askiavista 6.0.3.9

As the askiavista user base keeps growing, vista Administrators have asked if we could provide broader and more flexible usage statistics. Well, as we start this new year, we’re delivering a brand new Activity monitoring with vastly improved monitoring capabilities.

Available by default to askiavista Administrators, it will enable them to monitor: surveys, users, groups, companies, servers, errors, as well as the different actions and types of analyses that their end-users are running on the platform. Furthermore, for those who are administering multi-server askiavista instances, the ability to see statistics per server(s) will further improve your ability to manage performance with survey and user loads, as well as plan for maintenance or further server provisioning to scale up.

Check out the following screenshot to get an idea of the information you can expect to see on your server:

AskiaVista Activity monitor

And the good news doesn’t stop here… We decided to enable all these new Activity monitoring capabilities in the API, which means developers can include these Activity statistics in their web applications and dashboards!

For a full overview of the options available for the Activity monitoring please refer to the specifications; developers can refer to the updated API documentation.

Another area we’ve worked on in 6.0.3.9 is load-balancing for multi-server architectures. When an end-user logs in, askiavista can now “automagically” assign the user’s session’s analytical work to be handled by the “best” AVS-server available in the pool. Basically, askiavista monitors the work-load of the servers it has available, and will assign a user session’s analyses to the server which at that point in time happens to be the least solicited, and thereby significantly improve the response time for returning those analyses results to the user.

Finally, 6.0.3.9 brings many new features, and various bug fixes (see our version history for full details)

  • Added support for Nested Edges
  • Added support to pick-up a question’s Long caption when the Short caption is empty
  • Added support for dynamic Universe captions for ??U??
  • Added a select|deselect all button in the Create filter / response window
  • Added the option Appears like a stat calculation for Calculations by script
  • Added a place-holder page which is displayed when accessing deleted Portfolios
  • Added support to show Raw Data for Date variables
  • Added a new Activity page to monitor application usage statistics (accessible via the API)
  • Added support to set a Survey’s Properties’ default Level to: {Row level} or {Column level}
  • Added a warning message when switching from AskiaScript‘s Advanced mode to Assisted mode
  • Improved fail-over and load-balancing features for AVS farming
  • Improved Calculation by script to show a Column total for a variable outside the Level (Wave), ie. return the Interview Level Column total
  • Improved Number formatting, by ensuring it is not applied on Significance and Column Significativity
  • Improved support for Cleanup scriptssearch & replace functionality
  • Updated the URL-link from within askiavista to our online help documentation
  • Updated askia.config documentation
  • Upgraded LDAP SSO from v5 to v6

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!

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!

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!

Askiavista is really growing!

Update: we have updated askiavista to version 6.0.3.5, read more about it!

Yup, askiavista is nearly a grown-up! But because it’s an Askia application, it’ll always be a bit childish 😉 .

We are unleashing the latest update to askiavista, version 6.0.3.4; this latest release is packed with several nifty features and some squashed bugs:

Single Sign-On

We introduced SSO compatibility a couple of years ago but this useful feature has finally made it through to version 6! For this, we have introduced a new web service, AskiaVistaSSO, that is in charge of:

  • creating a unique & secure TrustKey
  • sending the TrustKey to AskiaVista Manager
  • authorises the user to connect or not to askiavista

Check the full details on this.

Replay multiple queries simultaneously

AskiaVista API’s Replay Plugin allows developers to replay a given query with few changes; it’s specially useful for cross-tab queries that produce tables or charts.

Let’s imagine you have a dropdown with the list of filters (sub-populations) from which the user can choose a given filter that will replay a table by applying it the selected filter.

The new version of the Replay plugin allows the developers/users to replay several tables or charts in one go.

So, when the user selects a filter it could be applied to multiple tables or charts at the same time.

In the background the Replay plugin uses a transaction to execute all queries in a single server-side call. The main benefit is to reduce the amount of bandwidth & queries between the client and the server.

