Labii electronic lab notebook (ELN) and laboratory information management system (LIMS)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Labii introduces 2 New Text Editors for ELN & LIMS

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Labii will be releasing a series of blogs to introduce cool new functions/features applied to Labii ELN & LIMS.

In this blog, we will discuss text editors.

A text editor is essential for Electronic Lab Notebook. It is the interface that allows you to document description details. With the upcoming new version of Labii ELN & LIMS, two text editors are included to meet various requirements and personal preferences.

There has been a huge debate on what type of editor we should develop inside of Labii. One idea is to build a rich-text editor with heavy functions. This rich-text editor would be similar to word documents or google docs, so no learning curve involved for new or current customers. Other functions like file attachment, mentions, inserting pictures and media files can be added to meet special requirements. To most users, an Electronic Lab Notebook is basically a text editor. A text editor like this can meet the majority of ELN requirements. The only drawback of such an editor is that it is difficult to develop and very hard to add new functions.

Labii ELN & LIMS Rich Text Editor.
Labii ELN & LIMS Rich Text Editor.
Compared to Plain Text, Rich Text has an additional toolbar for formatting the text. The Rich Text also supports mention, just type "@" to get started.

One other idea is to build a light-text editor. The light-text editor would be similar to a text area box and use markdown to format the styles. Sure, it is very easy to build and the versioning system can be easily applied. However, the users need to understand some basic concept of markdown to get started. People with some coding background usually prefer this editor because it is much lighter and easy to type on.

Labii ELN & LIMS Plain Text Editor.
Labii ELN & LIMS Plain Text Editor.
Type any text into the Plain Text editor, and your ELN is ready to go.

After much debate, Labii decided to integrate both editors into the new version of ELN & LIMS (due for release by end of February 2018). The two editors are called Plain Text and Rich Text. Both editors will come in the form of widgets. Users will have the freedom to choose which editor to use for each section of a note.  An example would be to create an experiment note.  A user can use Plain Text to add the overview or description and use Rich Text to insert some steps for a protocol. They can also add additional result sections with Rich Text editors. The choice of editors is up to the users. A sophisticated ELN user, who has a coding background, might use the Plain Text for the overview, steps and results sections.  People who prefer the rich text editor can use Rich Text for all of the experiment sections.

Only text data can be documented from both text editors. To document other file types or explore other features, please follow us to learn more about Labii widgets.

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