The Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry Specification, or SMILES for short, is a specification for describing the three-dimensional structure of chemicals using ASCII character strings. With a little bit of practice, these strings can be written, read and understood directly; a number of molecular software packages are able to read or generate SMILES strings.
SMILES as an unambiguous depiction of the atomic structure of molecules and as such, is crucial to successfully depicting and communicating about chemistry. Since organic chemistry is so dependent upon inter-relations between spatial elements, images are often indispensible to such depiction. There is software capable of generation and inclusion of images from SMILES strings, although they aren't generally a part of a central encyclopedia corpus such as Wikipedia.
- SMILES tutorial, http://www.daylight.com/dayhtml/smiles/smiles-intro.html
- Web based applications capable of rendering SMILES strings into 2D figures, http://www.daylight.com/daycgi/depict