XMDS and dragging content into other Mac apps

xmdsdrag1One of the things that one must become accustomed to when using a Mac regularly is that drag’n’drop is actually an effective way to get real work done. Two main use case scenarios are considered: getting graphics images of molecules into presentation tools (e.g. Pages or Keynote), and getting raw data into another cheminformatics tool (e.g. uploading an SDfile to a browser-based application). Both of these are now functioning in the pre-alpha version of XMDS  (the OS X Molecular DataSheet), which essentially brings it to demo-ready status. Continue reading

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Ergonomic molecule editing, and praise for Mac-style dialogs

macdialogNormally I wouldn’t consider a trivial dialog box to be worthy of a blog post, but it’s as good a time as any for a progress update on XMDS. The sketching interface for editing molecular structures is now somewhat feature complete. There are a few bits to come back to, but in general the methods for adding, deleting, editing and aligning atoms and bonds are available in a highly redundant way. By redundant, I mean that in a good way. The editor is based on a confluence of methodologies that I’ve built out in various products over the years: (1) the conventional way of drawing molecules with a painting-style toolbox (see SketchEl); (2) the “drawing primitives” designed for precise editing when user interaction is expensive, motivated by mobile devices with tiny screens; and (3) keyboard shortcuts, designed so that an expert can draw molecules incredibly quickly without having to reach for the mouse, battle-tested with the BlackBerry version of MMDS back in 2010, when touchscreens were not yet ubiquitous. Continue reading

Dabbling with the desktop: molecular datasheet app on the mac

xmds_firstpreviewThis is a way-too-soon sneak preview of what might someday end up as a commercial product. Currently residing under the project acronym XMDS, it is related to the MMDS app, for Mac OS X (i.e. X-Molecular DataSheet). The minimum viable feature set is intended to be approximately equivalent to the datasheet & molecule editor that is implemented by the open source SketchEl project. Continue reading