Location: CIC Rotterdam

Announcing the 2017 XNAT Developer Workshop

We are happy to announce that the 2017 XNAT Developer Workshop will take place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands from October 16th until October 18th. The workshop is organized jointly by the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam and Washington University in Saint Louis and is sponsored by the BBMRI-NL2.0 project.

The workshop will feature speakers from the XNAT development team and will focus on open source XNAT development, including creating XNAT plugins, coding with the XNAT API, integrating external applications, and writing analysis pipelines. The program will be organized around hands on sessions in which attendees can work on their own projects or join collaborative efforts with other attendees.

We hope you will be able to join us in Rotterdam for the workshop.  A 250 euro attendance fee includes daily lunches and a social dinner on the first night. Please visit the event wiki page for more information and to register for the event.

Best regards,

Hakim Achterberg, Erasmus University
Marcel Koek, Erasmus University
Rick Herrick, Washington University
Dan Marcus, Washington University


Day 1: Developing the XNAT API, Working With Container Services, and Project Definition

Day 1's focus will be on the mechanics of using the XNAT 1.7 API to put data in XNAT, get data out of XNAT, and perform data manipulations. Attendees are also encouraged to define projects that they would like to advance during the workshop session.

Day 2: XNAT Plugin Development, XNAT Core Development and Customizations, and Working Project Groups

The best way to add functionality to an XNAT 1.7 instance is to build and install a plugin. We'll walk you through the process of coding and building a plugin. A separate group will walk through setting up a core XNAT development environment, for those occasions when support for new functionality needs to be added to core XNAT. Later in the day, developers will pair off into working groups to advance their projects. 

Day 3: XNAT Dev Ops

You have your data and your system, now how do you support your users? This session walks through the mechanics and best practices associated with hosting, storage, and maintaining availability.


To register please visit the registration form. The cost of the workshop is 250 euros, this includes daily lunch and the group dinner on the first night. Due to the size of the venue there is a maximum number of attendees, and while we do not expect this to be a problem it might be possible that the registration closes at some point.


The workshop will be hosted at CIC Rotterdam, which is a flexible co-working space located right next to Rotterdam Central station. A list of nearby hotels can be viewed here at google maps.

Rotterdam has its own Rotterdam airport (airport code RTM) with some European destinations. Rotterdam also good train connection (25 minutes, direct train) to Schiphol Amsterdam Airport (airport code AMS). There are many national train connections serviced by the Dutch Railways and there is also an international high-speed train service to Antwerp, Brussels and Paris operated by the Dutch Railways International.

Technical Requirements

To participate in practical XNAT development sessions, attendees are expected to bring a sufficiently powered laptop to run XNAT virtual machines. There will be wi-fi connections available in the conference center, but users are also strongly encouraged to download necessary components prior to the start of the Workshop to minimize delays and setup time.  Please contact us if you have questions about the required hardware.

Laptop Requirements & Recommendations

Operating Systems:

  • Mac OS 10.8 and up (preferred)
  • Linux: Debian-based (Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint) or Red Hat/Fedora-based (RHEL, Fedora, CentOS, Scientific Linux)
  • Windows 7 and up

Hard Drive: At least 40 GB of free hard drive space available, SSD preferred for performance

Processor: 2 gHz and up recommended

RAM: 8 GB and up recommended

Required Software

  • A fully supported browser. Most modern browsers–Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera–work with XNAT. If you are using Internet Explorer, you should have at least IE 10. Note that Microsoft Edge is not supported at this time!
  • The Java 8 JRE  for upload and download applets.
  • VirtualBox. You can use other virtualization platforms that support Vagrant, including Parallels and VMWare Workstation or Fusion, but the xnatstack base box and all of the xnat-vagrant configurations are based on using VirtualBox as the provider. That means you'd need to use another Vagrant base box, install any missing dependencies, and manage the configuration and installation of XNAT manually. Since VirtualBox is available free of charge and can exist alongside the other virtualization providers, we've opted to just support it for now.
  • Vagrant  required to create an XNAT virtual machine (Vagrant can be installed on OS X using homebrew or on most Linux variations using the standard package manager for the platform)
  • Vagrant Manager provides a convenient interface for managing vagrant machines.
  • Git for cloning data from XNAT development repositories.
  • Windows users only: Git Bash (which comes with Git).
  • An environment for code editing in practicals and hackathon projects. We recommend the following applications, all of which are either open-source or offer fully functional trials.

Notes for Windows Users

We have documented several common (and a few uncommon) problems that Windows users have run into with installing and using Vagrant. Running Vagrant from Git Bash rather than the default command prompt will likely help. Here are some more helpful hints: Troubleshooting XNAT Vagrant Installation for Windows Use. We highly recommend running through the Vagrant's "Getting Started" sequence before the Workshop to make sure you're able to run Vagrant on your local machine.

Windows Vagrant Version Warning

The 1.9.x versions of Vagrant have fatal networking issues on Windows machines that prevent users from building XNAT VMs. The latest known working version of Vagrant is 1.8.7. You can download that version here: https://releases.hashicorp.com/vagrant/1.8.7/