Technical requirements


🚧 This section is still in active development and is subject to changes 🚧

This section outlines the technical requirements for the Seedcase software from a developer point of view.

Main functionality

The main functionality of the Seedcase framework is to provide a way for users to manage and share data resources. The main features of the Seedcase framework are:

  • One or multiple Data Resources per Seedcase installation: For users with multiple Data Resources, all Data Resources will be housed in one installation of Seedcase.
  • Upload or update data: Input data into the Data Resource in batches or continuously into the backend storage, either into the database or as raw data files.
  • Upload or update metadata: When inputting data, attach metadata along side it.
  • Store changes to the data in a changelog: Track and list changes made to the data within the Data Resource for auditing and recordkeeping.
  • Display metadata and basic information on the data in the Data Resource on a user interface: So external users and users interested in data in the Data Resource can browse what is available.
  • Provide a data access submission process: Allow users to submit a data access request for data in the Data Resource, along with a data selection process (for instance, like a shopping cart). Submit a request for access as a data project that includes selected data and a brief reason as
  • Store data request submissions as data projects for auditing and managing: Save submissions as “data projects”, where admin users can approve (or decline) these data projects and manage whether they are “ongoing”, “completed”, or “declined”. The stored ongoing or completed data projects will be displayed on the web portal for discoverability and transparency on the subset of the Data Resource used.
  • Allow for individual parts to be independently installable and usable: Users might not need or want some of the functionality, so being able to have individual and independent parts that are usable on their own is necessary. These independent parts also need to be able to connect and work together.


To accomplish the features described above, we have to decide what main technologies and what architectural designs to use. Any technologies we decide must adhere to our values and principles.

The main technologies we will use are:

  • For the Seedcase framework itself, it will be developed using Python, for multiple reasons, including because it is open source and because it is one of the most commonly used languages within research and industry alike.
  • For the data, the formal database will be created and managed by PostgreSQL, since it is an established and open source software, while raw data will be stored as either CSV or JSON files as they are the most common forms of storing data as well as being plain text.
  • For general software development and managing computing environments, we will build the Seedcase framework within Docker containers. Containers are a modern and powerful way of management software and environment dependencies. Docker is very popular and the program is open source.
  • For building the web and API layer, we will use Django for the framework since it is very popular and has a large amount of online resources. Django also implements RESTful API (representational state transfer), which is the de facto standard way for building APIs.

For our decisions to use these technologies, see Decision Record.

Technical constraints

Following our values and principles, we have the following technical constraints of the Seedcase framework:

Technical constraints we need to consider for Seedcase software.
Constraints Background/Motivation
Run on Windows, MacOS, and Linux Our potential users work on any of these systems, so we need to design for that
Use open source software dependencies We will use an open license, so we need to use components that are open as well
Use software that’s (relatively) familiar to many We want others to contribute, so we need to use tools others (likely) know
Integrate GDPR, privacy, and security compliance Our target users work with health data, so this is vital to consider
Deployable to servers and locally Could be used locally but mainly used on a server environment
Storage and computing may be at different locations Where data are stored vs analyzed will likely be different, see subsection below


We follow the conventions below for software development when developing the Seedcase framework:

Conventions that we follow for the Seedcase framework.
Conventions Background/Motivation
Follow standard styling (e.g., PIP3 and black formatting) Coding style is vital to readability, so we follow best practices. See our Style documentation
Use SemVer versioning We can utilise existing tools to handle tasks like version release and changelog generation. See our decision post on this
Incorporate test-driven and documentation-driven development styles Each has pros and cons, we use what works best. See the Contributing Guidelines