Playing with D3js and AskiaVista

As you may already know, we added support for the Highcharts visualisation library as of version 6.0 of askiavista; and while it provides all the necessary visualisation needs for our online data analysis application, we had designed askiavista’s API to be agnostic when it comes to charting libraries.

From our initial use of NevronDundas Charts in version 5 to our use of Google Charts in one our initial demos of askiavista’s AJAX capabilities, we have always wanted to provide our users with the flexibility to chose their preferred charting library.

One such library we have always wanted to play around with is the amazing open source D3js visualisation components. This JavaScript library that produces dynamic, interactive data visualisations in web browsers. It makes use of the widely implemented SVG, HTML5 and CSS standards. While, D3 provides all basic types of charting components (bar, column, pie, area, …), it also provides many more advanced visualisations.

We have therefore played with both of those types of charts; from simple visualisations:

Classic bar chart

Diverging Stacked Bar Chart

… to more complex and advanced charts:

Sunburst Chart

Bubble Cross Tab

These Lab type demos are hooked up from a classic Askia survey via askiavista’s API to the D3 components. While D3 is not integrated by default in our API tooling, it is a simple proof-of-concept of such an implementation.

To view all the components we played around with, check out the full demo! Props to Brice de la Brière for making this possible!

Askia party at the Quirks Event!

Askia will be attending the Quirks Event on February 23rd and 24th at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge in New York. We’ll be at booth #12 with members of our New York, Los Angeles, Paris & London teams!

As usual, we’ll be showcasing our portfolio of survey authoring, data collection and analysis apps and we’ll be looking forward to meeting you there.

But we can’t take part in this great event without a party so we’ve decided on hosting our own! Here are the details:

When?

Monday, February 22nd from 7:00 PM till late.

Where?

At Bar Tabac, a French bistro only a 7-minute walk from the Quirks Event venue.

Join us there for drinks and bistro food! If you’re planning on attending, don’t hesitate to RSVP to askiaparty@askia.com.We are also partners with bluehost this time on BlueHost Cyber Monday Deal 2016

Askia – Christmas cards for surveys

Rather than sending out cliché christmas cards, for the last 8 years we’ve had the pleasure of crafting… well, different cards. These are generally the result of too much alcohol, very long meetings as well as the fact that Jérôme & Patrick like cross-dressing!

Each year, our founding members therefore alternate for their our pleasure. Below are all seven beauties in chronological order:

2008

This first christmas card was designed in the midst of the 2008 credit crisis and featured Patrick as a half-naked Santa Claus:

2008 christmas card

2009

This second christmas card was sent out a couple of months after we released version 1.0 of our Askia Design Controls… that ran at the time on Adobe’s Flash :)

2009 christmas card

2010

The below christmas card was designed as we had just opened our Mannheim office!

2010 christmas card

2011

This christmas card was our version of 2012 London summer Olympics and featuring Jérôme (our Harold Abrahams) competing against Patrick (a rugby version of Eric Lidell) on the beach in Normandy:

2011 christmas card

2012

Three years ago, we took a jab at DIY survey tools:

2012 christmas card

2013

In 2013, after releasing askiavista 6.0, Askia Design Controls 2.0 as well as our Zendesk-powered Help Centre, Jérôme went full frontal as a sumo:

2013 christmas card

2014

Last year, we invited Wonder Patrick to help us celebrate our new Los Angeles office

2014 christmas card

2015

This year, we decided to honor the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by unleashing our one & only: Princess Leia Organa Sopoçko!

2015 christmas card

So, the next 12 months will provide the usual batch of software updates, fixes and new features… until we release our next Christmas card!

Knowledge base updates

Below a quick introduction to the latest articles added to our Knowledge base by our tech support team.

Significance Testing for Overlapping & Independent Samples

This article gives more information on the situations in which overlapping samples can be sig tested in askiaanalyse. This KB article explains the correct tests to use when testing for significance in independent or overlapping samples.

