SLIKS Stingers Lightweight Interactive Key logo

(Stinger's Lightweight Interactive Key Software)

Copyright (c) Gerald F. Guala 2004-12

SLIKS is a small Javascript  program that I developed to facilitate the use of interactive keys. You are undoubtedly aware that there are many of these programs available. At one point I listed links to 32 of them on a web page and that didn't begin to capture the diversity among them. Unfortunately, almost all of these programs require downloads of some sort to run them, they usually run on only a single platform or (even worse) from a single web site where the data are held in captivity, and they usually aren't free. SLIKS is written in simple Javascript and distributed under the GNU public license.   It runs over the web or locally on your machine.  Users can download their own copy or use it from your web site. It runs through the web browser so it is essentially platform independant.

I made SLIKS to introduce a lot more people to interactive keys. It is not intended to compete with much more feature rich systems such as LucID and Intkey. They have been around for a long time and are very well developed. They just have never been useable in a lot of situations that I wanted them to be. SLIKS is intended to fill the gap that they haven't after many years of development and I hope that SLIKS might prompt the many organizations and individuals putting  a lot of effort into interactive key products and data sets to make those products and their data sets, more open and accessible. I also hope that it will liberate a lot of data that are currently hidden in propietary products so that we can all use them for bigger and better analyses and tools than were ever dreamed of by their creators. One thing to note, if you want to make money by making people pay for access to your data (or anyone's data), you should probably look for another product. I don't care if you sell your data sets, but you can't sell SLIKS, and because anyone with minimal computer skills can read your actual data file when they use SLIKS, you don't have software protection from people seeing your original data.  Nothing is hidden (not even the source code) and you can't pretend to have a secret black box with SLIKS because there isn't one. You also shouldn't consider SLIKS if you need to use continuous characters (although I do have a prototype that uses them). Finally, you shouldn't consider SLIKS if you need support (and you don't have a javascript programmer handy) or if you need more features than are there. It is what it is, and it is there for you to use. I'll likely add features when I can but I can't promise any more than that.


KEYS in SLIKS (Current Versions)
(Note that if you must use Firefox in versions 1.1 or later, you should install the free IE Tab extension . It takes seconds from the Tools->Add-ons->Extensions menu in Firefox.
(Also note that, of course, you must have javascript turned on in any browser to use these)

All Grass Species of the US (by state) (Part of the USDA PLANTS Database)
All Gymnosperm Species of the US (Part of the USDA PLANTS Database)
Wetland Monocots of the USA (Part of the USDA PLANTS Database)
All Legumes in the US (by state) (Part of the USDA PLANTS Database)

Key to the genus Amelanchier in North America by Chris Campbell

Key to several kinds of pollen in Missouri by David Bogler

University of Calgary Herbarium's Key to Alberta Plants.

Knud Ib Christensen's SLIKS Keys Keys for groups in the Flora of Denmark, Flora Hellenica, Floria Nordica and other areas. He also has an Instruction Manual in Danish

An implementation of SLIKS keys on a FREE server ( This is just to show that you can produce and implement SLIKS keys on the web easily and with absolutely no cost

An example of a richly illustrated SLIKS key. This shows how to put images and backgrounds in all parts of a SLIKS key.

The definitive key to Ukuleles (yes Ukuleles)

Weeds of Container Nurseries SLIKS Key

The genus Hymenodon


Useful SLIKS versions and permutations by others.

SAIKS (SLIKS  Alike Interactive Key Software) This is a great  program. Greg Alexander, a real programmer, just completely rewrote SLIKS. It runs in just about all browsers. It also allows you to code multiple states for a given taxon without splitting up the character.  Just put a SLIKS data set (the .js file) in the same folder as  the SAIKS .js and  single html file, open the html file in notepad or some other editor and change the filename (ending in .js) in the first script line to match yours. Great job Greg!

JEPSON FLORA SLIKS KEYS These are in an older version of SLIKS modified to work with a MEKA to SLIKS converter by Chris Meacham. The important  thing here is that there is a converter for MEKA data to SLIKS format - Thanks Chris!

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Interactive Keys to the Woody Plants of New York State and the New York Metropolitan Area. NOTE: You will need to hit RESTART to begin. These are downloadable keys with very nice imbedded illustrations.  Gerry Moore, Cathy Rushworth, Steve Glenn, and Jinshuang Ma have done a great job with them.

In Older Versions

ACER key 
This is a small demo based on one of the first data sets ever to run in an interactive key (Larry E. Morse's IDENT in 1969). It is a leaf key for the Maples (Acer) of Michigan. The data set was then used in interactive keys (IDENT then ONLINE and INTKEY) in John Beaman's Plant Systematics course at MSU for the next 20 years.

MAGNOLIACEAE of North America (adapted from FNA with links to FNA as well as PLANTS - This key also illustrates how to put character illustrations directly into the key)
These Magnoliaceae keys show how you can put images and hyperlinks directly into the keys.
MAGNOLIACEAE de Norte America (En Español)

Here are some other older demos based on the species of Magnolia in my neighborhood in Virginia where I lived when I wrote this program.

SLIKS DEMO1 (using simple web pages and images)
SLIKS DEMO2 (using links to the USDA PLANTS database)
SLIKS PDA DEMO (Written for IE on Pocket PC 2003)



Note: some network settings may prevent SLIKSMaker from running properly over the internet. If it doesn't work online for you, please download it and run it locally

Page last updated: 29 Feb. 2012
Contact STINGER at STINGERSPLACE.COM for more information.