The structural bioinformatics library: modeling in biomolecular science and beyond

Bioinformatics. 2017 Apr 1;33(7):997-1004. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btw752.


Motivation: Software in structural bioinformatics has mainly been application driven. To favor practitioners seeking off-the-shelf applications, but also developers seeking advanced building blocks to develop novel applications, we undertook the design of the Structural Bioinformatics Library ( SBL , ), a generic C ++/python cross-platform software library targeting complex problems in structural bioinformatics. Its tenet is based on a modular design offering a rich and versatile framework allowing the development of novel applications requiring well specified complex operations, without compromising robustness and performances.

Results: The SBL involves four software components (1-4 thereafter). For end-users, the SBL provides ready to use, state-of-the-art (1) applications to handle molecular models defined by unions of balls, to deal with molecular flexibility, to model macro-molecular assemblies. These applications can also be combined to tackle integrated analysis problems. For developers, the SBL provides a broad C ++ toolbox with modular design, involving core (2) algorithms , (3) biophysical models and (4) modules , the latter being especially suited to develop novel applications. The SBL comes with a thorough documentation consisting of user and reference manuals, and a bugzilla platform to handle community feedback.

Availability and implementation: The SBL is available from


Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Gene Library*
  • Licensure
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Software