Thursday, 20 August 2009

MolCore - a new beginning for OpenBabel and RDKit

Is it possible to design something exactly right first time? In the world of software design, the answer is no. There are some design decisions whose impact you will only realise years down the line, perhaps as you try to extend the software to handle unforeseen uses. At that point, you're stuck with design decisions that you cannot easily change without major work.

A case in point - in OpenBabel, atoms are numbered from 1 but bonds from 0. Bug heaven.

A few weeks ago the first steps were made in sorting out these sorts of issues; a new project, MolCore, was registered on SourceForge with the goal of developing a common Molecule object for both RDKit and OpenBabel. This will largely be based on RDKit code, but will pool together the collective wisdom of developers on both sides regarding things they wished had been done differently.

As ever with an open source project, all the discussion occurs in public so if interested check out the wiki pages and subscribe to the mailing list.

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