The state of the art in structure editors for chemical Web services is Java applets. Although closed editors have long dominated this field, Open Source editors are a possibly viable option. Java applets are great from a developer's perspective. But applets are avoided by some end users and IT support for their underlying need to install a Java plug-in of some kind and long startup times.
Through David Bradly's sciencebase, I came across a non-Java solution to the structure editor problem. The software is called WebME. WebME looks and feels similar to Java Molecular Editor. It loads quickly and provides a clean, inviting user interface. It should work in any modern browser. Most interesting of all, WebME works without a browser plugin of any kind.
Despite its advantages, the AJAX approach does involve some trade-offs. For example, WebME is not nearly as responsive as, say, JME. I would imagine that unusually high network latency could further erode WebME's responsiveness. Furthermore, the subtle visual cues that make JME a productive tool, such as highlighting the node or edge the cursor is about to edit, are non-existent. It's unclear if this is a limitation of this particular version of WebME I used or the underlying technology.