Askia.config path now in the Registry

Up until now, the Askia.config file path was stored in IIS’  web.config file (a bit of an inception, eh?). Because any update could overwrite the web.config file, we often ended up with errors related to the configuration file not being found.

To improve this, askiavista searches the Askia.config path in the following order:

  1. In the directory of the current application
  2. If not found, it searches for the web.config as usually
  3. If not found, it search in the Registry

Read the feature request for more information.

Bug fixes

Finally, we have also fixed some outstanding issues in askiavista 6.0.3.4, check below for the most important ones:

  • Empty table when deactivating all calculations for tables (#6349)
  • Calculated responses not copied when copy/paste presentation (#6362)
  • Hidden responses displayed in xtab when moving variables around R/C/E (#6388)
  • Drag Drop filter is not applied to Excel export from a Portfolio (#6413)
  • Scaled-response questions are not treated as closed (#6421)
  • Cannot remove ‘Mean’ calculation caption from table and chart (#6455)
  • Total column and Edge inverted in the Property panel (#6476)
  • AskiaVistaManager can crash several times starting (#6483)

Oh, and did I mention that we have started to play with the amazing D3.js data visualisation library? It’s still just a playground but check this out! Thanks to Brice for his great work on that!

That’s all for now folks 😀

New in the Knowledge Base

We’ve recently added a host of new articles to Askia’s Help Centre, for those of you who haven’t had the time to check them out, here’s a breakdown of the new Knowledge Base posts:

Survey intros & outros

Survey intros (AskiaIntro) & outros (AskiaOutro) have been specifically designed for askiavoice CATi interviewing. They allow users to add an intro and/or an outro section to their survey.

Survey intros & outros

The AskiaIntro section will be asked to the respondent for each contact (once per call) and can therefore be used to screen our respondent.

The AskiaOutro section will be asked each time the interviewer closes the interview and can be used with routing logic (and even JavaScript) to enhance it.

Check out the KB article for all the details.

Setting up a multi-mode survey

While askiafield 5.3.5 integrates a built-in module for managing multi-modal surveys, this article allows you to deploy such data collection methodologies when using prior versions.

This in-depth post will provide all the information necessary for you to set up a CAWI to CATI or a CATI to CAWI survey.

Read more about how to setup multi-modal data collection and download our example survey.

New ADC 2.0: Star rating

We’ve added a brand new Askia Design Control (2.0) to our free library of survey assets:

Star rating Askia Design Control

This new JavaScript control is designed for single and numerical questions and can be, as usual, heavily customised (colours, text, tooltips, number of stars, statement styling, …).

Take the demo survey for a spin or download the Star rating ADC 2.0 now!

Do-Not-Contact lists

Since askiafield 5.1, we have added the possibility to create a list of contacts you don’t want to call or email: Do-Not-Contact lists.

Such lists allow you to easily manage blacklisted contacts directly from within the interface of Supervisor.

Go through the detailed article to setup your own blacklists.

Adding new chart types to askiavista 6.x

Askiavista 6.x makes use of the very extensive Highcharts charting library but we have only added certain basic chart types be default in the application.

However, this article details the few very simple steps in order to add any number of new chart types:

Adding new charts to askiavista

Read the Knowledge Base article for more information on how to add new charts to askiavista 6!

Script calculations in askiaanalyse

Script calculations are a great way of setting up your tables in a more efficient manner. They give you the ability to achieve tables which would not be possible otherwise.

Script calculation properties in askiaanalyse

This in-depth KB article introduces calculations which use scripts; it also shows examples of how they can be used to make a table set-up more efficient and concise.

Setting up an expired portfolio page for askiavista 6.x

Askiavista 6’s new Portfolio Link Management allows users to customise & fine-tune their askiavista reports (embed tables, charts, text, images, …) as well as set expiry dates for each such portfolios in order to prevent access after a certain date.

However, by default, such expired portfolios will trigger a 410 web server error and your end-users will be greeted by a not-so-sexy web server error.

