Developer's Manual

This manual is intended to be an overview of all MISO's major development areas. If you feel that anything is missing, please let us know.

Module Overview

MISO is divided into several modules, some of which are separate applications or libraries which may also be used in external applications.

Module Subdirectory Description
MISO Core core the heart of MISO which models the domain of NGS metadata and underpins the other modules
miso-dto miso-dto data transfer objects primarily to be JSON-serialized in the REST API
MISO Integration Tools integration-tools miscellaneous utilities for working with external libraries
MISO MVC miso-web web front-end, including Spring MVC and REST Controllers, JSPs, and Javascript
miso-service miso-service service layer containing business logic between the persistence layer and front-end
MISO SQL Store sqlstore persistence layer
pinery-miso pinery-miso Implementation of Pinery REST API for serving MISO LIMS data to other applications
migration migration a separate application which can be extended to facilitate migration of data from a different LIMS


Domain Model

Core Behavioral Interfaces

Interface Description
Aliasable Defines objects that have a human-readable identifying 'alias' field
Barcodable Defines whether an implementing object is able to be identified by a barcode string. This interface also defines a label text property which can be used to provide abstraction of a number of member properties into a printable string.
Boxable Defines whether an implementing object can be stored in a Box
ChangeLoggable Defines objects that have change logs written to the database
Deletable Defines whether an implementing object is deletable by the system. The isDeletable() method defines a contract for ascertaining whether the object has any dependencies that prevent it from being removed, e.g. child members.
Identifiable Defines objects which have an unique ID field. This ID is used as the database primary key
Locatable Defines whether an implementing object is able to be located by a barcode string, e.g. a freezer shelf barcode.
Nameable Defines whether an implementing object is able to be identified by a unique long and named by a string. This name may or may not be unique depending on the given NamingScheme applied (see Naming Schemes). This interface is heavily used in MISO for all persistable objects.

Core Model Interfaces

These interfaces represent the objects that store state inherent to the MISO model, and are a superset of the EBI SRA domain model schema. This means that as object fields are inputted by technicians/auxiliary tools using MISO, the submission schema for the SRA is being populated behind-the-scenes. Decorators are then used to wrap up the synonymous objects so that SRA XMLs can be generated.

Object Description
Project a collection of studies, samples, and libraries
Study represents more fine-grained information about the sequencing Project
Sample the physical material received upon which sample preparation, QC and library preparations are carried out
Library the first step in constructing sequenceable material from a Sample
LibraryAliquot portion of a library, possibly diluted, ready to be added to a pool
Pool contains one or more library aliquots that are ready to be sequenced
Order a request for sequencing a specific pool using specific run parameters
SequencerPartitionContainer the physical unit that holds pools during sequencing (Flowcell/Slide)
Run a sequencer run
SequencerReference a hardware sequencer
Box storage box which holds barcoded sample/library/library aliquot/pool tubes

Enumerated Types

MISO has two categories of enumerated types: those that are actual Java enums, and those that are database-defined.


These concrete enums are intended to provide collections of relatively static instances of descriptive definitions.

  • HealthType
  • IlluminaChemistry
  • KitType
  • MisoAuthority
  • PlatformType
  • ProgressType
  • StrStatus
  • SubmissionActionType

Database definition types

Unlike their enum conterparts, these type definitions are instances of database entities. The primary reason for this is to simplify management of types that may be institute-specific. Another is that some of these types follow the enumerations specified in the Experiment SRA common schema, and are liable to change.

  • LibrarySelectionType
  • LibraryStrategyType
  • LibraryType
  • QcType

Naming Schemes

All Nameable entities in MISO should conform to a Naming Scheme. This ensures consistency of human-readable names across entity space, and allows centralised validation with no requirement of extra code (backend or frontend) on an external developer's part. The alias attribute on Sample and Library can also be generated and/or validated by the naming scheme.


Interface Description
NameGenerator provides automatic naming for a specific object field
NameValidator ensures correctness of a specific object field, whether generated or entered manually
NamingScheme coordinates usage of a collection of generators and validators
NamingSchemeResolverService resolves naming schemes, generators, and validators given a configured property value. The default implementation simply uses static String mappings



API access to the underlying filesystem is made available through implementors of the FilesManager interface. This interface defines a contract to, based on a properties-supplied base directory (see Web Application Configuration), generate temporary files, store files and retrieve files from disk, and list files within a given storage directory. The default file storage path is:


It is very important that all the underlying directories exist and are writable by the user that runs the MISO instance, but at any rate MISO will attempt to check and create these paths if not.

