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Make2D-DB II

The Make2D-DB II Package

current version: 3.10.2 -- December 2011

The Make2D-DB II Site on ExPASy - For an up-to-date documentation, news and FAQ

Read-Me: Main

Related documents:


The Make2D-DB II is an environment to create, convert, interconnect and keep up-to-date 2-DE databases. Being open source (cf. license), it is distributed totally free of charge.

The tool converts federated 2-DE databases from text format (flat file format), as well as spreadsheets (e.g. excel reports) or simple text reports, into a relational format. It also creates new relational databases from scratch. It runs on any UNIX-type operating system (Linux, Solaris/SunOS, IRIX). Being continuously developed, the tool is evolving in concert with the current Proteomics Standards Initiative.

Due to its concept, The Make2D-DB II ensures a very high consistency of data. It allows dynamic interconnection between any number of remote databases/projects and offers many other features. Those features include automatic data updates related to external data resources, dynamic cross-references to similar databases, an intuitive search engine with data visualization and exports in various formats.

With this tool, one can easily convert any existing personal 2-DE data into a more reliable format.

In addition to those features, the tool extends the concept of 2-DE databases to cover a more elaborate description of proteomic experiments and analysis. Currently, it can integrate various annotation documents (e.g. sample and gel preparation), as well as many common analysis file formats (e.g. Mass Spectrometry, mzData, etc..). References to other remote repositories can also be easily integrated (e.g. PRIDE for MS/MS related data). Users can also define their own types of annotations and easily integrate them within their data representation.

Even with no local data, any laboratory can easily build up an intuitive Web portal accessing as many remote 2-DE resources as desired.

The Web interface appearance can be
personalized for everyone's taste. Data can be marked to be public, as well as fully or partially private. An administration Web interface, highly secured, makes external data integration, data export, data privacy control, database publication and versions' control a very easy task to perform.


The tool can easily run without any specific technical knowledge.

In its current version (2.50), it checks deeply the syntax and consistency of the data to be converted (if available), points out any encountered ambiguity or error and suggests corrections in many cases. If the maps are annotated with Melanie / ImageMasterTM 2D Platinum software, exports from this software in XML or text reports are directly read, otherwise simple text files (referenced in this document as "reports"), spreadsheets (tab-delimited exports from excel, CSV) or SWISS-2DPAGE-like flat files are adequate.

Once the maps and spots' annotations are captured, the data is converted into a consistent relational database schema. This schema is composed of four distinct parts. One to hold the 'core' data (including the not-yet-public data, as well as all operations concerning data management), a second for publicly accessible data, a third that keeps track of all modifications applied to the database throughout its history, and finally a fourth part to hold common procedures needed by both the 'core' and the public schema.

Once installed, queries can then be addressed using the provided Web interface. An interface that is easily configurable and adaptable for personal tests and needs. A graphical viewer is also included to display maps, spot annotations and mass spectrometry peak lists. The provided interface has the ability to query simultaneously several local or remote databases all at once and is also able to exchange data with other similar interfaces (for interoperability). This particularity means that queries may be addressed to several data resources simultaneously. Results are then consolidated before being displayed to the user.

The interface offers an additional feature, which is the possibility to extract (in real time) many types of objects or search results in different formats, so they may be imported into other programs, or simply be viewed and integrated as is in other displayers or into distinct Web pages. In addition, there is also an optional URI-like syntax meant to extract objects or launch search queries in a rather intuitive manner. Several attributes can then be given to define how to serve data (e.g. the output format) and what it is needed for (e.g. extract results for a textual export or just to be graphically viewed).

A main feature of the tool is that it can gather, integrate and update data relative to external information from the Web in a complete transparent manner. Dynamic cross-references to similar data resources are also automatically provided. This data can continuously and easily be managed and kept up-to-date.

A more elaborated update interface shall be provided in the future to cover all the management details of local data. If you register and install the tool then you will be notified for all major changes and updates. The forthcoming versions of the tool should always allow you to easily convert from a previous installation to an up-to-date one in an almost transparent manner.

