Science Flask is a web-app template for online
There are two main reasons for creating this template:
Unfortunately there's quite
a lot of horribly looking and barely functioning scientific tools online.
The reason behind this is simple: we are scientists and not
web-developers. Keeping up with the latest trends, learning CSS, HTML
and modern web dev practices is simply not in our job description
and certainly not in our salary or grant money. This,
however leads to two things:
Many amazing projects simply are not made available online, as the
authors didn't have time/know-how/energy/funding for doing that.
Many projects that do end up getting some form of online presence
look hideous, hard to maintain, built on old web tech
and are not very user-friendly.
While building CorrMapper
I realised that there's an incredible amount of overhead involved with
creating a fully functioning website, with user management, file uploads,
form validation, etc. You can learn Flask in about a weekend to a level
that you can understand code examples and start hacking away. But it
takes a long time to actually get a working website with all the
features listed above.
Here's the simple idea behind Science Flask:
Notice how everything in blue is non-specific to any scientific app. So
then why are we keep re-developing it? Ideally, scientists need not
to work on anything else than the green bit. Then they can plug
that into Science Flask with a few hours of work and have their
tool online in a day or two, instead of weeks.
Hopefully, by open-sourcing Science Flask, the activation energy for
turning an offline science project or research tool into a functioning
web-app will be lowered significantly. Hopefully this will not only mean
there'll be more science tools published, but also they'll look and feel
nicer and will be easier to use.
It would be great to build a small community around Science Flask,
so contributors are very welcome! For more info, documentation and
source code please visit the
Github page of the project.