This manager provides a mechanism to standardise file output into specific directories based on Java object types (simple class names, lowercased) and qualifiers. These qualifiers are a simple string which can be kept constant by the implementor for a given field, e.g. object entity ID. So, for example, sample delivery forms can be generated and stored under a Project type and qualifier. The code to do this looks something like:

File f = misoFileManager.getNewFile(
           "SampleDeliveryForm-" + LimsUtils.getCurrentDateAsString() + ".odt");

A project with ID 1 and stored in the default file storage directory on the 31st May 2013 will result in the following path structure:


MISO also obfuscates the actual filename and path within the web application user interfaces by using the file object's hashcode.


API access to any registered Issue trackers, e.g. JIRA, RT, Redmine, Mantis, is made available through implementors of the IssueTrackerManager interface. The IssueTrackerManager interface has the @Spi annotation, allowing any custom managers to be automatically resolved at runtime by using the @ServiceProvider annotation on any concrete classes. The interface itself is very simple, with only three methods to override: getType() which represents the underlying issue tracker enum, e.g. "JIRA", getBaseTrackerUrl() which represents the REST API base URL of the tracker service, and getIssue(String issueKey) which actually does the work of grabbing the issue and representing it as a JSONObject.

Issue tracker managers allow integration with external issue trackers, removing the need to context switch between MISO and said tracker by a user. An example of this feature is in the Project page, where one or more issue IDs can be supplied which will import the issue details from the tracker's API. Currently the only default supported implementation is JIRA, as provided by the JiraIssueManager class.

Database and Schema

The MISO database is created and updated using Flyway migrations.

Creating a New Database

  1. First, check out the branch you'd like to build the DB for via Github
    • If you want the OICR base data to be included, this should be oicr/oicr, or another branch derived from it
    • If you just want the base MISO data, this should be tgac/develop, or another branch derived from it
  2. Next, build the entire MISO project

    mvn clean install
  3. If you don't yet have a MySQL Database, create one. Also create a user with write access. e.g.

    CREATE USER misouser@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
    GRANT ALL ON miso.* TO misouser@localhost;
  4. Configure Flyway in MISO. This is done by creating the file: miso-lims/sqlstore/


    This file is gitignored, so you don't have to worry about your credentials ending up on Github 5. If you have an existing database that you'd like to clear and rebuild, run Flyway Clean to wipe it out

    cd sqlstore
    mvn flyway:clean
  5. Finally, run the migrations

    cd sqlstore
    mvn flyway:migrate

Updating an Existing Database

  1. Check out and build MISO as described in steps 1-2 of Creating a New Database (above)
  2. Run Flyway Migrate. Only new migrations will be run
    cd sqlstore
    mvn flyway:migrate

Adding New Database Migrations

There are a few things to keep in mind when adding Flyway migrations

  • SQL Migrations are located in miso-lims/sqlstore/src/main/resources/db/migration
  • All schema updates should be added to the tgac/develop branch
  • institute-specific data (not schema) should be added in an institute-specific fork/branch
  • There should be no institute-specific schema
  • Schema changes must be done using SQL that is valid in both MySQL and the MySQL mode of H2. Refer to the H2 documentation, as it does not include 100% of the MySQL syntax. Some of the minor differences are automatically translated to work with H2 during test build. This is done by a Groovy script run via Maven
  • Most data changes should be between -- StartNoTest and -- EndNoTest comments to ensure that they don't affect unit or integration tests. This also means that data changes do not have to be compatible with H2
  • Schema changes should never be excluded from tests
  • Triggers, stored procedures, and views should be created either in a beforeMigrate or afterMigrate script. These can be found in the migration_beforeMigrate and migration_afterMigrate subdirectories respectively. These scripts are run during every Flyway Migrate run, which means the triggers, procedures and views are recreated each time in-case of schema changes. This means that the CREATE statements must be preceded by DROP statements, or something similar
  • Data additions (Tissue Origins, Kits, etc.) should usually be in an afterMigrate script

Persistence Layer

Hibernate is used for Object-Relational Mapping (ORM). JPA/Hibernate annotations are used in the model classes to define columns, joins, constraints, and other database info. The Data Access Objects (DAOs) found in the sqlstore module are then only responsible for doing simple reads and writes as (usually) dictated by the Service layer. DAOs should only be consumed by the Service layer.