Some comments:

You should be aware that the pre-defined queries of this version do not take full advantage of all the strength given by the new data model. Any suggestion from users for pre-defined queries are more than welcome.

Due to the fact that we aim to convert already existing data into a newly designed relational format, some flexibility has been intentionally adopted to suit the commonly used federated SWISS-2DPAGE syntax. The goal being to make the conversion as smooth as possible and to prevent users from re-writing their data whenever some more precision would have been wished. Subsequent versions of the tool should gradually work with, and present data, based in a 'map/spot-like' view rather than 'entries-like' one.

The graphic interface has been tested with a range of different configurations, with different browsers (Explorer, Mozilla,  Netscape, FireFox,..) on different operating systems (Linux, Windows, MAC,..). In the meanwhile, we would highly appreciate your remarks concerning any inconvenient behavior you may encounter.

Some facts about the Web query interface:

The Web query interface is intended to query any number of databases built with this tool. It is not limited to query only one database, as it can hold simultaneously as many databases as one may wish. It is not required that those databases are to be installed on the same server. The interface can address remote databases as long as their Web addresses or connection parameters are known and accessible. This means that you can still use this tool to host a portal interface that queries several remote databases (e.g. WORLD-2DPAGE like portal), even without building your own. To use the tool for this purpose, you will only need to generate a server configuration file, as described later, and to launch the tool with the appropriate server installation options.




* many of the following tasks are usually to be performed by the system administrator

- Some few old versions of the perl DBI module were not working properly with the Web interface. If you encounter any problem at this level, upgrade to a recent version of DBI. We should also mention a detected bug found in version 1.13 of the XML-XPath perl module.

- Included with the package is an adapted version of the Phenyx module InSilicoSpectro, which is used to read mass spectrometry files from a range of various formats. A special version has been specifically arranged to work with this package with a minimum set of installation requirements! In some cases, you may need to install the Compress-Zlib module from CPAN if you plan to read and include data from your MS files and you receive a error complaining about Zlib missing. A recent copy of this module is also to be found within this package distribution ( libs/Compress-Zlib.tar.gz ).

- In order to use the MelanieXMLParser module you should make sure you have the XML::Parser::PerlSAX (libxml-perl) perl module installed. Make also sure the XML::Twig (XML-Twig) perl module is also present if you want to use the Phenyx MS converter.

- Optional: in order to integrate the GDchart MS spectra viewer (GDchart.cgi), you should make sure the perl module "Chart " ( is already installed in your system. If it is not, then you will need to install some or all of the following components (in the given order):
 - GD graphics library:
- zlib compression library:
- libpng PNG reference library:
- perl module GD:
- perl module Chart:, (see:

PostgreSQL is an open source object-relational database management system that can be found at:

Download and install postgreSQL version 9.1 or higher for your system (all distributions from version 7.3 to 9.1  have been fully tested).

 To use postgreSQL, the holder of the postgres server daemon (who is typically the database superuser, generally called 'postgres' or 'pgsql') - see with your system admininstrator - should have launched and checked the following commands (or similar ones, assuming the bin files are in the /usr/local/pgsql/bin directory and the lib files in the /usr/local/pgsql/lib):

- Verify that the pgsql binaries are added to your PATH variable (e.g. by setting: PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/pgsql/bin)

- Export the environment variable "PGDATA" pointing to the directory where the database is to be located, as well as the environment variable "PGLIB" pointing to where the postgreSQL libraries are to be found.

    e.g. (depending on your system)
     $ export PGDATA=/a_path_to_store_your_database/postgresql  (this path will be referred to as the [new_database_path])
     $ export PGLIB=/usr/local/pgsql/lib

- Initialize the database cluster (only once)

/usr/local/pgsql/bin/initdb -D [new_database_path]   (-D "new_database_path" can be omitted if "PGDATA" is sweetly defined)

As you will need to allow non-local connections, you will probably have to add more "host" records in the generated configuration file pg_hba.conf created in the directory [new_database_path]. You should at least allow the "localhost" connections - used by the tool's Web interface - by making sure the line:

