So called Jobs present a great improvement when working with complex image acquisition and data analysis. The strength of Jobs is their flexibility. They rely on building blocks - so called "tasks" that can be freely assembled into arbitrary procedures in order to fulfill any particular needs. All is done visually by Dragging and Dropping. Thus the user can easily build a job sequence in a matter of minutes. This approach combines advantages of programming – flexibility – and limits the drawbacks: having to learn how to program.
Jobs are composed of tasks. Tasks are executed in the same order in which they appear in the job: from the top to the bottom. There are two kinds of tasks: simple tasks and tasks that have blocks with other tasks nested inside them (e.g. loops and conditions). If there were only simple tasks the job would be a mere chain of tasks, but on the other hand it would be difficult to write a simple time-lapse with 100 repetitions, as one would have to copy the tasks 100 times. In order to avoid this copying there are tasks which have an inner block that can embed other tasks. Loops for instance can embed other tasks. When a loop is run, it repeatedly executes the whole inner block of tasks one after another. Different tasks have different settings. The user can then decide whether to set the task in the Job definition window, in the Definition wizard or during the job runtime.
There are many ways how to create a job. The best way is to start by loading a predefined template and adjusting its parameters immediately or later in the Definition wizard. You can also start a new job from scratch in the Job Definition window. There you can combine all different tasks to create a new job fulfilling your research needs together with all available devices compatible with NIS Elements. Just drag and drop tasks from the left into the main area of the Job Definition window. Tasks inside a job definition can be reorganized, put inside an inner block or directly defined.
If a task requires definition, it can be done directly inside the job definition window. If the user marks some tasks with the wizard symbol (yellow star), their definition will appear in the definition wizard right before the job execution.
Jobs Explorer is the window for managing Jobs, Individual Runs with their Image data and Metadata. Most common actions are done from toolbars. Jobs related operations are done from context menus. The Job list is organized into a shallow tree view with Jobs as nodes and Individual runs as leaves. Runs are shown by date and time with the number of images acquired and their run duration. Among others the embedded toolbar enables creating a new job, using a job template, running the definition wizard or running the whole job. Clicking on the row with the job run opens its results.
Once the job is finished, results are saved automatically and the Job results window opens. The browser enables three basic views: Thumbnail view, Plate view and a Grid view. In Thumbnail and Plate view you can view Images, Heat-maps (colored squares represent selected data values) and labels (in case of well-plates). In Grid view you see everything in a tabular form. Double-clicking on any image opens the underlying ND2 file on that particular image frame. Filtering, grouping and statistics are supported. It is possible to aggregate (calculate min/max/mean/ sum/SD) in order to get single values per each well. A filter may be also applied to images displayed in the result view. The Analysis button enables running further analyses on captured images.