Using JUMBO for viewing CML files

Even if you are impatient to see the demos, it's worth reading this to avoid a number of simple errors and misconceptions

This distribution contains all the Java classes for the molecular viewer JUMBO. The demos are constructed so that you can use your browser automatically without installation or configuration. This is therefore one of the first projects to produce portable interactive installation-free molecular science, and represents a milestone in chemical publishing. However it is using very new technology (the first main release of Java) and there are some rough edges which we hope you will forgive. (The next release out soon, JDK 1.1, makes a lot of difference).

It relies on your having a Java-enabled browser, such as Netscape V3 or greater. (If your browser does not support Java, it will simply fail to do anything, without giving a message.) One useful way to check is to locate the Java console (under Options in Netscape) and to open it. This is a useful check to see if anything is happening or what errors occur.

Differences in portability

JUMBO has been tested on several platforms running Netscape (SUN-Sparc, SGI, Windows95 and Mac) and works on all. However there are slight differences between these and your local configuration could also have an effect. (Remember that we cannot test all combinations of machine and browser.) Here are some areas (primarily Netscape) where we have found variations over which we don't have control and which might disconcert you:

If you take a few minutes to play with the simpler examples, you should get used to the feel of the windows on your machine.

Advice on using JUMBO

The main purpose of these demos is to show the breadth and power of CML. JUMBO is at alpha level and there are features in the GUI which I expect to change in later releases. Bugs in JUMBO do not reflect on CML, and I hope that other CML browsers will become available. (The XML project has already produced two robust parsers which will be bolted into JUMBO shortly). JUMBO is being developed as an editor as well as a browser and a number of features (e.g. the File, Trash, Clipboard, Object selection) are not required for browsing. JUMBO also has search facilities which you should ignore.

Here are some points to be aware of:

Problems and Errors

It is extremely difficult to debug interactive applications by e-mail or on the phone! I know how frustrating it is when you can't get something to work. I am afraid I can't guarantee any help for this distribution, because there are two many variables (machines, browsers, local settings that I don't have access to). I have had errors that I don't understand (particularly ClassLoader errors, VerifyErrors and other fundamental Java problems). In some cases these may result from your local settings (e.g. CLASSPATH, memory, etc.).

OK - Please accept the following:
JUMBO may not work well or at all on your machine at present. It will improve rapidly. Please do not: We do hope to start a Web page, or a mailing list, or both and these will be the quickest ways of finding whether problems are general or local to a site.

Good luck, and Smile!

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© Peter Murray-Rust, 1996, 1997