Significance testing diagram

If you are sig testing columns and it’s the case that a respondent belongs to more than one column (e.g. in a multi-coded question or loop summary table) then the most statistically accurate tests to use are the paired tests. Otherwise, it’s the independent tests.

Check out the knowledge base article for the detailed version.

Clean up your askiafield environment

As with many server applications, we, as users, tend to let our askiafield server environment clutter with files, leftover metadata other useless tidbits. These can slow down the host environment and even impact production performance.
We have added a complete guide to get rid of this unused data, free up some space on your askiafield server.

From freeing up memory to speed up application responsiveness to backing up your SQL data and askiafield data to save storage space.

More information in the full article.

Programming Column Significance

This 3-part article details the use of Student Test column significance calculations in askiaanalyse. Each part of this article concentrates on specific aspect of these calculations:

1. Classical Student Test

This article demonstrates a scenario in which which we would need to script the formula for Classical student test on closed question. It shows the formula and gives two examples on how to program it with a few tips on how to refine the syntax and mirror settings in the pre-set col sig calculation.

2. Student test using estimator

This article demonstrates how to script the formula for Student Test using estimator on closed questions. Formula and syntax are shown along with tips on how to mirror particular settings in the pre-set col sig calculation.

3. Student test using efficiency coefficient

This article demonstrates how to script the formula for Student Test using efficiency coefficient on closed questions. Formula and syntax are shown. There is also a demonstration of calculating Effective base manually.

Read this 3-part article:

Askiaface for iOS updated to version 3.0.12

An update to askiaface for iOS is now available on the App Store. This minor update provides the following changes:

  • Fixes an issue with certain ADCs displaying incorrect characters when non-latin languages were used
  • Fixes an issue with resources not displayed in certain conditions (seems like we’ve finally got that one, sorry about it!)
  • Full for support version 5.3.5 scripts and keywords

We’ve also added some goodies in preparation for the next update; among which: resource uploads to Amazon Web Services and support for Askiaface Description, so stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, you can head to the App Store to download this update or pick it up directly on your devices!

Brand new online documentation

We are extremely pleased to announce that we have released our brand new online documentation for our software suite: askiadesign, askiafield and askiaanalysis.

You can access these new online assistants here:

This major update of our documentation was led by Tim Macer and Andrew Walford from Meaning Ltd and offers many new features:

New help authoring tool

We replaced our old help system (farewell RoboHelp!) and are now using a new web-based help authoring tool that allows us to easily update and maintain our documentation. This should drastically improve content update frequency and allow us to add new feature documentation and fix potential errors as soon as we spot them!

Screenshot of Askia's new online documentation

 

Responsive documentation

Our new documentation is now fully responsive and therefore allows you to use any device to access it: mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Allowing you to access our software documentation whenever you need it, from wherever you need it.

Screenshot of our mobile documentation layout

Powerful search engine

This new system provides our users with a powerful built-in search engine that delivers instant and relevant results from the first keystroke. This, in addition to the possibility of opening each help topic in its dedicated tab will allow you to easily find the resource you need.

Screenshot of online documentation search results

Other features

Our new assistants offer some other interesting features, such as:

  • Save a specific page as a PDF
  • Save the entire assistant as a PDF
  • Permalinks to each article page
  • Fully populated index to help you find articles related to specific topics

Askiavista 6.0.3.7

Our latest update to askiavista, our online data analysis and reporting web app, is finally here! Version 6.0.3.7 is an incremental update that contains many fixes and some useful new features:

Scenarios

Askiavista can now make use of askiadesign‘s useful Scenarios (aka Versions) in order to filter the list of questions and/or responses. This allows you to customise the display of your survey variables and responses based on the sets of Scenarios defined in askiadesign.

In the case of an omnibus survey, you could for example create a Scenario for Client A that comprises the demographic variables as well as the client’s specific questions; create a second Scenario for Client B with the same demographic data as well as this client’s variables, etc… Thus, allowing each end-user to only view the appropriate subset of data.

