When we talk about programming the LabWare LIMS, we have to be careful what we mean.

The Smalltalk

The LabWare LIMS / ELN core system is actually written in Smalltalk. That part of the system doesn’t get changed. There is no way to change it. That is not what we do on LabWare implementation projects.

The LIMS Basic

When we program the LabWare system, we use LIMS Basic. It’s a proprietary language. That means that this language is only used by this system. It’s written to give the programmers functions that directly relate to programming this system.

For example, in a standard programming language, you’re not going to have built-in functions such as LogSample, which is just one example of the types of functions you’ll get in a proprietery language, such as LIMS Basic.

So, with the exception of instrument integration which using the parsing scripts rather than LIMS Basic, or your database which will use whatever database tools that go with it, the programming will be done in LIMS Basic. We never use SmallTalk.

What Brings This Up

Recruiters will sometimes mention SmallTalk. When I question them, more, I come to find that that’s because the job req they’re looking to fill actually mentions SmallTalk. Never put SmallTalk in your job reqs. This comes from customer companies.

And, just one tiny bit of history: LabWare used to put out bits of SmallTalk code for special features. Customers would honestly sometimes hear about this and think they should be writing some SmallTalk code. But it’s been many, many years since LabWare has had this practice.

In General

In general, we don’t care what language a LIMS, ELN, LES or other system is written in. What we care about, and especially when you write your job reqs or look for consultants to work on your systems, is to mention the skills that the software vendor tells you you need in order to implement them. For LabWare LIMS, that would be LIMS Basic, never SmallTalk.

LIMS Basic Expert Needed?

So, if you need a LIMS Basic expert, feel free to contact me, right now. If you need someone who knows SmallTalk and is willing to try to hack your LabWare system with it, please move along…

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

2 Thoughts to “Labware LIMS / ELN: LIMS Basic Not Smalltalk”

  1. Brian Meadows

    Let me say up front that I never worked on a project involving LIMS Basic.

    However, having seen both sides of the coin (programming team for a non-LIMS system which provided a proprietary language for users, and working on systems which offered an API) I have to say that I would have far more faith in a system which provided an API than one which forced you into a proprietary language. If you want to do something which isn’t covered in the LIMS design, then it’s generally easy if you have a detailed API, but otherwise you’re reduced to doing things like parsing reports to get at the data. I had to do one project involving the latter approach, and we were forever chasing problems which we tracked down to occasional spurious (usually) control characters which changed the format of the listing . Give me a choice and I’ll take writing my own code with calls to an API every day of the week.

    1. As a side comment on your response, Brian, I’ll add that quite a number of software vendors, LIMS and otherwise, now use REST or SOAP, for example.

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