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FlaME: Flash Molecular Editor - a 2D structure input tool for the web

Pavel Dallakian* and Norbert Haider

Author Affiliations

Department of Drug and Natural Product Synthesis, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

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Journal of Cheminformatics 2011, 3:6  doi:10.1186/1758-2946-3-6

Published: 1 February 2011

Abstract

Background

So far, there have been no Flash-based web tools available for chemical structure input. The authors herein present a feasibility study, aiming at the development of a compact and easy-to-use 2D structure editor, using Adobe's Flash technology and its programming language, ActionScript. As a reference model application from the Java world, we selected the Java Molecular Editor (JME). In this feasibility study, we made an attempt to realize a subset of JME's functionality in the Flash Molecular Editor (FlaME) utility. These basic capabilities are: structure input, editing and depiction of single molecules, data import and export in molfile format.

Implementation

The result of molecular diagram sketching in FlaME is accessible in V2000 molfile format. By integrating the molecular editor into a web page, its communication with the HTML elements on this page is established using the two JavaScript functions, getMol() and setMol(). In addition, structures can be copied to the system clipboard.

Conclusion

A first attempt was made to create a compact single-file application for 2D molecular structure input/editing on the web, based on Flash technology. With the application examples presented in this article, it could be demonstrated that the Flash methods are principally well-suited to provide the requisite communication between the Flash object (application) and the HTML elements on a web page, using JavaScript functions.

Graphical abstract