applications. Bioinformatics should not fall behind this trend. We present an original software client that deals with the intrinsic limitations of such devices and propose different guidelines to provide location-independent access to computational resources in bioinformatics and biomedicine. Its modular design makes it easily expandable with the inclusion of new repositories, tools, types of visualization, etc.
This work was partially supported by the ISCIII (projects: PT13.001.012 and RD12.013.006) and the EU Comission through the Mr.SBM project, code 324554 and the ELIXIR-EXCELERATE project (INFRADEV-1-H2020 Code 676559). The publication fees of this work were funded by the EU Comission through the Mr.SBM project, code 324554.