Motivation

The interactive visualization of very large macromolecular complexes on the web is becoming a challenging problem as experimental techniques advance at an unprecedented rate and deliver structures of increasing size.

Results

We have tackled this problem by developing highly memory-efficient and scalable extensions for the NGL WebGL-based molecular viewer and by using Macromolecular Transmission Format (MMTF), a binary and compressed MMTF. These enable NGL to download and render molecular complexes with millions of atoms interactively on desktop computers and smartphones alike, making it a tool of choice for web-based molecular visualization in research and education.

Availability and implementation

The source code is freely available under the MIT license at github.com/arose/ngl and distributed on NPM (npmjs.com/package/ngl). MMTF-JavaScript encoders and decoders are available at github.com/rcsb/mmtf-javascript.

This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)