Samuel Moijueh
Samuel Moijueh
Year: 2011

Implementing an RSS feed into the sol genomics website using the PERL programming language

The Sol Genomics Network (SGN) is an open-source plant genomics database where researchers and agriculturalists can exchange information. However, this database previously did not have an RSS feed available to dynamically keep SGN users aware of any updates made to the database. Thus, the objective of this project was to implement an RSS feed that would make it easier for users to collaborate and share the latest information whenever it is updated, and access aggregated content from the central repository even if they are not in the SGN database. The Perl modules used to automate the process of generating feeds were XML::Feed, Catalyst::Model::XML::Feed, and Date::Calc. Essentially, the script resides in a URL; when the user clicks link (calls the URL), thescript parses the database for loci and then automatically generates the feed. A webpage was also designed using HTML, Javascript, among others to display all the available feeds on the Sol Genomics Network. An RSS feed will prove to a great addition to the Sol Genomics Network.

My Experience

This summer I worked on implementing an RSS feed into the sol genomics websites, a plant genome database, using PERL programming language. In today’s modern world, many websites, news services and blogs are using RSS feeds as a competitive means of syndicating or distributing their content over the web. Similarly, professors in academia, scientists in research institutions or even researchers in industry and development want to stay-up-date with the increasing knowledge in plant genomes – an RSS feed would be a great tool to ensure this. Thus, an RSS feed on the sol genomics datebase does not only make it easier for scientists to share and collaborate information but is also a highly marketable feature for generating revenue via RSS traffic advertising services such as Pheedo.

I am finishing my rotation at BTI with the bioinformatic interns. This experience has been helpful in getting me engaged into the field of bioinformatics. This summer I learned how to program in Perl. Specifically, I have learned how to write a simple program, run it and write tests to ensure its working properly, and if necessary debugging the program. I have also gotten more comfortable working in the Linux command line. Additionally, I learned quite a bit about the necessary websites and tools one should learn as a bioinformatician. For example, BLAST, SQL, github, RNA sequencing, dotplot, among others. Aside from acquiring these technical skills, this summer I developed a better sense of what I would like to study in graduate school. I like how the weekly seminars have exposed me to different kinds of research and what is required to earn a PhD. I also liked working with a mentor. The cxgn work channel reminded me that there was always help available. I have enjoyed my work at BTI. I recommend incoming interns or undergraduate scientists to come with an open mind and be prepared to work.

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