Scenarios are functionally very similar to Packages (a feature that has been available in askiavista for many years now)… but the two main advantages of Scenarios are:

  • They do not require to be re-defined; once they have been initially set in askiadesign, askiavista will pick up the Scenarios automatically
  • Where Packages were limited to filtering questions, Scenarios can filter both questions and response items

Specify questions when exporting a portfolio

Askiavista’s API has been updated in order to allow users to override certain (or all) cross-tab dimensions with the profileRows, profileColumns and profileEdges properties that have been added to the askiaVista.display method.

So, if your cross-tab query uses a Portfolio item, these above properties will override the entire list of questions for the specified dimension.

Core components updated

Some of askiavista’s core components have been updated:

  • AVS now supports the RowQuestion, ColQuestion,RowSubQuestion and ColSubQuestion keywords.
  • Fixed an issue with commented askiascript
  • Fixed an issue with Row / Edge suppression
  • Fixed an issue where the Use unweighted base in Col Sig with selected no weighting caused results to disappear
  • Various fixes to ensure Mode and Average number of responses are displayed correctly

Bug fixes

As usual, we have slaughtered some pesky bugs while we were at it; some of the more notable ones are:

  • Fixed an issue where no data was displayed for the total by Row and total by Question for Arithmetic calculations by script
  • Fixed an issue where totals were missing in Portfolios when exported to Excel
  • Fixed an issue where the Export Activity to Excel produced a corrupt Excel file

You can access the full version notes or pick up the update immediately!

Askiavista 6.0.3.6 released!

We’ve released an update to askiavista, our data analysis & reporting web application. This update is packed with new features (and we also hunted down some pesky bugs):

Manage concurrent user sessions

We’ve added the possibility for askiavista administrators to enable / disable concurrent user sessions for askiavista 6.x. This setting can be global or per user group in order to better adapt to your needs.

Askiavista 6 activity reports

To prepare for Askiavista’s brand new Administration module, we have began implementing user activity (for version 6) reports in the askiavista database. We log a vast array of activity-related data: activity IDs, user IDs, query IDs, session IDs, actions, requests, errors, IP addresses, timings, server responses, … and many many more!

All this information can be found in askiavista’s Administration module, under Configuration > Management Report.

Improved 3-way suppression

We have improved the ‘3-way suppression’ property (as well as ‘Treat edges individually’) as they will now be activated by default when the user selects suppression for rows, columns and edges. Less clutter +increased efficiency = win!

Hide variable distribution

The variable Distribution panel (that sits below your survey structure) could already be collapsed or expanded… it can now be hidden by default! You can activate this optional setting in your User Preferences.

Updated AskiaVistaServer

This update of our calculation engine includes many little fixes and improvements, such as:

  • Use Unweighted base for Significance and Test Value
  • Fixes flat counts where the question was not displayed on a tab of its own
  • Fixed Z-test on unweighted bases when using a Filter
  • … and more!

Squashed bugs

  • Inverted ‘Show a column order letter’ option
  • V5 filter definition not displaying in V6
  • Fix the batch user import feature
  • On-the-fly Filters not taken into account when exporting the portfolio to Excel

You can read the changelog for more details or check this update on our demo server now!

Askia Design Controls now available on Github

We’re thrilled to announce that all our Askia Design Controls 2.0 (ADC) have been made available on Github for all developer users who wish to take part creating these survey controls.

ADCs are web-based (HTML, JavaScript & CSS) rich survey controls that enhance the experience of your respondents. Available for web, tablet and mobile surveys, ADCs replace the default radio buttons, checkboxes, text inputs, … by more interactive, playful and animated survey controls.

Below, some examples of Askia Design Controls:

Drag and drop

Drag and drop ADC

(click the above image to check out the live demo)

Smiley rating

Star rating ADC

(click the above image to check out the live demo)

Granite controls (in-progress):

Granite ADC

More than 20 of these survey controls are now accessible to all and many more are on their way!

