Copyright©2007 Antony Williams
Ah…the cathartic nature of being back on the blog…family vacations and work travel are very distracting….
I’ve blogged previously about the question “What is Web 2.0“. In the list of “what it takes to be Web 2.0 according to Wikipedia I noted that one of the criteria is “A rich, interactive, user-friendly interface based on Ajax or similar frameworks.”
If you’ve been using ChemSpider in the past couple of days you will notice at the Search Screen and the Services screen an improvement in usability. Why? Ajax. With literally a couple of hours of work these screens were ajaxified (if it doesn’t exist I’m using it in scrabble and demanding it gets included into Websters!) and the flow of using the screen improved significantly as ChemSpider took on more of a “desktop feel”. it feels good to have made one more step towards delivering “Web 2.0 compatability”. Truly the excitement is more on the development of the social networking system under development now – when completed it will extend the curation aspects of the database and specifically allow users to add their own data into the system. This should be unveiled in its first state within the month..hopefully sooner.
Back to Ajax and a new feature, “ChemSpider Suggest”. For those of you using the system by typing in a text string to locate a record we have noticed that spelling errors abound. Now, something of these are subtle…asprin instead of aspirin (phonetically correct some would say) while others are dramatic differences mostly driven by linguistic differences….when your first language is not English all spellings are phonetic in nature…and the phonetic result is based on how you pronounce things in your language. A tough situation to deal with. With ChemSpider suggest you can start typing the first few letters of the word you are interested in searching for and it will give you a list of potentials as shown below. Imagine not being sure how to spell prostaglandin or erythromycin…such a tool dramatically helps find the right word to search and the chances of ChemSpider finding what you’re interested in. There are two parameters we can tune at present and we’d like your input – the number of letters to type before a suggestion shows up and the number of rows to suggest. Let us know your thoughts on the blog or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!