Marco Brandizi's Site

Welcome to a 5-min-lazyness site...

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Happy Releases with Maven and Bamboo

[Dilbert on Software Versions, courtesy of]
Maven has several nice plug-ins to automate almost all the stages of a release process. Whether it is changing your POM with a new version number, tagging your SCM or updating references in other POMs, you can do it by just a few command lines. Even better, you can put Maven goals into a continuous integration software and release with just a few clicks.

Emi-Immi-grato [Italian]

[The Others Are You, Source:]

...comunque c’è un noi è c’è un loro. E non è facile capire che chi siano esattamente noi e chi siano loro dipende dalla parte in cui ci si trova. Non è facile capire che per capire meglio bisogna fare lo sforzo di mettersi dall’altra parte. Non è facile capire che fare lo sforzo di capirsi conviene a tutti, può rendere migliore la vita di tutti. Non è facile rendersi conto che la storia del mondo, soprattutto dell’Europa, è in gran parte storia di migrazioni, le quali, al di là di inevitabili problemi, hanno prodotto evoluzione e progresso immensi. Non è facile ricordarsi che le migrazioni sono forze inarrestabili, che sono parte della nostra vita, a prescindere da come si sceglie di affrontarle, se assecondando le paure e l’ignoranza, oppure sforzandosi di capire e di mettersi nei panni degli altri...

ArrayExpress update--trends in database growth and links to data analysis tools.

Rustici, G., N. Kolesnikov, M. Brandizi, T. Burdett, M. Dylag, I. Emam, A. Farne, E. Hastings, J. Ison, M. Keays, et al., "ArrayExpress update--trends in database growth and links to data analysis tools.", Nucleic Acids Res, 2012 Nov 27.

The ArrayExpress Archive of Functional Genomics Data ( is one of three international functional genomics public data repositories, alongside the Gene Expression Omnibus at NCBI and the DDBJ Omics Archive, supporting peer-reviewed publications. It accepts data generated by sequencing or array-based technologies and currently contains data from almost a million assays, from over 30 000 experiments. The proportion of sequencing-based submissions has grown significantly over the last 2 years and has reached, in 2012, 15% of all new data. All data are available from ArrayExpress in MAGE-TAB format, which allows robust linking to data analysis and visualization tools, including Bioconductor and GenomeSpace. Additionally, R objects, for microarray data, and binary alignment format files, for sequencing data, have been generated for a significant proportion of ArrayExpress data.

Every Programmer has its Own Toolbox: jUtils

[Young Worker With his Toolbox - courtesy of]My personal lib of utils is now a quite public project, jUtils (part of ISA-Tools) and the code in it doesn't come from myself only any more. In this post, I'd like to give a brief overview of what it offers. Who knows, that bit you were about to code yourself might be described in the next paragraphs.

The Big Move (to Drupal 7)

[Drupal Faces, courtesy of]

WOW! This is the first (real) post on my site, after three (three!) years of stop. A lot of things to do, personal up and downs. But here I'd like to talk about another serious reasons why I haven't worked to this site for such a long time: I wanted to upgrade the version of Drupal, the CMS both this new and the old site were based on. Still at Drupal 4.7 version, the fact that they have come at 7 (and almost 8), started making me feel like I was walking over eggs (and you should feel the same in similar cyrcumstances).
I already expected this to be painful, so I've waited until I had some time and was inspired enough. And yes, first thing to say about is that Drupal has pros and cons and, among them, the upgrade process, despite significant improvement, is still a big thumb down. It took me several months of spare time to face it and below you find some account of this little adventure.

Disclaimer: this is going to be rather technical and if you want to embark on a similar experience, you'll do it at your own risk. If you don't even know what Drupal is (or a CMS), don't bother reading on...

graph2tab, a library to convert experimental workflow graphs into tabular formats.

Brandizi, M., N. Kurbatova, U. Sarkans, and P. Rocca-Serra, "graph2tab, a library to convert experimental workflow graphs into tabular formats.", Bioinformatics, 2012 May 3.


Motivations: Spreadsheet-like tabular formats are ever more popular in the biomedical field as a mean for experimental reporting. The problem of converting the graph of an experimental workflow into a table-based representation occurs in many such formats and is not easy to solve.

