Tuesday, 26 March 2013

New (RESTful) interface for InterPro

In September 2012, InterPro launched a new look and feel for its website (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/interpro/).  We re-designed the pages based on feedback from our users (we did a lot of usability testing, user surveys and talking to people directly about what they wanted from our website).  We hope that, as a consequence, people have found it much easier to find the information they need and the site more enjoyable to use.
The redesigning of the website was almost entirely cosmetic and very little of the underlying codebase and database was changed before it was released. However, immediately after launching the re-styled site, we decided to re-factor the entire web application and its back-end database. This may seem like a back-to-front way to do things but in fact, doing things that way round meant we were confident that all of the data we were delivering through our web app was utilised in some way. Rather than using our production database schema (as in the past), instead we generated a new query-optimised warehouse, and a Spring MVC web application was built on top of that. The new web site that we launched on March 11th is faster, less prone to failures and much easier for the team to maintain (hurrah!) An additional happy consequence is that we've been able to produce RESTful URLs for the data in InterPro.  

For example, if you:

There are RESTful URLs for all of the entry and protein entity pages in InterPro.  Please take a look around the site and let us know if there are any features that you think we should add.  If you link to us already, please update to using these new URLs in your resource.

on behalf of the InterPro team

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