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debian med packages in the ELIXIR registry

Dear all,

As some of you already know, the ELIXIR registry (http://elixir-registry.cbs.dtu.dk) is a project that aims at gathering an extensive list of bioinformatics tools and services, and publish them as a web-based database where users can search and locate relevant bioinformatics resources. There is a work, initiated by Steffen Möller and Tim Booth, to enable the automatic registration of debian-med packages as resources in this registry. I worked a bit with Steffen and Tim on this interface during the debian-med sprint.

The way it is currently done a new metadata file, called edam (for now), in the "upstream" directory of the package source, contains additional information not present in other files such as metadata, control, etc. The script parses all these files to produce a JSON file used to register the debian package in the registry. However, there are, as Andreas pointed out today, at least two problems with this approach:
- it includes the creation of an additional file to store information, potentially breaking downstream operations where this file is unexpected,
- it requires parsing multiple files with different formats, long and cumbersome task...
As a complete stranger to the debian packaging process, I would like
your opinion on these points:
- should we create this additional file or add the information in
another existing files? The goal here is obviously to reduce the
number of files which have to be edited, while minimizing the risk of
breaking anything in the packaging architecture.
- should we try, rather than parsing these files, to retrieve the information from the UDD? I'd personally prefer this option to the "parse n files" one, but it would also require to add the new information to the DB.

Thanks a lot in advance for sharing your remarks and opinion on this.


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