After HTML5 – the Flash alternative

In the previous post I used the WebGL library three.js to produce a 3D space-filling model of serotonin. Without getting into a silly HTML5 vs Flash war, I have produced the same model with Flash Stage3d using the Away3d library. In a future post I’ll explain the advantages and problems of using Flash or WebGL, but for now, serotonin Flash style.

You will need Flash Player 11 or greater

Something to make you feel better – serotonin

The Pubchem site contains more than 0.8 million 3D structures of molecules. I have used an sdf file from this site to produce a space-filling molecular model of serotonin. The first technology I have used for producing the models is WebGL. This is a browser-based specification using javascript. I have used the 3D library three.js. to produce a space-filling model of the serotonin molecule. The 3D molecule can be seen by clicking on the picture. Serotonin ThreeJs

Using 3d web gaming technologies

Visualising the structure of molecules in 3D on the web is useful for education and other communication activities. Web-based java and HTML5 viewers exist that allow this. However, I think that gaming technologies will allow models to be used in more sophisticated learning objects where users can select and highlight specific structural or functional regions of the molecules. This will enhance the learner’s experience and make it more immersive.

I have used WebGL, Flash and Unity3D, all 3D technologies that are popular with online gaming developers, to visualise molecules.