Tool: Reading/ Writing FASTA files in Java
gravatar for alex
4.8 years ago by
alex0 wrote:

FASTA is not the most complicated file format ;) but nevertheless maybe this library might save you five or ten minutes.
It supports sequence validation, header dialects and stream based reading and writing.

parsing library tool java fasta • 3.2k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 4.8 years ago by robert.davey260 • written 4.8 years ago by alex0

I think parsing fasta files correctly is a task of under-appreciated complexity. There are great many pitfalls along the way - for example what if the entire chromosome 1 of the human genome were on a single fasta line - most tools will fail in various spectacular fashion.

That being said your package lacks the most important aspect of creating something that is useful for others: that of documentation that your package seems to lack that altogether. Many people, including myself would never make use of a undocumented software - as I learned to correlate the documentation quality to software quality. 


ADD REPLYlink written 4.8 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 81k

Hello Istvan,

thanks for your reply. Concerning documentation I would like to draw your attention to the JavaDoc and the examples

Reading one whole chromosome from one single line will be indeed problematically not only for this library. On the other hand, it will be problematically in the fist place to write the whole chromosome to one single line for most machines out there. Anyways I would not hesitate to implement a fix to this rare usecase as soon as I myself run into this problem or any user runs into this problem who is reporting it to me and can provide me with according input files for testing and reproducing.

There is also issue tracking available

ADD REPLYlink modified 23 hours ago by RamRS24k • written 4.8 years ago by alex0

Writing out a very long lines is actually trivially easy: strip off the end of line terminator while keeping on writing one line at a time. It is true that files like that are rare (because they do crash tools) but are valid FASTA files nonetheless. PyFasta does that for example:

ADD REPLYlink written 4.8 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 81k

Hmm. Reading and writing arbitrarily long lines is not difficult unless you are reading an entire line at a time, which most tools are. If you read and work with the file in chunks and check each chunk for a line terminator then you can work under 64kB of RAM. 

ADD REPLYlink written 4.8 years ago by Matt Shirley9.1k

What your documentation is missing are examples of how the library is used in practice. Or  what do the terms "sequence validation" or "header dialect parsing" actually mean. A library is useful when it saves one time from digging through other people's code.

ADD REPLYlink written 4.8 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 81k
gravatar for robert.davey
4.8 years ago by
European Union
robert.davey260 wrote:

The Picard library, specifically the samtools portion of the HTSJDK also provides very well-documented FASTA/Q parsing.


ADD COMMENTlink written 4.8 years ago by robert.davey260
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