Analysis method development

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BioUML analysis method is a function which takes some user-defined parameters, processes them somehow (probably using repository elements and databases) and produces some results, storing them in the repository. This page describes implementation details on how to create your own analysis method.

If you want to create your analysis method in new plugin, please read plugin development page first.



To create analysis method, you should create at least three classes:

  1. Analysis class: class implementing AnalysisMethod interface. It's strongly recommended to extend AnalysisMethodSupport class parameterizing it via parameters class.
  2. Parameters class: bean class for analysis parameters, which must implement AnalysisParameters interface. It's strongly recommended to extend AbstractAnalysisParameters class.
  3. Bean info for parameters class: class implementing BeanInfo interface which describes parameters class. Must have the same name as parameters class with BeanInfo suffix. It's strongly recommended to extend BeanInfoEx2 class.

The following naming conventions are used. Consider, you want to create some analysis to "process data". Then analysis class should be named as ProcessData or ProcessDataAnalysis, parameters class should be named as ProcessDataParameters and bean info for parameters class should be named as ProcessDataParametersBeanInfo.

If your analysis has not very much code, you may consider putting parameters class and its bean info as nested static classes into analysis class in the following manner:

public class ProcessDataAnalysis extends AnalysisMethodSupport<ProcessDataAnalysis.ProcessDataParameters>
  public static class ProcessDataParameters extends AbstractAnalysisParameters

  public static class ProcessDataParametersBeanInfo extends BeanInfoEx2


To make your analysis available in the tree, you must register it as extension for ru.biosoft.analysis.method extension point. Consider also creating method description HTML file and JavaScript host object (or use existing one).

Implementing parameters

Parameters class must have default constructor and getter and setter methods for all parameters used in analysis method. Setters must call Option.firePropertyChange superclass method. Getters can be annotated using @PropertyName and @PropertyDescription annotations. Usual implementation look like this:

public class ProcessDataParameters extends AbstractAnalysisParameters
  private DataElementPath inputPath, outputPath;
  private String myStringParameter;
  private boolean myBooleanParameter;

  @PropertyName("Input table")
  @PropertyDescription("Table to process")
  public DataElementPath getInputPath()
    return inputPath;
  public void setInputPath(DataElementPath inputPath)
    Object oldValue = this.inputPath;
    this.inputPath = inputPath;
    firePropertyChange("inputPath", oldValue, this.inputPath);

  @PropertyName("String parameter")
  @PropertyDescription("String which will be used during processing")
  public String getMyStringParameter()
    return myStringParameter;

  public void setMyStringParameter(String myStringParameter)
    Object oldValue = this.myStringParameter;
    this.myStringParameter = myStringParameter;
    firePropertyChange("myStringParameter", oldValue, myStringParameter);

  @PropertyName("Verbose output")
  @PropertyDescription("Whether to print additional messages during processing")
  public boolean isMyBooleanParameter()
    return myBooleanParameter;

  public void setMyBooleanParameter(boolean myBooleanParameter)
    Object oldValue = this.myBooleanParameter;
    this.myBooleanParameter = myBooleanParameter;
    firePropertyChange("myBooleanParameter", oldValue, myBooleanParameter);

Parameter types

Many parameter types are supported, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Primitive types (boolean, short, int, long, float, double);
  • String for textual parameters;
  • DataElementPath for paths to the repository elements (both for inputs and outputs);
  • DataElementPathSet for sets of input repository elements;
  • Species for selection of species from preinstalled list;
  • BasicGenomeSelector and GenomeSelector for convenient selection of the genome (either in preinstalled database or user-uploaded);
  • Color for color selection;
  • Java arrays of any supported types (array elements can be added or deleted by user).

You may use your own bean as complex parameter type, but the following requirements should be met:

  • Your bean should extend Option class.
  • Your bean should be serializable via TextUtil.fromString/TextUtil.toString methods. See text serialization for details.