We have extended the way we have been working with these controls internally at Askia; instead of keeping design, development and maintenance of ADCs within the realm of our development team, we have trained a large part of our support team who are now able to contribute! So, instead of two developers working on ADCs, we now have a team of 7 collaborators and many more clients of our working on their own ADCs (big shout-out to them!)!

You can now easily download and collaborate with our team to improve these survey controls, add new controls, fix any issues you spotted or just make these controls your own!

You can either just download any ADC you want by using the ‘Download ZIP’ button if you do not wish to contribute but just use of one of the available ADCs on Github:

Download ZIP archive of an ADC

Or, if you want to fork our repos to further contribute and collaborate with us on these projects, just sign up for a free Github account and you’ll be in within minutes! This will allow you to create your own branches, create issues, add new repositories, …

Of course, all of our ADCs remain available for non-developer users in our Help Centre for use in askiadesign; they can all be downloaded, previewed in demo surveys and are all fully documented.

Askiavista updated to 6.0.3.5

We’re excited to announce that a new version, 6.0.3.5, of askiavista is available; as usual, this update contains some nice new features as well as some dead bugs!

New default expiry page

We have updated the default expired page for Portfolio Links which have been set with the Expiry date option. This new page is fully responsive and can be customised to better correspond to your needs.

Screenshot of askiavista's 6.0.3.5 new expiry page

This page is stored in at the root of the AskiaVistaReader.Net4 folder, so don’t hesitate to go crazy on your custom expiry pages!

You can read more about this new page if you want!

Updated log in page

We have updated askiavista’s log in page in order to get rid of some layout issues we had on the previous version and to improve the page’s responsiveness.

Screenshot of Askiavista 6.0.3.5's new login page

We also cleaned it up a tad, increased the size of the inputs & button and generally made a clearer version of the page; but, do remember that you can create your own custom login page!

Highcharts, improved & extended!

We have greatly improved our integration of Highcharts charting library by adding some extra components such as:

  • highcharts-more.js (allows new chart types, such as: Area range, Area spline range, …)
  • modules/funnel.js (adds support for Funnel charts)
  • modules/exporting.js (allows to activate chart export to print, JPG, PNG, SVG & PDF)
  • modules/solid-gauge.js (adds support for solid gauge charts)

We were therefore able to add several new charts to askiavista: Bubble, Spline, Area spline, Scatter & Waterfall charts:
Screenshot of Askiavista's new chart types

Improved search capabilities

We’ve drastically improved the Search questionnaire functionality that is located in the treeview:

  1. We have increased the maximum amount of search results from 30 results to… 500!
  2. When you have searched for a specific question or set of questions and select a search result, you no longer lose your selection(s) when you deactivate the search functionality.

Locate questions in the treeview structure

We have added an askianalyse-inspired feature: having the possibility to Locate a question in the treeview by selecting it directly from the Dimensions panel (Rows, Columns or Edges) in which you are using it.

Screenshot of Askiavista 6.0.3.5's locate feature

This feature is particularly useful when trying to locate a specific variable in the survey structure when said questionnaire is very large.

Fixed an issue with Portfolios and Filters imported from Analyse

We fixed an issue that some of our users experienced when running a Portfolio with a Filter imported from Analyse, the filter would appear twice in the Filter select menu. The portfolio would target the second filter and wouldn’t show any data in the table. All fixed now!

Fixed issue with table style & chart type refresh

Finally, we fixed two issues that concerned rendering issues with table styles and charts when these were refreshed:

  1. Table style refresh issue: when you added a new Table style, askiavista would not take the new CSS into account; the user had to manually trigger the table style refresh by drag and dropping one or more variables in Dimensions.
  2. Chart type refresh issue: when the application rendered more than one chart on a given Table definition and the user modified the Chart type, only the first rendered chart would adopt the newly selected chart type.

That’s all for version 6.0.3.5! Next update is just around the corner!