Frequently Asked Questions

Who uses LabKey?

Please see Platform Users for a representative list. To further explore usage of LabKey Server, see our list of publications and our showcase of public sites.

Who builds LabKey?

LabKey software is designed by the researchers who use it, working in collaboration with professional software developers. Many, but not all, of the developers work for LabKey Corporation (www.labkey.com), a company founded by FHCRC and former FHCRC employees, based in Seattle, WA. Publications authored by the LabKey team are available here.

When will the next version be released?

Approximate release dates can be found in our release schedule.

Who owns the software?

Whomever contributes source code to the project maintains ownership of their code and signifies ownership via copyright notice in the source code files. Each contributor grants a perpetual transferable license to their work to the LabKey Software Foundation (www.labkey.org) under terms of the Apache Software License. LabKey.org, an independent, not-for-profit organization, then re-licenses all the source code to third parties under the same terms at no charge. LabKey.org is governed by its members, and membership is open to individuals who contribute to the software's success. The LabKey Server documentation is also available under the Apache License, just like the source code.

Why use the Apache License?

The Apache License is a broadly used, commerce-friendly open source license that provides maximum flexibility to consumers and contributors alike. In particular, anyone may modify Apache-licensed code and redistribute or resell the resulting work without being required to release your modifications as open source.

Do I need to cite LabKey Server?

If you use LabKey Server for your work, we request that you cite LabKey Server in relevant papers.

How can I get involved?

There are many ways to get involved with the project. Researchers can download and evaluate the software. You can join community forums for Proteomics, Flow Cytometry, and Study. Java Developers can enlist in the project, set up the build environment, and join the Developers Center. Research networks, laboratories, foundations, and government funding agencies can sponsor future development. Software vendors can develop proprietary modules. Instrument vendors are free to bundle, extend, and re-license or resell the software.

Who funds LabKey's development?

LabKey has been built under contract with FHCRC, NCI, The Canary Foundation, Duke University, NIAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Immune Tolerance Network, the University of Washington, and others. In most cases funding agencies sponsor investigators using ordinary granting mechanisms, and the investigators contract with LabKey Corporation to extend the software to meet their lab's needs. Most extensions are then bundled into the core distribution and re-licensed for free with source code back to the community.

What language is the software written in?

The software is written in Java and runs on most modern operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Solaris, and Mac OSX. It can be customized and extended by skilled Java programmers.

How mature is the software?

First deployed in 2004, the system is in heavy production use and under active development. New versions are released three times per year. Existing installations can be upgraded in place to new versions. Scientific modules generally evolve through a 4-phase life cycle: design development, single-lab deployment, limited multi-lab deployment, and production release.

How is the software constructed?

The system includes a set of core shared services such as security, web-based user interface, and relational database access. Independent modules provide scientific functionality for proteomics, client & observational study management, flow cytometry, Elisa, Luminex, NAb, microarray, and DNA sequencing. New modules are added every release.

How much does it cost?

All source code distributed from this web site is free. Third-parties can provide binary distributions with or without modifications under any terms that are consistent with the Apache License. LabKey Corporation provides binary distributions for free and with commercial support. Developers interested in building from source or creating new modules should visit the Developer Center.

What equipment do I need to run LabKey?

LabKey acts as a web server and relies on a relational database server. It can be installed and run on a stand-alone PC, but is most commonly deployed in production in a networked server environment. Single laboratory installations can be run on a single dedicated computer. Core proteomics facilities use LabKey to manage cluster pipelines with hundreds of machines.

What skills does my organization need to manage the software?

LabKey is server-based software that interacts with other computers on your network. You should plan on identifying personnel to perform two roles: a network administrator and an application administrator.

What can I expect from LabKey documentation?

LabKey documentation is edited live. When a section is actively being reworked, subject to developer review, or under construction for a future release of LabKey Server, we will endeavor to place notices on the relevant pages to avoid confusion. For example, This page is currently under construction awaiting review.

How can I find documentation for older versions of LabKey Server?

Release notes and links to archived documentation are available here.

How do I know which version of LabKey Server I am running?

  • Find your version number at Admin -> Site -> Admin Console.
  • Under Module Information, look at the version number for the Core module -- this is the version number for your installation of LabKey Server.

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