The Required Steps
The setup for a minimal installation of the MyLabBook approach that we document on this website consists of the following steps.
- Install WordPress
- Add appropriate plugins for your ELN data collection
- Consider adding plugins for backup, export, and security that are discussed in this section.
- Add any other plugins that you may desire for additional features. These might include social networking tools, learning management systems, website statistics, or plugins that address your specific need.
We will provide a brief overview of these first 3 steps in this knowledge base article, with appropriate links for more complete information. For the fourth step, you can review the knowledge base section of Other Possible Plugins.
There are several different options for installing WordPress. Since WordPress is free and open source, then the software itself can be freely downloaded at WordPress.org. You can install it on your local computer if you prefer. It is usually easiest to install on a computer running the Linux or MacOS operating system, but installing on Windows is possible as well. For a small fee, you can get hosting on a hosting provider or a cloud provider.
- Install on a local computer in your lab – this approach provides more control but also adds some complexity.
- Use a third party hosting platform with 1-click installs – this is an inexpensive and easy option and adequate for many situations.
- Install on virtual machine (e.g., Azure, AWS) – this provides more control than the second option and less than the first. Some sophisticated software and system expertise is usually required, however.
In our use case, we use the third option and installed WordPress on a virtual machine in the Azure cloud. We also use a customized WordPress install package called Bedrock . This allows us to optimize the DevOps procedure, which we discuss in a separate section.
Add Appropriate Plugins
This is where someone with experience with WordPress or your own investigation is helpful. With tens of thousands of plugins to choose from, how do you determine which plugins are important for your ELN? We plan to have more specific guidance in the days to come on this site for answering this question.
For the time being, however, we will confine ourselves to using the approach that we are most familiar with, namely the use of the Directories Pro plugin.
Perhaps Add the Directories Pro Plugin
To follow the approach described in this Knowledge Base, you can use the Directories Pro plugin. You can review the Knowledge Base articles in Using Directories Pro for Research to see if it can meet your needs. If it does, then you can purchase the Directories Pro plugin and download the ZIP package file. The ZIP package file then contains several other ZIP files, as follows.
- directories-[version].zip – required
- directories-faker-[version].zip – useful if you want to populate a directory with fake data
- directories-frontend-[version].zip – recommended if you want to integrate with BuddyPress or BuddyBoss
- directories-pro-[version].zip – required
- directories-reviews-[version].zip – useful if you want to allow other researchers to comment and rate a given data set
where [version] denotes the given version of the package using the semantic versioning approach. You can directly upload any of these ZIP files to your WordPress installation using the standard WordPress upload approach.
Consider Adding Plugins for Backup, Site Export, and Security
Probably the most critical additional feature that you should consider is a way to make sure that your data and preferably your website as well has a good backup plan. There are over 1000 free plugins on the WordPress site that match the tag of “backup”. We describe the approach that we have taken in the article on Our Backup and Export Approach. Your specific needs should of course guide the best backup approach for your research website.
If your research website will be exposed to the public internet, then it is prudent to also consider adding at least one good security plugin. Given the size of the WordPress market share, it is a common target for hackers. But WordPress also has a capable security team to address vulnerabilities. So you should be safe if you follow some basic security practices. We describe the approach that we have taken in Our Security Approach article.