I'm in a quandry - I have a Masters project (bioinformatics) next year and I have to choose a framework for developing a website/processing centre/general allround functionality. Open Source is an absolute must.


  • look reasonably good (not a huge priority)

  • capable of heavy-duty processing - i.e. performing phylogenetic analyses/drawing trees - this is extremely computationally intensive.

  • be able to perform ad-hoc queries against a PostgreSQL database and/or databases on the web using REST interfaces.

  • be able to perform multi-server work eventually

I'm thinking the Java ecosphere or node.js

I'd be interested in ideas/opinions/references/URLS/whatever on the pros and cons of both frameworks for a general purpose web-development environment, capable of heavy-hitting when necessary! I know that Java can be used for processing intensive work - but I have read that Javascript is not suited for this - good for presentation but not heavy-lifting. Does node.js change this?

If I have to learn something, I would prefer to use the same language both server- and client-side, but the processing capabilities take priority!

  • "capable of heavy-duty processing": The kind of processing that runs for weeks on a distributed cluster? If so, you would be better off first choosing a heavy-duty processing tool with a integration-friendly web UI, and then choosing a web framework that can show it, for instance as an IFrame portlet in Liferay.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 8:25
  • Could you please edit the title? It is far too generic, and does not reflect the gist of the question. Thanks! :-)
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 8:26
  • Please also replace "general allround functionality" with more specific examples.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 8:27
  • @NicolasRaoul - have edited my question. I hope this clarifies matters?
    – Vérace
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 9:30
  • Do you want the extremely computationally intensive tasks to be performed on several computers? Or only on the same computer that is also being used as a web server? All web servers have a "time out" of a few minutes. This timeout can be configured, but configuring it to hours is often not a supported use case.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 12:16

1 Answer 1


I would suggest taking a close look at the Django or Flask - both are:

  • python based,
  • Free, Gratis & Open Source
  • Rapid prototyping and development
  • Cross platform
  • Have very helpful & active communites
  • Can produce very good looking web sites take a look at Public Broadcasting Service, Instagram, Mozilla, The Washington Times, Disqus, Bitbucket, and Nextdoor all Django based or Pinterest Flask.
  • Being python based you can use and interface with the rest of the python ecosystem with tools such as SciPy, Pandas, Jupyter, Biopython
  • There is a wealth of tools & literature for bioinformatics & geographic information systems in Python.

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