Development of a user-friendly system for image processing of electron microscopy by integrating a web browser and PIONE with Eos.

Research paper by Takafumi T Tsukamoto, Takuo T Yasunaga

Indexed on: 02 Nov '14Published on: 02 Nov '14Published in: Microscopy (Oxford, England)


Eos (Extensible object-oriented system) is one of the powerful applications for image processing of electron micrographs. In usual cases, Eos works with only character user interfaces (CUI) under the operating systems (OS) such as OS-X or Linux, not user-friendly. Thus, users of Eos need to be expert at image processing of electron micrographs, and have a little knowledge of computer science, as well. However, all the persons who require Eos does not an expert for CUI. Thus we extended Eos to a web system independent of OS with graphical user interfaces (GUI) by integrating web browser.Advantage to use web browser is not only to extend Eos with GUI, but also extend Eos to work under distributed computational environment. Using Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) technology, we implemented more comfortable user-interface on web browser. Eos has more than 400 commands related to image processing for electron microscopy, and the usage of each command is different from each other. Since the beginning of development, Eos has managed their user-interface by using the interface definition file of "OptionControlFile" written in CSV (Comma-Separated Value) format, i.e., Each command has "OptionControlFile", which notes information for interface and its usage generation. Developed GUI system called "Zephyr" (Zone for Easy Processing of HYpermedia Resources) also accessed "OptionControlFIle" and produced a web user-interface automatically, because its mechanism is mature and convenient,The basic actions of client side system was implemented properly and can supply auto-generation of web-form, which has functions of execution, image preview, file-uploading to a web server. Thus the system can execute Eos commands with unique options for each commands, and process image analysis. There remain problems of image file format for visualization and workspace for analysis: The image file format information is useful to check whether the input/output file is correct and we also need to provide common workspace for analysis because the client is physically separated from a server. We solved the file format problem by extension of rules of OptionControlFile of Eos. Furthermore, to solve workspace problems, we have developed two type of system. The first system is to use only local environments. The user runs a web server provided by Eos, access to a web client through a web browser, and manipulate the local files with GUI on the web browser. The second system is employing PIONE (Process-rule for Input/Output Negotiation Environment), which is our developing platform that works under heterogenic distributed environment. The users can put their resources, such as microscopic images, text files and so on, into the server-side environment supported by PIONE, and so experts can write PIONE rule definition, which defines a workflow of image processing. PIONE run each image processing on suitable computers, following the defined rule. PIONE has the ability of interactive manipulation, and user is able to try a command with various setting values. In this situation, we contribute to auto-generation of GUI for a PIONE workflow.As advanced functions, we have developed a module to log user actions. The logs include information such as setting values in image processing, procedure of commands and so on. If we use the logs effectively, we can get a lot of advantages. For example, when an expert may discover some know-how of image processing, other users can also share logs including his know-hows and so we may obtain recommendation workflow of image analysis, if we analyze logs. To implement social platform of image processing for electron microscopists, we have developed system infrastructure, as well.