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Software containers have the potential to solve the common problem in bioinformatics where complex dependencies can make installing and using a tool difficult. Containerisation allows any developer to include all the required dependencies along with their tool to provide the end-user with everything they need to start using it.

Two existing projects have taken advantage of this concept to benchmark bioinformatics software inside containers: CAMI and We, the developers from these two projects, met to agree a standard so that containers created by one project would be usable by another through the same interface.

The aim of this RFC is to create a standard for well-defined bioinformatics applications. This standard will put the users of bioinformatics software first, so that a community-agreed interface allows the use of different tools regardless of where or by whom it was developed. We welcome contributions and suggestions from other developers with aim of creating a standard that everyone can follow and agree on.

Development process

The development process for bioboxes is outlined on the and has information for beginners to get started with bioboxes and how to make contributions to bioboxes.

Core team

There is a core team who work on developing the bioboxes RFCs. The core team's goal is to develop the RFC and resolve issues. The members should generally be selected from those who are already actively involved in bioboxes. The size of the core team should be small to enable decisions to be made quickly. A core team member should be willing to:

  • Actively follow, resolve issues and answer questions on the bioboxes github issue tracker.
  • Meet for a 30 minute teleconference on a biweekly basis to discuss the progress of bioboxes.


Request for comments on interchangeable bioinformatics containers







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