Service Layer

The Service layer, found in the miso-service layer, contains all the business logic involved in correctly storing and retrieving things from the database. To ensure data consistency, all database access in MISO should be done through a Service class rather than using the DAOs directly. Beyond data storage and retrieval via the DAO's, the Service layer's responsibilities include

  • Authorization checks using an AuthorizationManager
  • Name generation using a NamingScheme
  • Validation in cases where database constraints are not strong enough
  • Updating timestamps and userId fields such as creationDate and lastModifier
  • Ensuring that only fields which should be modifiable can be modified

Web Application

The main MISO web application is powered by the Spring framework, notably Spring MVC. This allows powerful webapp configuration and tailoring via Spring XML and annotations, making functionality like the REST API a breeze. Here, we will go through the MISO elements that comprise the web application layer.


A great deal of MISO can be configured at the Spring XML level, making it easy for developers to swap out existing MISO implementations for their own, via Dependency Injection. MISO uses the usual web.xml to define properties relevant to the webapp container, and a number of Spring configuration XML files for the core application itself:

Configuration file Description
web.xml Configures the web application with respect to the web container, e.g. Tomcat. Allows mapping of URLs to DispatcherServlets, and the inclusion of any relevant filters or logging framework configuration property files
applicationContext.xml Configures the central application location and pulls in the configuration files below
miso-servlet.xml Defines low-level MISO webapp-centric elements. Very little configuration should go in here
miso-config.xml High-level user-space MISO bean configuration
db-config.xml Configures access to the underlying datasource
jdbc-security-config.xml / ldap-security-config.xml Database and LDAP specific configuration, respectively. JDBC configuration is the initial default, and is the simplest mechanism to get started. If you would like more fine-grained access to a directory-style authentication and role assignment mechanism, then LDAP support is also available
integration-config.xml Configures elements in the integration layer, e.g. analysis server


The REST API is used primarily to support AJAX on the front-end. Because the model classes may be very complex and sometimes contain a deep graph of nested objects, they are converted to simpler Data Transfer Objects (DTO) before serializion to JSON.

Run Scanner



Unit Tests

Tests are run through jUnit 4 via Maven. It is configured to run any classes with names ending in "Test" in the test sources. Generally, all new code should be unit tested. The Maven Cobertura plugin can be used to generate a coverage report. SonarQube also analyses test coverage.

DAO Testing

Test Database

A test database is created in memory for DAO testing. It is an H2 database running in MySQL mode. The database understands most MySQL syntax, but is not perfect. A Groovy script is used to copy the production schemas and make a few changes to them so that H2 will be happy. Flyway is used to migrate the test schemas into the test database.

WARNING: Eclipse will show a lifecycle mapping error in sqlstore/pom.xml. This is because the groovy-maven-plugin isn't compatible with Eclipse's m2e (Maven) plugin. The tests can still be run in Eclipse, but you must first do a mvn clean install outside of Eclipse, so that Maven will run the schema translator.

Test Data

Test data is populated via Flyway from the script test_data.sql

Flyway is configured to look for any files in the migration directory ending with .test.sql. They must include version numbers higher than the production schema versions so that they are run after the tables are created.


DAO test classes should all extend AbstractDAOTest. The abstract class includes the annotations necessary to make the test database available. It also makes your tests transactional, so any database changes made in a test case are rolled back before the next test case runs. In your test class, you can autowire the SessionFactory and JdbcTemplate, and pass those to your DAO to make it access the test database. You can also create mocks for the DAO's other dependencies using Mockito:

public class SQLRunDAOTest extends AbstractDAOTest {

  private JdbcTemplate jdbcTemplate;

  @Mock private Store<SecurityProfile> securityProfileDAO;

  @InjectMocks private SQLRunDAO dao;

  public void setup() {


UI Integration Testing

UI integration tests should all extend AbstractIT for similar reasons as the DAO tests listed above. The UI tests run Selenium against a Tomcat instance using MySQL in Docker. UI integration tests can be run using:

mvn clean verify -DskipITs=false -DrunPlainITs

To run a specific IT test class, use:

mvn clean verify -DskipITs=false -Dit.test=NameOfITTestClass

To spin up an instance of Tomcat populated with the IT test data, use:

mvn clean verify -DskipITs=false -DcargoInitGoal=run

This will cause Tomcat to start but will not run any tests. You can access this Tomcat at http://localhost:$PORT, where $PORT is the port listed in the console output once the Tomcat has finished starting up. As Tomcat is not running tests, it will have to be killed with Ctrl-C and the MySQL Docker container will have to be manually cleaned up.