AutoQC Loader automates the process of importing results files into a Skyline document and uploading the document to a folder on a Panorama server. It uses SkylineRunner or SkylineCmd to launch Skyline without showing the Skyline window. Command-line arguments are passed to this invisible instance of Skyline to import results files to a Skyline document and upload the document to the Panorama server specified in the settings. Install AutoQC Loader
When you start AutoQC Loader for the first time you will see this window.
To start monitoring a local folder for QC results, create a new configuration by clicking the Add
button. Each configuration is a combination of settings that include the location of the template Skyline document, the local folder where QC results will be written, and the folder on a Panorama server where the results will be uploaded. Multiple configurations can be enabled allowing users to monitor more than one QC data folder at the same time. Configurations are saved so that instrument operators can enable a previously created configuration if they are acquiring data for an ongoing project with intermittent breaks in data acquisition.
In the AutoQC Configuration
form enter the appropriate settings in the Settings
: This can be the name of an instrument or the project or study for which data is being acquired. Each configuration has to have a unique name.
Skyline file path
: This is the path to the template Skyline document into which QC results files will be imported. Click the browse button next to the textbox to open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to the template Skyline document (.sky file).
Note for Skyline versions prior to 4.2 the Integrate all setting (Settings > Integrate all
) must be checked in the template Skyline document. This setting forced Skyline to calculate areas for all fragment ions between the integration boundaries and gives better quantitative results. Since Skyline 4.2 areas are now always the sum of all quantitative transitions, but you may still want this setting for visualization inside Skyline.
Folder to watch
: This is the folder that AutoQC Loader will monitor for new QC results files. Any new results files added to the folder will automatically be imported into the given template Skyline document. When a configuration is started all existing results files in this folder that are newer than the last imported result in the Skyline document will get imported. If the document does not have any imported results, AutoQC Loader will import all the results files in the folder. The folder can be on a physical disk drive of the computer running AutoQC Loader, or it may also be on a mapped network drive, allowing central processing of system suitability files collected by multiple instruments.
: This can be used to apply a filter on the results files that will be imported into the Skyline document. The default option (All
) will import all results files added to the QC folder without applying any filters. Choose one of the other options from the drop-down list to import only those results files that match the filter. For example, the filter selected in the screenshot below can be used to import only those files that have the substring "_QC_" in the file name.
Results time window
: The results time window determines how long imported results will be retained in the Skyline document. This is a rolling window and only results acquired within the last ‘n’ days, where ‘n’ is the width of this window in days, will be retained in the document. When a new run is imported into the document any results that no longer fall within this time window, ending on that day, will be removed from the document. The default (and minimum) width of the window is 31 days. Please note that AutoQC Loader does NOT delete any results files on the computer. Only results imported into the document that are older than the current time window are removed from the document. This is done to keep the active Skyline document from getting too large. The larger the document gets the more time it will take for each upload to Panorama. Uncheck the Remove Results
checkbox to keep all the imported results in the Skyline document. This is not recommended for long-running projects.
: The instrument type setting tells AutoQC Loader the type of files (e.g. *.raw for Thermo instruments, *.wiff for SCIEX instruments etc.) to look for in the folder that it is monitoring.
Expected acquisition duration
: The expected acquisition duration determines how long AutoQC Loader will wait before attempting to import a new results file. Most instruments write directly to the output results file when data acquisition begins, and an error occurs if an attempt is made to read the file before acquisition is complete. When AutoQC Loader detects a new results file in the QC folder, it will wait for the duration specified in this setting before attempting to import the file. The default value for this setting is 75 minutes (10 min. trapping time + 60 min. gradient + 5 min. extra).
To upload the Skyline document containing QC results to a Panorama server, check the Publish to Panorama
checkbox in the Panorama
tab. Enter the URL of the Panorama server, your email and password on the server along with the path to the folder on the server where the document should be uploaded. AutoQC Loader will upload the document to the Panorama server each time a new results file is imported into the document.
The Panorama server manages redundant results files included in successive Skyline documents uploaded to a QC folder by keeping the results contained in the most recently uploaded Skyline document.
Note: The password is stored encrypted using a Windows system encryption key and is not accessible as plain text.
You can choose to use either Skyline
with a configuration if both are installed on the computer that is running AutoQC Loader. This selection can be made in the Skyline
tab of the AutoQC Configuration
form. Only the installations of Skyline that are available will be enabled and selectable in the form. You may also specify the path to a Skyline (or Skyline-daily) installation somewhere else on your computer.
Running a Configuration
In the main AutoQC Loader window, in the Configurations
tab check the box next to the configuration name to start the configuration. AutoQC Loader will start the monitoring the local folder specified in the configuration for new results files. Uncheck the box to stop the configuration.
The selected configuration can be edited by clicking the Edit
button to the right of the Saved configurations
To make a copy of the configuration, click the Copy
In addition, the following buttons are enabled when a configuration is selected in the Saved configurations
You can export some or all of your saved configurations to a AutoQC Configuration file (.qcfg) by clicking the Share
button in the main program window.
In the Share Configurations
form select the configurations you want to export and click the Save
In the Windows File Explorer navigate to the folder where you want to save the file.
Configurations contained in the exported AutoQC Configuration file (.qcfg) can be imported into AutoQC Loader by clicking the Import
button and selecting the .qcfg file in the File Explorer.
Configurations that cannot be validated appear in red text in the list of configurations in the main window (e.g. "Fusion 1" in the screenshot below). Configurations can become invalid, for example, if the path to the Skyline document or the folder to monitor no longer exist on the computer. A configuration may also become invalid if the user email and password saved in the Panorama settings can no longer be authenticated, or if the permissions were changed on the Panorama server and the user does not have permissions to upload to the selected Panorama folder.
Attempting to run an invalid configuration will display an error message as can be seen in the example below where the path to the Skyline document does not exist on the computer.
To fix an invalid configuration either double-click the configuration name or select the configuration and click the Edit
button. This will open the Configuration Set Up Manager
which will step through the configuration issues which must be addressed to fix the configuration.
AutoQC Loader Settings
If you want AutoQC Loader to keep running continuously on your computer, and start-up automatically after the computer restarts check the Keep AutoQC Loader running
checkbox in the Settings
tab. This will place a shortcut to AutoQCStarter.exe in the Windows Startup folder. AutoQCStarter.exe checks every few minutes to see if AutoQC Loader is running, and starts it if it is not running. Any configurations that were running when AutoQC Loader was last running are also started.
Check the Minimize program to Windows System Tray
to minimize the AutoQC Loader window to the Windows System Tray
instead of the Task Bar.
AutoQC Loader writes to a log file (AutoQC.log) that is located in a directory with the same name as the name of the configuration. This directory can be found in the directory that contains the template Skyline document. You can open this directory by selecting a configuration and clicking the "Open Folder" icon shown below and selecting Log Folder
The contents of the log can be viewed in the Log
tab by selecting the configuration in the Configurations
tab and clicking the View Log
button. Once the Log
tab is active you can also choose the log for any configuration from the dropdown list above the pane displaying the log text. The folder containing the log file for the selected configuration can also be opened by clicking the Open Folder
button in the Log
Please provide this log file to the developers if you run into any issues with AutoQC Loader.
AutoQC Loader creates a monthly archive (*.sky.zip) of the Skyline document. Archive creation is triggered when the first run is imported into the document in a given month. For example, when the first run is imported into the Skyline document, QC_doc.sky, in the month of August 2015, an archive file, QC_doc_2015_07.sky.zip, is created in the same directory as QC_doc.sky.