SENAITE, Professional Open Source LIMS. The evolution of Bika LIMS

Riding Bytes and Naralabs join efforts in bringing Open Source Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS/LIS) to the next level. Today they are proud to announce the first official release of SENAITE

Three months ago, Riding Bytes and Naralabs decided to join efforts in bringing Open Source Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) to the next level. Now, after 3 months of hard work, Riding Bytes and Naralabs are proud to finally announce the first official release of SENAITE. This announcement comes at the beginning of a new year, and we also want this release to be the beginning of a new era for Open Source LIMS. So, without further ado, let us present you the SENAITE project.


SENAITE is a beautiful trigonal, oil-green to greenish black crystal, with almost the hardness of a diamond. Although the crystal is described with a complex formula, it has still clear and straight shapes. Therefore, it reflects nicely the complexity of the LIMS, while providing a modern, intuitive and friendly user interface (UI) and –experience (UX).

What is SENAITE?

SENAITE is an Open Source LIMS for enterprise environments. It is especially focused on high speed, excellent performance and stability. It currently ships with an integrated JSON API, has a user friendly GUI and provides rich UI components. It is a derivative work of Bika LIMS software, built on top of Plone CMS with Python as its main programming language. There have been many architectural changes with respect to its predecessor Bika LIMS. The one we would like to highlight is that we have moved away from the monolithic application Bika LIMS has become, which hinders maintenance tasks and makes it harder for newcomers to contribute to the project.

Instead, we have developed SENAITE as a system of independent add-ons. This, combined with high quality code standards, makes the application much easier to maintain and to contribute to. Furthermore, it allows SENAITE to stay level with emerging laboratory requirements. To help in achieving so, SENAITE is developed under the paradigm of continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD).

Why an Open Source LIMS?

An Open Source LIMS provides many competitive advantages over proprietary LIMS. First of all, we can focus all efforts and resources to implement custom-made LIMS. Furthermore, it allows to respond to specific customer needs and to save licensing costs. Last but not least, customers benefit from improvements and other developments made world-wide by the SENAITE Open Source community.

The main point of Open Source software is providing open and unrestricted access to the program source code. This means that clients can modify the application at will, without having to engage the services of any provider. And if you want to hire a service provider, you are free to entrust the maintenance or development to any of them without a vendor lock-in at any time.

The continued development by the community, the sponsorship of new functionalities by customers and the debate generated by the users on distribution lists ensure a high quality product with a constant growth in new features and enhancements. Both the customer and the community benefit from these improvements and new features without additional costs, with the ability to communicate freely and make proposals and feature requests to a worldwide community that grows every day.

How does SENAITE work?

The heart of SENAITE is SENAITE CORE, which provides the base functionalities of a mature and secure LIMS.

The way to interact with SENAITE CORE is SENAITE LIMS. Its predecessor Bika LIMS depends heavily on JavaScript, and most of the logic is custom built with jQuery. While this is applicable for smaller projects, it is almost impossible to maintain in larger projects. Therefore, SENAITE LIMS introduces modern JavaScript frameworks like ReactJS, BackboneJS or AngularJS to provide a robust user interface which follows industry standards. Last but not least, SENAITE LIMS follows a mobile first approach and is built with Twitter Bootstrap. This makes it possible and easy to operate in the web interface with tablets and smart devices.

But the story does not end here. SENAITE ships with a complete RESTful JSON API built on plone.jsonapi.routes, which serves as the main communication interface between SENAITE CORE and any kind of modern web framework. This makes great web applications like the Spotlight Search or the Plone Commander possible and allows frontend developers to interface custom web application with SENAITE CORE.

You can check the actual SENAITE software family in SENAITE Organization page on GitHub.

What are the future plans?

A part from constantly improving and frequently releasing better versions of SENAITE CORE and SENAITE LIMS there are some new add-ons planned or under development that will push SENAITE even further.

One of the add-ons currently under development is a synchronization tool (SENAITE SYNC) that will allow to synchronize or import data between two different SENAITE instances or between a Bika LIMS instance and a SENAITE instance. There are also plans to develop a QC add-on that will make it possible to apply Westgard rules, multi rules and Levey-Jennings charts in SENAITE. Another planned add-on is the implementation of the ASTM communication protocol.

Who is behind SENAITE?

Currently, the two main companies that support and develop SENAITE are Riding Bytes and Naralabs.

Riding Bytes is a German-based company, providing professional open source services for enterprises of all sizes. It is specialized in interfacing these systems into existing IT infrastructures and delivering full-stack services from consulting to administration and software development, with a special focus on the areas of lab- and healthcare systems.

Naralabs is a Spain-based company specializing in Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) and offers professional technology services and engineering, such as consulting, implementation, training, system maintenance and technical support. It observes, and is committed with, the Professional Open Source (POSS) business model adopted by many successful software organizations.

In addition to that, there is a growing community that has already embraced SENAITE and constantly contributes in improving SENAITE and making it better.

SENAITE: Walking on the shoulders of giants

Only with the power of the whole mankind it is possible to create something great. This will make our lives good to better and ultimately better to best. We are striving to achieve exactly this with the SENAITE Project and we are proud of what we all achieved until today. By working together and combining all our knowledge and expertise in this passionate project. What started small is getting bigger, ideas are spreading and visions become real. This all originates not from a single person, but from all individuals who ever contributed to this project. We are walking on their shoulders, those of giants.

Want to know more?

You can always visit the SENAITE Organization repository, the official website. Also, do not hesitate to contact us via our user mailing list or by joining our chat room on Gitter.