Each year several thousand researchers travel to Grenoble where they work in a first-class scientific environment to conduct exciting experiments at the cutting edge of modern science. The Scientific Management Information System (SMIS) is the web-based software application developed and permanently improved to deal with data necessary to select, set up and follow-up experiments. It manages the complete workflow of scientific proposals from the initial submission to the scheduling of beam time up to the final reporting on an experiment, hereby simplifying significantly the collaboration between users, beamline scientists, the user-office and peer-review grading committees.

In 1992, in order to computerize the organization of experiments, ESRF approached a neighboring institute which had been in steady state operation for over twenty years. This institute had started developing a software application to deal with experiments. It was therefore decided to install this product at ESRF. However, because it was based on commercial tools and only covered few aspects of the topic, ESRF decided to develop its own software. Consequently, a team was formed and charged of upgrading and improving the product regularly. The turn to Java took place in 1999. The growing success of Java triggered the switch to the web-based technology. Since then, many thousand of source lines of code have been written.

The picture below shows one of the screens available to manage experiments.



Over a couple of years, new developments have been based on three layers architecture:
1) A relational database manages data.
2) A business layer based on EJB deals with the intelligent part of the product.
3) The upper layer called "presentation layer" provides the WEB interface using JSP and the STRUTS framework.





Several collaborations with European Laboratories have been set up. The software application has been installed in different places. The main goal of such collaborations is to share the development of new components. We gave a talk in 2005 at the PCAPAC conference in Japan to describe one of these collaborations.