"host all all [method]"
(often set as "host all all trust" or "host all all trust")

is *not commented* (by removing the '#' character at its beginning). You may keep or modify the trust parameter.
Methods can be "trust", "reject", "md5", "crypt", "password", "krb5", "ident", or "pam". Note that "password" sends passwords in clear text; "md5" is preferred since it sends encrypted passwords.
Caution! you may replace the default method "trust" to ensure a higher security by requiring a password when connecting to the database using the administration interface, e.g.
"host all all md5"
"host all all md5"

Also, remember TCP/IP connections are only enabled if you do not disable "tcpip_socket" in the file postgresql.conf (postgreSQL 7.4 or lower). For postgreSQL 8.0 or higher, connections are enabled with "listen_addresses = 'localhost'" and "port = 5432" or similar).

- Start the postmaster process (the database server) by:

nohup /usr/lib/postgresql/_postgres_version_/bin/postgres -i  -d 1 -o -e -D [new_database_path] > [new_database_path]/server.log 2>&1 &

or (for older versions)

nohup /usr/local/pgsql/bin/postmaster -i  -d 1 -o -e -D [new_database_path] > [new_database_path]/server.log 2>&1 &

The "-i" option is necessary to use postgreSQL with networking.
The use of the switch "-d [1-5]" is to include debug information in the server.log file; debug information is redirected with " > path/server.log 2>&1". Both this switch and the redirection can be omitted if not desired.

- Include the PL/pgSQL procedural language to the created database by. To do only once [Not necessary with recent postgreSQL versions]:

/usr/local/pgsql/bin/createlang plpgsql template1 --pglib "/usr/local/pgsql/lib/" (--pglib "path" can be omitted if "PGLIB" is defined)

Another simple way to start / restart / stop the postmaster server is to use pg_ctl:
nohup pg_ctl -o "-i" -D [new_database_path] [start|reload|restart|stop] &
(e.g. nohup pg_ctl -o "-i" -D /path/my_database -m smart restart &)

If postgreSQL binaries and libs are not in /usr/local/pgsql/ (e.g. in /usr/lib/postgresql/9.1/bin/), then modify the previous paths.


The database holder (the superuser) will now own the postmaster process and the new databases to be created. Although this is possible, you will not want this general postgres superuser to directly edit your specific new 2-DE database. For that, let the superuser (who can physically be you or your system administrator) create another new user (named after the postgreSQL account you plan to use with the 2-DE database, possibly your own personal account). Make sure this new user do have the right to create both databases and other new users.

To create a new user that will own the 2-DE database, the superuser should execute the following SQL command:


If a password is wished, then state it by:

newUser_loginID WITH PASSWORD 'newUser_loginPassword' CREATEDB CREATEUSER


The Make2D-DB II tool will automatically create an additional new postgreSQL user called (by default) 'select2d'  who has no special rights except performing select queries on the 2-DE database public and common schema.
In case, as a postgreSQL user, you were not allowed the right to create another user, then ask the postgres/postmaster process owner (the superuser) to create a user called 'select2d' ( by typing the system command: "createuser select2d", or simply by executing the SQL command: "CREATE USER select2d" within a psql session). For more details, you can check the following link: PostgreSQL Technical Documentation (9.1).




perl -m config

or, to specify an alternative location for your configuration files to be written to (which is very useful if you are planing to install in the future different databases):

perl -m config -c /some_path_of_your_configuration_files
perl -m [option]

or - to specify an alternative location for your configuration files to be written or to be read:
perl -m [option] -c /some_path_of_your_configuration_files

For more details, type: perldoc  or perl -help.

