Deal-Breakers for Using a WordPress ELN

There are some situations where it becomes obvious that a WordPress ELN is not an appropriate choice, at least at this time. Some of the situations where a WordPress ELN are not appropriate are described below.

  • You need a large company to support your lab that is focused specifically on using WordPress for an ELN. There are numerous well-established WordPress hosting companies and numerous well-established WordPress agencies that could host, support, and develop your custom WordPress site. But to our knowledge, there are currently no well-established companies that focus primarily on using WordPress for an ELN. (We do see this situation changing in the near future however)
  • You need an ELN that is tightly integrated with a Laboratory Information System (LIMS) for tracking your materials.
  • You need extensive capabilities for documenting chemical reactions that include drawing chemical structures, analyzing spectra, and mining of chemical data (although there are certainly open source packages like Ketcher and Miew that could be utilized in WordPress plugins in the future).
  • You need out-of-the-box capabilities to physically automate your lab workflow (e.g., with robotics) and have the automation be integrated with your ELN.
  • You will be handling large data sets with this approach (we are processing over 2,000 data points using this approach but have not yet tested for any issues much beyond that). WordPress is excellent for handling data presentation, social networking, learning management systems, and general website functionality. So, it can be used to present data summaries and share the summaries with others. But if you are managing very large data sets involving multiple gigabytes on a routine basis within your ELN then it would be prudent to utilize a different approach. It should be possible, however, to gather data using your WordPress site and then export it and then delete it from the website if it becomes too large. You could then process your large data sets apart from WordPress while using the ease and convenience of WordPress to continue gathering your data.

This deal-breaker list may change over time. It is certainly possible that there may be fewer items in this list as WordPress becomes more capable and more developers and agencies become interested in WordPress ELNs. However, as of fall 2023 or so, these are fairly good guidelines to use.