ChemWriter & Web-based Chemistry ELNs

The “Chemistry-centric” front end bit of the ELN problem isn’t really our gig – although we’re happy to play our part in enabling the deployment of such products to Chemists whilst we keep everyone else in the organisation happy. So we see a lot of Chemistry ELNs but we don’t really have much interest in them apart from the fact that some of our users use them.

However, my inner geek keeps looking at the existing Chemistry ELN products from a technical perspective and thinking:

  • They’re mostly based on quite old platforms. Web 2.0 isn’t really making an appearance – this is very traditional enterprise software with all the associated problems.
  • I’m not sure what value these really thick clients are adding. Seems like a really expensive and painful way to make Excel harder to use, and are a general support nightmare.
  • What’s going to happen when someone takes something like WordPress and adds structures to it?

The more I play with things like WordPress and Rails, the more impressed I am with what can be done with web UIs. And then I bump into things like Metamolecular’s ChemWriter and I think the future will be rather exciting…

The next question is if these solutions will come out of the Open Source community or commercial providers. Having met some of the guys in Academia I suspect it’ll be taking what they’ve done and bending it slightly to the needs of commercial organisations (plus adding support services etc.)

Anyway, hopefully all of this innovation on the front end means more people with the problem our PatentSafe product solves. Which of course is delightful…

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