Signals Blog

Building ChemTab: Displaying a Grid of Chemical Structures in a Browser

As previously mentioned, I'm building an iPad application called ChemTab to visualize chemical structure data. Development of this app has been proceeding fast enough that I can now show the first of what will hopefully be many screenshots of work in progress.

You may be wondering why, if I'm creating iPad software to be distributed in the App Store, would I be using HTML? The answer is simple: ChemTab will be a native app built mainly with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If that sounds impossible, stick around and I'll show you how it's done.

A few words about the screenshot may be useful. Behind the scenes, I've written an SD file parser with be beginnings of a high-performance I/O system to work with potentially very large Structure Data (SD) files. The entire table is generated dynamically using JavaScript together and ChemWriter for structure depiction. The table can be programmatically scrolled up and down, just like a spreadsheet or table of images.

There's still a lot more work to be done on every level, but hopefully this first look at ChemTab offers a better idea of where we're going.