Macs in Chemistry

Insanely Great Science


Adding substructure searching to a FileMaker Pro Database


Anyone who has had to store or search a collection of chemical structures rapidly realises that they need a software tool with a little chemical intelligence. Whilst there are a number of commercial databases they tend to be rather expensive and often require a knowledge of SQL or dedicated IT support. Fine for large corporations but not suitable for a single chemist or small group. In contrast FileMaker Pro is a popular desktop database with an easy to use interface (there are also server and mobile versions). Unfortunately whilst it is easy to use it does not support chemical structure based searching. Fortunately FileMaker Pro comes with an easy to use scripting interface and we can create scripts that run command line applications like Openbabel.


This tutorial shows how to add substructure and similarity searching to a FileMaker Pro database, full details are available here including download of example database.


The Free Diagnostic Pathology Software Project


I’ve been approached a couple of times by people asking me if I know of any software to organise the workflow, instrument booking in a science lab. I’ve seen a couple but they seem rather expensive and focussed on proprietary platforms.

I just read an interesting article describing a FileMaker-based software project generated by a NHS histopathology laboratory describing their work on a laboratory workflow tool used to capture information.

Many histopathology laboratories are using antiquated reporting software. Upgrading to a more modern system is expensive. Even the more modern systems often lack the technology needed for pathologists to efficiently report complex cases allowing workflow to be visually managed and supporting the use of customisable templates and proformas. They are often difficult to use across multiple sites. We have developed web based reporting software that overcomes these difficulties. This has been used to report thousands of cases; many complex tumour cases requiring key data element capture.

There is an online demo, and you can download the software to try it out using the 30-day demo license from FileMaker.

They are now near to completing a much more sophisticated version of the software written specifically for Filemaker 13, and exploiting the the improved functionality of the HTML5 based WebDirect browser access, and access via the FileMaker Go app on iPad and iPhone. This version of the software is also being adapted for use in other areas of clinical medicine, including breast surgery. This version works beautifully on mobile devices, together with web browsers, PCs and Macs.


FileMaker Pro Update

I see FileMaker Pro has been updated to 12.0v3. For my point of view it is nice they have sorted out the issues with plugins, full details are here

Download from here