Results: We describe graph2tab, a library that implements methods to realise such a conversion in a size-optimised way. Our solution is generic and can be adapted to specific cases of data exporters or data converters that need to be implemented.

Availability and Implementation: The library source code and documentation are available at


Supplementary Information: A supplementary document describes the theoretical and technical details about the library implementation.

The BioSample Database (BioSD) at the European Bioinformatics Institute.

Gostev, M., A. Faulconbridge, M. Brandizi, J. Fernandez-Banet, U. Sarkans, A. Brazma, and H. Parkinson, "The BioSample Database (BioSD) at the European Bioinformatics Institute.", Nucleic Acids Res, vol. 40, issue Database issue, pp. D64-70, 2012 Jan.

The BioSample Database is a new database at EBI that stores information about biological samples used in molecular experiments, such as sequencing, gene expression or proteomics. The goals of the BioSample Database include: (i) recording and linking of sample information consistently within EBI databases such as ENA, ArrayExpress and PRIDE; (ii) minimizing data entry efforts for EBI database submitters by enabling submitting sample descriptions once and referencing them later in data submissions to assay databases and (iii) supporting cross database queries by sample characteristics. Each sample in the database is assigned an accession number.

Knowledge sharing and collaboration in translational research, and the DC-THERA Directory.

Splendiani, A., M. Gündel, J. M. Austyn, D. Cavalieri, C. Scognamiglio, and M. Brandizi, "Knowledge sharing and collaboration in translational research, and the DC-THERA Directory.", Brief Bioinform, vol. 12, issue 6, pp. 562-75, 2011 Nov.

...In this article we introduce the DC-THERA Directory, which is an information system designed to support knowledge management for this research community and beyond. We present how the use of metadata and Semantic Web technologies can effectively help to organize the knowledge generated by modern collaborative research, how these technologies can enable effective data management solutions during and beyond the project lifecycle, and how resources such as the DC-THERA Directory fit into the larger context of e-science...

Sofferenze [Italian]

[Ellekappa: che abbiamo fatto per meritarci questo schifo? A parte votarlo?]
Dal TG3 di oggi (al min 5)
- Giornalista Danilo Scarrone: Allora il suo disagio è finito, non va più con Fini, resta con Berlusconi
- Sen Massidda banderuola-che-soffre: Assolutamente no, devo ancora prendere una decisione. La mia sofferenza è stata trasmessa al leader...

God bless America: jailbreaking is legal!

[iPhone in prison]
Wired reports on the good news: US regulators declares that copyright law cannot be used to enforce jailbreaking. That is: Apple cannot use the copyright law and the DMCA to force...

La bomba di Giovanardi [Italian]

Il DC9 l'ha tirato giù una bomba. i comunisti mangiano i bambini. Si comincia sempre con le canne. Questo non è un sottosegretario, è uno stregone. Per chi non vuole farsi incantare, vedere qui.

Web 3.0 by Kate Ray

[Web 3.0 by Kate Ray]

Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Semantic Web, a short and simple introduction.

Internet closed, due to World Cup (and not only)

[Net Consumerism Icons]

Here we go again: World Cup begins and, as any other big sports event, on line TV from your country is blocked if you're abroad. And it's not the only restrictions that limit your freedom, including your chance to be a European citizen. There are technical solutions that allows one to overcome the sharks and you'll discover them in this post. Although there is quite more than that.



Il dissenno di prima [Italian]

[Vauro, da] Finché ci sono ancora, godiamoci gli scampoli di informazione degna del nome. Che fa riflettere sul come la vicenda del terremoto in Abruzzo sia la metafora del sisma infinito che devasta un paese intero. Che fa riflettere su come si potrebbe risorgere dalle macerie, se solo ci si svegliasse.


Obiettori pelosi [Italian]

[Covatutto, macchina incubatrice]

...Perché invece, domanda retorica, il legislatore non si occupa di mettere mano a questa ridicola contraddizione dei ginecoloci anti-abortisiti? Perché non si dibatte circa i pericoli per la salute, derivanti dal fatto che questa è in mano a certi personaggi? A persone, cioè, che aderiscono a sette clericali e pretendono, per altro per ipocrite ragioni di carriera, di mischiare la scienza medica con le mistificazioni superstiziose?

Per esempio, qualcuno si è mai chiesto che cosa succede ad una ragazza e alla sua vita...



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