Item Description: A collection of bioinformatics modules

Review Synopsis:

This is a review of the BioPerl modules. These modules are not used to not be available through CPAN, so they must be obtained from the BioPerl website., so you used to have to get them from the BioPerl website. That is no longer true, you can now use the standard CPAN shell to install BioPerl. This is a large set of modules covering several bioinformatics tasks. This will be a fairly high level review, as there are 174 modules that make up this set (the full install is 5.4 M). The most recent release as of this writing is 0.7.1, and there is a developers release (that I have not looked at) 0.9.

The prerequisites are nothing out of the ordinary: LWP, IO::String, XML::Node, and XML::Writer, though BioPerl does provide interfaces for several programs and databases, so to work with those, you will obviously need to have them too. Bundle::BioPerl will install all of the prerequisites for you, though I installed doing the make tango and the installation was flawless; a few tests failed out of over 1000, but that wasn't a big deal.

There are several module groups:

In all honesty, I have used only a few of these modules. The majority of them are very specialized, so a "general practitioner" like me is unlikely to need them often. There are so many modules here that it is difficult to know if a problem you have might be addressed by BioPerl, which is why I undertook writing this review. I hope it has been helpful to you, and if you have any experience with BioPerl, please add your comments.

Special thanks to the other members of my group, and especially Ben Faga (not a monk, but still a good Perl programmer), for their input and insight while writing this review, as well as Arguile for pointing out that BioPerl is now available at CPAN.

New note 2002-05-20: I plan on bringing this up to date for BioPerl v1.0 as soon as possible.