Version History of MDL Chime
by Eric Martz, March 2004 (revised July 2008).
This information is not readily available from
MDL created the Chime plug-in.
They have kept the source code proprietary and shared it with nobody
outside MDL. Therefore they completely control the pace of Chime development.
No major new capabilities have been added since 1998. Versions since 1998
have largely involved maintenance to fix bugs and maintain compabibility
with Internet Explorer.
Below is a partial chronology of MDL's releases of Chime versions,
and their impact on the Martz MolviZ.Org Resources.
Downloading & Installing Chime,
History of Visualization of Biological
Until 2001, Chemscape was MDL's name for a product line that
included Chime, through Chime 2.6 SP2. Starting with Chime 2.6 SP3,
MDL discontinued the name "Chemscape".
Changes in each version are listed in the "release notes" that accompany
each version of Chime downloaded from MDL.
These are available only when the respective version is installed -- they
are not archived on MDL's website.
Below I have mentioned only changes that had major impact on my work.
Many changes of significance to MDL's customers are not mentioned.
Most recent first:
- Chime 2.6 SP7 (Month? 2007): This version was released to enable
Chime to work in Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. I have not tested it because
I am doing all new work with Jmol, and
phasing out the use of Chime.
Tamas Gunda reports that the callback functions (crucial for Protein Explorer)
do not work in Firefox 2.
- Chime 2.6 SP6 (March, 2004): At the request of Eric Martz, Bob Dickey of MDL
kindly fixed a disastrous
bug in the Chime
installer identified by Eric Martz and Robert Lancashire. The bug, first
introduced in SP4, was a
typographical error "pbd" instead of "pdb" that was inserted into the Window
Registry. In Internet Explorer only, this intermittantly caused
files served with names ending ".pdb" to fail to display (e.g. clicking on
atp.pdb), with a spurious error message mentioning
"atp.pbd" and "ChimeShimLibrary Object". This bug broke a key Chime
troubleshooting step, and caused PDB files to be saved incorrectly as .pbd files.
- Chime 2.6 SP5 (December, 2003): Bug fixes, none of which impacted
Martz MolVis resources.
- Chime 2.6 SP4 (September, 2002):
- Version reporting. Prior to this version, there was no
straightforward way for Internet Explorer to determine the version of Chime
installed. In Chime 2.6 SP4, the "show version" command was updated to report the
previous versions of Chime had the "show version" command, but it reported 1.0
all the way through 2.6 SP3. This fix to the "show version" command, requested
by Eric Martz, enabled Protein Explorer to determine whether a compatible
version of Chime was installed. (Because Netscape created the plug-in
protocol, it had always provided a mechanism to determine the version
- Support for Internet
Explorer 6.0 and Windows XP.
- Fixed a disastrous bug in the installer that caused Internet Explorer
to work improperly with Chime when Chime had first been installed only
in Netscape, then later in Internet Explorer. This problem was diagnosed
by Eric Martz in efforts that took several months and involved setting
up Virtual Machines so any version of Internet Explorer could be tested
at will (despite Microsoft making this extraordinarly difficult). Martz's
report to MDL pinpointed the problem, enabling MDL to fix it.
- Chime 2.6 SP3 (October, 2001): During summer 2001, Microsoft
abruptly removed "plug-in" support from their Internet Explorer browser
in version 5.5 SP2. This made Chime fail to work for the large percentage of Chime
users who preferred Internet Explorer. MDL responded quickly with this version of Chime
which re-enabled Chime to work within Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2 and later.
Chime 2.6 SP3 doesn't work in IE versions 5.5 SP1 or earlier; Chime 2.6 SP2
or earlier don't work in IE 5.5 SP2 or later.
- Chime 2.6 SP2 (June, 2001): Further fixes for browser crashing.
- Chime 2.6 SP1 (early 2001): Issues installing Chime in IE and under Win2000, and
browser crashing issues were
- Chime 2.6 (December, 2000): At the request of Eric Martz, Jean Holt
of MDL kindly added a new command "show pdbheader". This was crucial in order
as illustrated in the "Features of the Molecule" control panel within Protein
Explorer 2.1 Alpha (released July, 2003). Unfortunately, it turned out
that "show pdbheader" worked in Netscape 4 but not in Internet Explorer.
MDL refused to fix this bug, which created huge problems for Protein Explorer
and the majority of its users.
- Chime 2.0.3 (August, 1999, following 2.0.1, 2.0.2 for Windows, and 2.0a
for Macintosh). Fixed a disastrous bug that precluded loading PDB files
from the Protein Data Bank because the URL exceeded 80 characters in length.
- Chime 2.0 (November, 1998): Many major enhancements. First version
for Macintosh PPC; 32 bit for Windows 95/98/NT. During 1996-1998,
MDL had a very active develoment Chime team. Chime 1.0 and much of Chime 2.0
were designed and implemented by Tim Maffett and Bryan van Vliet. Chime 2.0
was completed by Franklin Adler and Jean Holt, among others.
- Chime 1.0 (January 1, 1997). 16 and 32 bit versions for Windows 3.1 and
Windows 95 respectively, and for Macintosh 68000.
- Chime 0.9x (series in 1996): The first publically-available web-based
resources were developed with pre-version 1 Chime. See
History of Visualization of Biological
Feedback to Eric Martz.