The dataflow between the DUCKLING portal and NBCR OPAL services.


Brian Zhang, PRIME 2011 (China)

The Opal Dashboard service, provided by the National Biomedical Computational Resource (NBCR) at UCSD, is a routine service for NBCR biomedical community users. The web services are also available to support remote access by a third-party portal, DUCKLING. The DUCKLING portal, based on the open-source software DUCKLING, is a collaboration environment suite as well as a portlet container, which enables comprehensive resource sharing and collaboration specifically for research groups. DUCKLING is developed by the Collaboration Environment Research Center (CERC) at CNIC. PRAGMA has used the DUCKLING portal for all of its workshops beginning with PRAGMA18 in January 2010.

The goal of the project is to integrate an Opal web service client into the DUCKLING portal via the Opal web service interface. For this project, we have developed an Opal Dashboard with Duckling Portal, called the OPAL-DUCKLING Portal, which connects NBCR’s OPAL web services and CERC’s DUCKLING portal environment.

The OPAL-DUCKLING portal loads each application’s metadata by the web service protocol and automatically generates all user interfaces and forms for the applications which are deployed at NBCR. It also submits remote jobs to NBCR OPAL servers according to the collected information and tracks job output URLs. It is designed to be an environment to integrate various remote services, such as job submission, service monitoring, and content publishing. User authentication and authorization are also available in the OPAL-DUCKLING Portal.

The integration of the Opal Web service client into the DUCKLING portal provides an open-source collaboration environment where authenticated users may access scientific applications exposed as web services using the Opal toolkit. Because Opal servers cache user job output for only a limited amount of time, future development of OPAL-DUCKLING may support user data management, including access to the data cloud from the DUCKLING portal. For more on the Opal Dashboard, go to; on DUCKLING; on OPAL-DUCKLING, visit the portal at

PARTICIPATING RESEARCHERS: CNIC: Guangyuan Liu, Jianjun Yu, Kejun Dong, Kai Nan; NBCR/UCSD: Jane Ren, Wendy Fong, Wilfred Li