One of the difficult issues when working with software is that technology continuously changes. This is even more true in the mobile era. In chemical visualization, we have seen several solutions over the last few decades, and a lot of them are very good. One, in particular, is Jmol, a Java application that is popularly deployed as an applet for molecular visualization and interaction in web sites and web applications. However, current trends are not favoring Java applets. First, no mobile devices support Java applications, and certainly Java applets will not run in mobile browsers. Secondly, we are seeing a increasing trend in hackers exploiting Java applet vulnerabilities. The recent problems on Mac OS X with the Flashback virus is a key example. To combat the virus, a recent Mac OS X update actually disabled all Java applets (which can then be reenabled by the user in Java Preferences, but will also disable them again after a certain amount of time has passed). Combined with poor performance of some applet solutions across desktop platforms, it is clear that developers need to reduce their dependence on Java applets.
Concerning licensing, the Jmol source is under LGPL license, while the ChemDoodle Web Components are distributed under a GPL v3 license with liberal HTML exception. Most academic and open source projects will not have any issues and should feel free to use Jmol/ChemDoodle in those projects. If you feel that the GPL license does not allow you to use Jmol’s mobile features (for instance, proprietary commercial use), feel free to contact us, we are happy to provide you with alternate licensing.
The integration of the ChemDoodle Web Components into Jmol is a great example of how we can create scientific applications that can work with evolving technologies, while retaining compatibility with current user bases. HTML5 tools are becoming very popular, and we have several components in the ChemDoodle Web Components library to suit your products needs, from a chemical sketcher, to spectra rendering, to 3D graphics and interaction across desktop and mobile devices. Update your product today and expand your market into the mobile arena!
Here are a few demo pages: