Thursday, 1 August 2013

Availability, Installation and Setup

SLiMSuite and Seqsuite are currently available from the Downloads page as a single SLiMSuite package.

For basic functionality, no other setup should be necessary beyond downloading and unzipping the package in the desired directory if Python is installed on your system. Some programs will need to use external components or accessory applications, which may need additional installation.

If you do not have Python, you can download it free from at The modules are written in Python 2.x and most have been tested with 2.7. The Python website has good information about how to download and install Python but if you have any problems, please get in touch and I will help if I can.

All the required files should have been provided in the downloaded zip file. The Python Modules are open source and may be changed if desired, although please give me credit for any useful bits you pillage. I cannot accept any responsibility if you make changes and the program stops working, however! If you want some help understanding the way the modules and classes are set up so you can edit them, just contact me.

Directory Structure

Once unzipped, the download will unpack a top level slimsuite/ directory with the following subdirectories:

data/ contains example data for testing programs. (Currently under development.)

docs/ contains documentation.

extras/ contains accessory programs that are not part of the main program suite.

legacy/ contains superseded programs that are no longer supported. (Currently under development.)

libraries/ contains all the python libraries used by the main tools (and extras), some of which have standalone functionality.

settings/ contains INI files set default options.

tools/ contains the main program suite.

NOTE: It is recommended that analyses are performed outside these directories for ease of reinstallation.

Third party software

Many of the tools make use of third party software. Where possible, instructions will be provided for obtaining these programs but a quick Google is usually sufficient - wherever possible, third party software is free for academic use and (ideally) open source.

When third party software is used, SLiMSuite will also need the path to the program, or suite of programs. This will be covered more in the Command-line Options section but BLAST and clustalw deserve a special mention as examples because many of the programs use these as default programs for certain functions.

BLAST is actually a suite of programs and the path containing these executables should be provided using `blastpath=PATH/', e.g.:


For BLAST, do not give the full path to the program (e.g. blastpath=/usr/ncbi/bin/blastp). BLAST cannot be replaced easily by other programs. BLAST has now largely been superseded by BLAST+, which needs its own path parameter:


Some programs are still restricted to BLAST at the moment and other tools can be made to use the BLAST with the oldblast=T switch.

Clustalw is a useful standalone program that is used as a default for alignments and trees in the absence of newer (better) programs. For this, and other single executables, the full path to the program is given:


In these situations, a different program with the same input and output can be substituted.

Clustalo is an improved version of Clustalw. In addition to being recognised for alignments (alnprog=clustalo clustalo=PATH), it should be possible to point the clustalw default to an installed copy of clustalo.

NOTE: Remember to set the relevant paths in an appropriate *.ini file in settings/. Where possible, error messages will identify issues with third party software but due to a lack of testing on a diversity of systems, this is not always possible. If a program crashes, please check the *.log file for signs that there may be a problem with the installation and/or path given for third party programs, such as BLAST.


At present, each upgrade is distributed as a separate package. You can check the current version by the date in the name of the distribution file (in ISO 8601 standard, YYYY-MM-DD format). Plans are afoot to switch to a Git repository, which will make upgrades easier.

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