A year ago, we set some big goals for LabKey and shared them on this blog. These goals have guided our development decisions over the last 12 months and helped us deliver many valuable features and platform enhancements to the 500+ organizations using LabKey solutions to power their research.
2018 Development Highlights
One of our key goals for 2018 was to expand the platform’s feature set to support key scenarios we were consistently hearing from customers. This led to the addition of a number of new features in 2018, with a particular emphasis on support for HIPAA, FISMA, and CFR Part 11 compliance, expansion of our support for the RStudio and RStudio Pro analysis packages, and the automation and expansion of data acquisition options through pipeline file watchers, a new ETL user interface, and integration with cloud storage providers.
Another key goal for LabKey’s 2018 development was to deliver on the functional roadmap for the LabKey Biologics product. The LabKey Biologics team added a suite of features to help teams organize experiment data as well as improvements to the usability of existing features.
Our final focus of 2018 was to strengthen both the backend technology infrastructure and the front-end user interface of the core LabKey platform. The LabKey team implemented a number of important security features including anti virus scanning, CSRF protection, captcha, API keys and spam protection for message boards to ensure the platform’s on-going security. We also implemented and tested support for the latest versions of all key dependencies (OpenJDK 11, PostgreSQL 11, Tomcat 9, SQL Server 2017, MySQL 8.0).
As we kick-off 2019, LabKey is continuing to look to users for feedback and development direction. Building on the success of feedback collection efforts made in 2018, we will introduce new ways for users to review and respond to development plans to ensure they align with real-world workflows.
Core areas of focus for 2019 development include:
Sample management is an area of major investment and feature expansion for 2019. Building on LabKey Server’s existing foundation of sample management features, the LabKey team is working to develop a suite of new capabilities to support the registration and structured collection of sample related data, tracking of sample lineage, and facilitation of laboratory workflows.
In Fall of 2017, LabKey introduced a redesigned user interface that significantly improved the look and feel of the LabKey Server interface. This year we are focused on enhancing the usability of the platform; identifying and improving common workflows that currently provide a difficult experience for users. Our initial focus area of focus is on improving the data import experience, simplifying the process of integrating data into LabKey.
Analytics Tool Integration
New support for integration with popular external analytics tools will be added over the course of 2019. Support for Tableau, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft Excel via ODBC is currently in active development and scheduled for release as part of LabKey Server 19.1 in March. These tools were selected as the result of a user feedback survey that was distributed last Fall.
Technology & Process Enhancements
Since LabKey’s inception as a standalone company, supporting our customers with a stable and reliable technology foundation has been a key priority. In 2019, we are making significant investments to upgrade our tools, libraries, and processes to leverage cutting edge software technologies in the products we deliver and to keep our team efficient. We are fully embracing technologies like Git, React, and Selenium 3, and recently transitioned our development process from Scrum to Kanban to increase the team’s productivity and transparency, and respond more rapidly to our customers’ requests. The team will also implement support for upcoming dependency releases including OpenJDK 12/13, SQL Server 2019, and PostgreSQL 12 as they are introduced throughout this year.
As we ramp up development efforts in 2019, we encourage you to engage with us. Your success is our mission, and as such, it critically important that we understand how we can enhance and evolve the LabKey Server platform to best support you.
VP of Product Strategy
Watch Adam’s “LabKey Update” presentation from this year’s LabKey User Conference for a full recap of 2018 and what’s coming in 2019.