Listen, we had a good run together. But I've fallen for another: ChemBioDraw Ultra 14.
My good friends at PerkinElmer (PKI) were kind enough to grant me trial access to their spiffy new chemistry drawing software. As an avid user since, oh, say, ChemDraw Pro 4.5, I feel confident in stating that this version wins all around for smoother operation, better templates, easier file export, and better shortcut keys.
So, I figured what PKI really wanted me to do most was to try and BREAK ChemBioDraw 14.0
. . .if I could. Did I succeed? Let's talk a walk through the software and find out.
|CBD 14.0 means NEVER seeing this screen again (hooray!)|
Drawing hasn't changed much since 13.0. At least the text direction auto-correct -- which drove me batty in former iterations -- seems to have been tweaked; the system now opens my older drawings the way I typed 'em in originally (hence, below, attaching pasta sauce to a scaffold in place of a sugary placeholder).
|I promise this made sense in earlier ChemDraw versions...|
The CBD 14.0-to-SciFinder jump works much more smoothly than I had anticipated. For those of us who shuddered through dial-up desktop versions of SciFinder in the late '90s, this version feels like the sleek Lamborghini of the search world. After drawing (or importing) my structures of choice, I lassoed them up and pressed the little "SciFinder diamond" on the top toolbar. Within about 5 seconds, a new window opened with the standard exact / substructure motif. Two clicks later, I'd be deep into the primary literature.
So, my goal was to break the system, right? Here's a logical place to try - I attempted to load each and every complex structure I had drawn since starting my fledgling blogger's career, around 2009 or thereabouts. Again, I was amazed by the speed and accuracy of the SciFinder pop-out, which returned roughly 90% of the correct molecules I'd searched for (below):
|From this 2011 post|
|From this 2013 post|
|From this 2014 post|
|Sigh. If only I remembered what they were all supposed to be...|
Now, even after aligning my query using the proper template, SciFinder makes a mess out of it.
|From this 2012 post|
So, obviously I went looking for things to break, and found some rather limited examples. Honestly? The rest of the program works pretty well. And writing this review gave me a wonderful opportunity to poke and prod at the product in ways I hadn't in far too long.*** I finally realized you could change the solvent on the NMR predictor! I played around with expanding and collapsing peptide and RNA strings. And the post-drawing mods to more complex peptides, like disulfide and lactam cross-linking? Much better.
|Found on p. 126 of the User Guide. (Get it?)|
I'd like to shake the hand of the person who slipped this in...
|R.I.P., Optimizing Octopus|
I will take this final moment to remember a long-lost piece of ChemDraw lore. Once upon a time, to "clean up" one's structures, the icon looked something like this (right). I've heard it referred to as a jellyfish, a squid, a broom (no!), but I always knew it as a friendly little octopus. With CBD 14, any doubt about its brushiness has been cast aside with a full-out icon redesign.
Looks great, guys. Now let me think about more ways to use it for actual work!
Thanks again to Philip Skinner and PerkinElmer for the chance to review the software.---
*For other blog reviews of ChemDraw products, see Jess The Chemist, Andre the Chemist (no relation), or Chemjobber.
**Here's the structures that returned empty SciFinder searches. Both compounds (left, right) were first reported in 2014.