October 15, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 18)
Strong Points: Extensive help section, online and downloadable versions
Weak Points: None
The sky is the limit when it comes to Galaxy, an open, web-based platform to facilitate analysis of large bioinformatics datasets such as those resulting from next-gen sequencing experiments. A joint venture between departments at Penn State and Emory University, Galaxy can be accessed from the project homepage, which provides links to both the web-based public server as well as a downloadable version for local use. Galaxy is compatible with the Python programming language, so the downloadable version is amenable to further development by individual researchers. The Galaxy project homepage includes a link to an extensive how-to wiki page that contains multiple tutorials from many sources. Thus, even researchers who have never before dealt with large datasets should be able to quickly (and painlessly) get started working with their data in Galaxy. There is a free and simple registration step that is required for full functionality of the web-based tool, such as access to saved histories, workflows, and data visualizations.