Rachis, A Cross-platform Hierarchical Identification System

Rachis is an open-source application for the arrangement of entities in a hierarchical system (taxonomy), and an interactive key for the entities in that system.

Rachis has currently been ported to Linux and Microsoft Windows. Support for more operating systems is planned. The GUI is implemented using wxWidgets and porting to systems with a wxWidgets port should be trivial.

The development of Rachis is in a very early stage at the moment, but progressing at a reasonable pace. Contributors, in any form whatsoever are welcomed. If you would like to help develop Rachis itself, plugins, graphics, web content, provide encouragement, a key, send bug reports etc then please contact us.

Rachis has evolved from Taxabase. It is (re)-written from scratch applying the lessons learned in the development of Taxabase. The goals of Rachis are outlined in a separate document (see links). In general terms the main goals are better integration with the host operating system, better file formats that can be easily imported into applications like spreadsheets, and plugin support.

Although Rachis, the application, is open-source and licensed under the GPL, taxonomy's or databases created using it are subject to their own licensing restrictions as expected. Rachis is a tool for creating. What the creators want to do with those creations is up to them, although freedom is always encouraged.


09-Apr-2006 – Rachis 0.0.36 released.

The second public release of Rachis was posted on Sourceforge today. Many changes, as milestone one gets nearer, and functionality that doesn't relate to diagnosing unknown specimens (the “Key Dialog”) is nearing completion. This first stage of Rachis relates to the “builder” functions of the application.

05-Feb-2006 – Rachis 0.0.14 released.

This version is still pre-alpha and has only been tested on Linux (GTK). As soon as editing features are implemented I will test more thoroughly on MS-Windows and release a binary (pre-compiled) for that platform. Hopefully a demo data set to test with Rachis will be developed also.


The main Rachis dialog (Linux version)
The Edit Diagnostic Characters dialog (Linux version)


Download Rachis


Goals Updated 2006-01-08
Rachis File Format Updated 2006-01-21


        Craig Robbins

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