All output messages and error messages of your last check, transform or update operations are stored in parallel in 2 separate files, so you may check/inspect them at any moment [last_STDOUT.log and last_STDERR.log, to be found in the main directory]. For any encountered installation problem, please do always include those two files with your message when contacting us. The file last_STDOUT.log describes in details the check and installation process, but it also contains important messages and warnings relevant to your data conversion. It's always a good idea to have a look at this file after any installation - even if every thing seems to have been executed correctly - and look for any potential errors or warning messages, for example by searching in the file the two keywords: 'error' and 'warning'!

perl -m transform
perl -m transform -c /some_path_of_your_configuration_files

This combines the previous '-m transform' option to a procedure that reads your old data and makes re-use of it. Type:

perl -m update
perl -m update -c /some_path_of_your_configuration_files

Use this option if you want to upgrade your already running database to a newer version of the tool.
Use also this option if you want to modify or add some data to your already installed database.

If you are upgrading from a previous version of the tool, it is highly recommended to generate new configuration files (using the "-m config" option) before updating rather than using your older ones. Some configuration parameters are added or modified between versions.

In both cases (if you're upgrading the tool, or adding some new data), you will definitely need to provide the tool with all your data that you have already used during your previous installtion in order to keep it within the new installtion! You may of course modify some of your data, delete or add some other before running the tool. In fact, the "-m update" option does not directly add any data to the already existing database, instead, it erases it completely from the system before re-installing it again based on the availability of the provided data. The purpose of using this switch is that the tool keeps a record of all modified entries versions (general and 2D annotations incremented using the administration interface), as well as all meta-data related to the database publication (current database release, release history, description, comments, etc..).
In all cases, all your data is backuped by the tool before being erased. Whenever a technical poblem is encountered during the update process, your old database is automatically restored back and your previous data should be left untouched.

The next versions of this tool should progressively include an interactive update interface to modify, add or delete data directly within a running database. Given the relative complexity of the schema and the relations used in this tool, this work should initially offer only some very basic operations (erase or add a new map, a spots' list, identified proteins,..). In a later development phase, more complexe data (identification categories, experimental data, bibliographic references, cross-linking, etc..) should be also managed. A prototype of such an interface can, for the moment, be only acquired by contacting us directly.

perl -m server
perl -m server -c /some_path_of_your_configuration/files



After installing your database, you should now be able to query it. In what follows, we suppose that you have configured your '$web_server_ref_name' variable to '2d' (cf Readme: Configuration for more details). You will then need to type the following address in your browser (FireFox, Mozilla, IE, et..) to navigate through the query interface:
- http://your_domain_name/2d/    ( http://your_domain_name/html/2d/ in some systems )

(If you have set the server scripts and documents manually, then you should rather type: http://your_domain_name/cgi-bin/2d/2d.cgi)

Where your_domain_name is the name or IP address of your domain.

To access the management interface as the database administrator, type:
- http://your_domain_name/2d/admin

For the administration part, you will be asked to enter your postgres login_id and password (the postgres account used to create the database / password will not be required if the TCP/IP connection method is set to 'trust' within your postgres configuration file). You will also be asked for a database name if your interface is managing several databases / projects  simultaneously. All your login information - encrypted - will definitely expire after 30 minutes of non activity, or when you decide to logout.

Remark: If you are working on the same machine that hosts your HTTP server, you may also replace your_domain_name by localhost:

  - http://localhost/2d/
If you have activated the Apache redirection mode (by setting '$modeRewriteOn = 1' in the file), then it is time to include the generated rules into your Apache configuration file (usually at '/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf') and then restart the HTTP server (see with your system administrator). Those generated rules are listed in a file called 'mod_rewrite.txt' in the '/var/www/cgi-bin/2d/inc' directory (or similar). Copy them to the end of the Apache configuraion file,  or simplay add this line, or similar, to the end of the configuration file:
"Include /var/www/cgi-bin/2d/inc/mod_rewrite.txt".

Finally, make sure your browser is configured to accept cookies and java scripts. Java should also be installed to run the small applet peak list viewer.



A default file listing some URL links (Web addresses) to different database cross-references (including those for the DR lines) is provided within this package (within the "text" directory). The file name is 'links.txt'. When you install a new database and allow external data retrieval, an extra file is then automatically downloaded from the ExPASy server and is added to this same directory (the file name is 'DbCrossRefs.txt'). If this file has been downloaded, then it will be used instead of the default links.txt to define your cross-reference links. You can let the tool use this file as it is, or choose to edit it yourself to update or add  your own URLs.

