BioImage Suite Web Command Line Tools


In addition to web-based applications and desktop applications, BioImage Suite modules can be accessed as command line applications, which is useful for batch-style processing. You may download the command line tools from our download webpage. The download is a single multiplatform package that works on MacOS, Windows, and Ubuntu Linux. The only dependency is Node.js 8.x.

Note: Roughly speaking, a modern web browser consists of two parts: (i) the web page rendering engine and (ii) the JavaScript engine. Node.js is based on V8, the JavaScript engine built into Google Chrome. This means that the back end of the command line tools in BioImage Suite Web are more or less the same as those in the browser.


There is very little needed. First, download the compressed file and extract it into a directory of your choice. On Unix this might be /usr/local/bisweb but any directory will work. As with all tools of a “Unix-y” heritage, it is best to not use folder names with spaces in them.

Once the files are uncompressed, you should see the following inside the folder.

bin  LICENSE        setpaths.bat
lib  README_js.txt  setpaths.csh  winbin

The actual tools are in the lib directory and consist of the JavaScript bundle file bisweb.js and the Web-Assembly library libbiswasm.wasm. These two files are technically all you need: the rest of the files are there to simplify calling these.

Using on Unix/MacOS

The first step is to add the tools to your path. The download bundle contains a script that will do this: use it by typing

source /usr/local/bisweb/

Replace ‘/usr/local/bisweb’ with the location where you extracted the files if necessary. If you use the csh/tcsh shells replace with setpaths.csh. This will add the scripts to your path.

As an example, to run the smooth image script and get its help page type:

bw_smoothImage -h

This produces the following:

.... Using node.js version 8.9.4 (OK)
,,,, Setting forcing orientationOnLoad to: None (from None), None
,,,, bisweb commandline user preferences loaded from /home/xenios/.bisweb
,,,,  {"orientationOnLoad":"None","snapshotscale":2,"snapshotdowhite":true}
---- Not enough arguments passed to run this tool

Usage: bisweb.js smoothImage [options]


    -V, --version       output the version number
    --sigma [n]         The gaussian kernel standard deviation (either in voxels or mm)
    --inmm [s]          Determines whether kernel standard deviation (sigma) will be measured in millimeters or voxels
    --radiusfactor [n]  This affects the size of the convolution kernel which is computed as sigma*radius+1
    --debug [s]         Toggles debug logging
    -i --input <s>      Load the image to be smoothed
    -o --output <s>     Save the output image
    --paramfile [s]     Specifies that parameters should be read from a file as opposed to parsed from the command line.
    --silent            Run in silent mode (no output on the console)
    -h, --help          output usage information

There are over 30 such tools in the bin directory that mirror the modules available in the web application.

Command Line vs Web Applications Figure 1: The options for the command line version of linear registration and the options for the web version of linear registration.

Here is a side-by-side view of the command line version of the linear registration tool and the graphical-user interface version in a Web Application. Other than the format for specifying inputs, parameters and handling the output files, the the code is identifical between the two versions.

Note: An observant reader may have noticed that the actual command invoked by bw_smoothImage is node bisweb.js smoothImage. The script bw_smoothImage contains the following three lines:

DIR="$( cd "$( dirname "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}" )" && pwd )"
node ${DIR}/../lib/bisweb.js smoothImage $@

The script is just a small wrapper around this command.

Using On Microsoft-Windows

The process is similar. If the software is installed in a directory c:\Yale\bisweb you may add the scripts to your paths using


Then the tools can be executed the same way as for Unix above. The Windows tools are in the winbin directory, though these are again simple scripts that directly mirror the Unix scripts. The same JS/Web Assembly Code is used in either case.

@echo off
node.exe %DIRNAME%..\lib\bisweb.js smoothImage %*

[BioImage Suite Web Manual Table Of Contents]    [BioImage Suite Web Main Page]

This page is part of BioImage Suite Web. We gratefully acknowledge support from the NIH Brain Initiative under grant R24 MH114805 (Papademetris X. and Scheinost D. PIs, Dept. of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine.)