[Molvis-list] RasTop on sourceforge

Philippe valadon at ix.netcom.com
Fri Jun 1 01:03:21 EDT 2007

Dear All,

RasTop has found a new home on sourceforge at 
http://sourceforge.net/projects/rastop/. A release package, version 2.2, is 
available for download and the source is accessible through a subversion 
repository.  I came recently to the conclusion that this was the best 
opportunity for this software to continue its road as it becomes quite clear 
that I don't have the time anymore to take care of it.

Just to remind you, RasTop is a molecular visualization software derived 
from rasmol. Its main characteristics are a very friendly graphical user 
interface and the possibility to save working sessions for latter uses. 
Otherwise RasTop is pretty much like rasmol and uses similar scripting 
methods. In term of statistic, RasTop has a download rate of 10,000 per year 
which hasn't changed much over the last 3 to 4 years.  There is also a 
French version which is a sort of standard in school although I lost contact 
with the person who developped it.  After calculation (following a recent a 
hot thread of Molvist list (http://bioinformatics.org/lists/molvis-list in 
the last few days regarding download statistics of varied molecuar 
visualization packages), it appears that around 10% of all rasmol users are 
in fact RasTop users! Bravo!

At the center of the software package, we have the rasmol molecular engine 
written in c, essentially by Roger Sayle (see www.rasmol.org for history). 
The piece almost acts like a library and is completely independent from the 
GUI; it is slightly improved over the current rasmol version for handling 
multiple molecules and has a rendering a little better (although this has 
nothing to compare of course with software based on OpenGL or other 
dedicated graphics libraries). The user interface is in c++ based on 
Microsoft Foundation Classes and has been mostly written by myself. The 
restriction to Windows and use of MFCs has certainly created an obstacle for 
larger developments but it wouldn't be too difficult to port the user 
interface to a different langage.

The possibilities of extension are countless and a community of users is 
certainely lacking, but there is definitively a number fans waiting for it. 
Anyway, if you feel that this is a project you would like to take care in 
part or in all, please let me know. There is room for new ports, new 
translations, new improvments, a new web site (the current one needs a new 
home), a community, and most of all, new *administrators*. Just contact me.

Philippe Valadon 

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