You should not update this 'DbCrossRefs.txt' file directly from inside the "text" directory, the changes will apply to your subsequent installations but the file itself may be replaced again by a newer version extracted from the ExPASy server (if the file is older than some few days). The best way to make your changes permanent for a specific database is to update the file called 'links.txt' by editing it, after your installation is complete, from your Web server directory where it has been copied (by default the copy of this file should be found in '/www/var/cgi-bin/2d/inc/links.txt' or a similar path).

The easiest way to edit this file, is to edit it through a simple text editor. Another way - much safer - is to use the Perl module '' provided with this package (this module is also located in the "lib2d" directory, and is copied to your /www/var/cgi-bin/2d/inc' directory during the server installation process). Type 'perldoc' for a brief description of the module, or simply read the DbCrossRefs.html file for more details.

Those files (links.txt, or the updated DbCrossRefs.txt) list the databases links one link per line. The format of each line is:

database_name   database_URL

The database_name is the name of the database itself, while the database_URL is the URL address of the displayer of this database. e.g.


The '{0}' is a pattern that the tool will replace by the given protein primary accession number related to this database.
If the database displayer requires more than one identifier, replace all the subsequent parameters by {1}, {2},.. and so on,

e.g: DATABASE_NAME{0}&choice=Gene&option=Symbol&organism={1}

In additiom, each time you update the external data using the management (administration) interface, an additional file, called 'links.txt.uniprot' will be refreshed and placed in the server /html/2d/data/tmp directory. This downloaded file will become the primary source for your displayed cross-references URLs, as long as a variable called '$EXTERNAL::update_from_SwissProt' within your configuration file is activated (not set to 0).

Note: whenever a cross-reference database is not listed in the links.txt nor in the links.txt.uniprot files, the query interface will try to extract it from a table called 'XrefDB' within the postgreSQL database itself.



Important: This section lists the files included within this package. Even if your are not interested in the technical aspect of the tool, it is highly recommended that you read both the data_test and data_test/examples sub-sections (with read titles), as they give some precision on the available formats given as examples for data preparation.
The main directory
The lib2d directory
The pgsql directory

The text directory

The src directory

The data_test/examples directory

      As the tool works and understands different types and formats for data input, this directory contains a set of different additional examples on how to prepare data for the installation process. The format you are likely to adopt for your data depends on the availability of the data you have and on the granularity of the annotations you would like to include in your database.

The http_server/divers directory

The http_server/icons directory

The lib directory
This directory contains some of the public libraries that you may need to install on your system or related information on how to get and install them when needed. The content of this directory do not follow the general license terms stated in License.txt file on the main directory.

The readme directory
This is where the readme and HTML files are located: 

A sub-directory called 'examples' holds some files used by the readme files.

Another sub-directory, called 'database_schema' includes 3 sets of documentation files presenting the database four relational schema: structure and functions.
This sub-directory is not present in distributions marked as 'light'.

The first set of files, prefixed by 'all', contains the whole database structure. The other 4 sets contain, each, the structure of a specific schema (common, core, log and public schema):
The temp directory  

This directory will be used by the tool to store temporary files.
This directory will also contain your previous databases' dumps (backups), as all already existing databases will be 'dumped' by the tool whenever a new installation or an update is replacing an existent database.
You can delete anything from this directory.
Note: depending on your use of the tool, some more additional files will be generated or downloaded into your package directories.



Relational postgreSQL database schema in HTML summary:


1.7   TO DO LIST:

1.8   CONTACT:

- For an up-to-date documentation, news and FAQ, as well as the latest version, visit the The Make-2D-DB II Site

- For more information, visit the Make2D-DB II site at

- For any question or comment, please feel free to send an e-mail to:


Khaled Mostaguir -- Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics.

Related documents:

For any question, suggestion or comment: Please, contact .