Writing bean info class for parameters

Bean info class must have the same name as parameters class with BeanInfo suffix. It must have default constructor which calls superclass constructor passing parameters class name:

public class ProcessDataParametersBeanInfo extends BeanInfoEx2
  public ProcessDataParametersBeanInfo()

To register parameters override BeanInfoEx.initProperties() superclass method. For each parameter you should create PropertyDescriptor and add it via BeanInfoEx2.add(PropertyDescriptor) superclass method. There are also some helper methods defined in BeanInfoEx2 which make things easier:

  • add(String name) - create PropertyDescriptor with default getter/setter names and add it.
  • add(String name, Class<?> editor) - the same as above, but also sets custom property editor class.
  • addHidden(String name, String hiddenMethodName) - create conditionally hidden option. The hiddenMethodName is name of parameters class method which takes no parameters and returns boolean value (true if parameter must be hidden)
  • addHidden(String name, Class<?> editor, String hiddenMethodName) - the same as above, but also sets custom property editor class.

and so on.

Parameters will appear in the form in the registration order. By convention first should be input repository elements, then other parameters and finally output repository elements. If parameter X depends on parameter Y, then X must be registered after Y.

Registering complex parameters

For simple data types like primitives or String calling add(parameterName) is enough to register the parameter. In case of more complex parameters special editor must be set as well as some additional PropertyDescriptor parameters. Usually this can be done using special convenience methods.

  • Repository elements should be registered via static methods defined in DataElementPathEditor:
    • Use DataElementPathEditor.registerInput methods to register input element (user will be forced to select existing element of given type).
    • Use DataElementPathEditor.registerInputMulti methods to register set of input elements (user will be able to select several elemens using Ctrl or Shift buttons).
    • Use DataElementPathEditor.registerOutput methods to register output element (user will be asked for confirmation to overwrite an existing item).
  • Type-table-icon.png Table column name selector should be registered via static methods defined in ColumnNameSelector:
    • Use ColumnNameSelector.registerSelector methods to allow selection of any column.
    • Use ColumnNameSelector.registerNumericSelector methods to allow selection of numerical column only.
    Note: column name must be defined as String in parameters class and its default value must be either NONE_COLUMN or any existing column (not null).
  • Set of Type-table-icon.png table column names should be registered via static methods defined in ColumnNamesSelector:
    • Use ColumnNameSelector.registerSelector methods to allow selection of any columns.
    • Use ColumnNameSelector.registerNumericSelector methods to allow selection of numerical columns only.
    Note: column names must be defined as String[] in parameters class.
  • Selector for predefined species can be registered using DataElementComboBoxSelector.registerSelector method with SPECIES_PATH as collectionPath parameter.
  • Selector for reference type should be registered via ReferenceTypeSelector.registerSelector methods.
  • For Color parameter type set ColorEditor property editor class.

Creating custom parameter editor

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Implementing analysis

If your analysis extends AnalysisMethodSupport abstract class, then it's necessary to create constructor and override AnalysisMethodSupport.justAnalyzeAndPut method where actual analysis must be performed. Normally constructor looks like this:

public ProcessData(DataCollection<?> origin, String name)
  super(origin, name, new ProcessDataParameters());

Adding any other initialization code is not recommended. It's better to initialize analysis inside AnalysisMethodSupport.justAnalyzeAndPut method.

Analysis parameters are accessible in AnalysisMethodSupport.parameters field.

justAnalyzeAndPut implementation

The justAnalyzeAndPut method is called at most once per analysis class object. If user launches the same analysis several times, new objects will be created.

The return value of this method can be either resulting element or Java array of resulting elements. System will try to store analysis parameters in these elements info and open them automatically. Return null if your analysis don't create any result (but throw an exception if your analysis should be considered as failed).

Parameters validation

Analysis parameters are validated before justAnalyzeAndPut is called.

By default only repository paths are validated. The following validations are performed:

  • Input elements must exist, must have the requested element type and reference type (if it was constrained).
  • Parent collection for output element must exist. If it doesn't exist, validator will try to create this collection.
  • Parent collection for output element must be writable.
  • It must be possible to save the requested output element type to the parent collection.
  • Output path cannot be the same as any of input paths.

To add your own validation code, override AnalysisMethodSupport.validateParameters() method. There are some handy check* methods in AnalysisMethodSupport class which will make basic validations easy.

Please remember that even if user interface doesn't allow to enter invalid value (for example, restricting choise with drop-down list), parameters can be filled in the various ways:

Thus you may still encounter values which might be impossible to enter using UI controls.


To log messages during analysis execution, use AnalysisMethodSupport.log logger instance. This instance is connected with analysis or workflow log. In case of unrecoverable error, it's better to throw BioUML exception out of justAnalyzeAndPut method than to log it by yourself.

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