This article therefore details all the necessary steps in order to create your own custom expired portfolio page(s).

Cumulative updates & future milestones

Over the past month, we have slightly shifted our development & release process with askiavista: instead of longer development cycles with many fixes & improvements, we have began to release smaller versions that mainly include fixes where new features are added at a slower pace.
This helps us maximise our response rate when fixing urgent issues. So, we are doing our best to release early, release often.

Below, a breakdown of the two latest minor updates for askiavista:

Version 6.0.3.1

released 21/11/2014

  • Add footnotes property to tables (new)
  • Export all in one page to Excel (fix)
  • Czech characters not rednered in MS Excel export (fix)
  • Infinite loader on Results when removing a raw data variable (fix)
  • Raw data response sorting not maintained when saved to Portfolio (fix)
  • User level survey offline status not taken into account (fix)

Version 6.0.3.1

released 24/11/2014

  • View switcher breaks when deleting Profiles and/or Portfolios (fix)
  • AskiaVista6 unable to open survey with numeric name (fix)
  • Vista6 – does not remove selected question when the question appears more than once in R/C/E (fix)
  • Calculated responses don’t compute the correct amount of responses (fix)
  • Portfolio linkID cannot be customised (fix)
  • Superpose response is applied when it shouldn’t be (fix)
  • Sub-population by GUI from V5 is not well interpreted in V6 (fix)
  • HTML encoding issues (fix)
  • Adding / removing a Profile or Variables empties the list of Profiles or Variables (fix)
  • Online – offline survey status causing issues (fix)

Future milestones

6.0.3.3
  • Export to PDF (new)
  • Highcharts not displaying Mean & combination charts (fix)
  • The chart is not saved into the template (fix)
  • Issue with fixed header in Firefox (fix)
  • Assigned factors not saved in Portfolio (fix)
  • Empty table when deactivating all calculations for tables (fix)
  • Erratic results in Search questionnaire (fix)
6.0.4.0

The integration of askiavista into askiaadmin that is planned for version 6.0.4.0.

Later

The improvement of AskiaVistaServer farming. This major overhaul has not yet been assigned to a version (and it may actually be introduced before the askiaadmin integration.

New AskiaVista AJAX API 2.2.0

The new AskiaVista AJAX API (2.2.0) is now released with the latest 6.0.3.x version of AskiaVista.

The documentation is now up-to-date

List of new features/fixes:

  • Add `footnote` parameter in cross-tab query (settings.results.footnote)
  • Add `language` parameter in queries to specify the survey language. It could also be add on the config, or specify via url
  • Add a new `languageUrlParam` in the configuration to read the survey language via the URL
  • Add methods:
    • getPortfolioLinks
    • getPortfolioLink
    • savePortfolioLink
    • deletePortfolioLink
    • getPortfolioLinkLayouts
    • getPortfolioLinkThemes
    • savePortfolioLinkTheme
    • deletePortfolioLinkTheme
    • getResources
    • saveResource
    • deleteResource
    • htmlEncode
  • Take in account the new calculations and their advanced options
  • Add the `baseUrl` key in the config. Strongly recommended to use it instead of `url`
  • Manage the new `rawdata` and `sectionpage` portfolio item type
  • Add a dedicated exception severity flag when the authenticity token in cookie is bad or obsolete, it then ask again the login form
  • Manage severity on server-side error to throw the `securityError` when it’s needed
  • Error messages are now htmlEncoded in the client side.
  • Security error don’t block the query stack, it now fire the security error and the regular error event

This askiavista is massive!

We have finally released version 6.0.3.0 of askiavista! First, of all, don’t judge a book by looking at the cover: this is more a 6.1 version than a minor version. Indeed, it packs:

  • 22 new features
  • 22 bug fixes
  • 7 miscellaneous tasks

Below, some of the key new features:

Portfolio section pages

Askiavista portfolio section pages

Users can now create Section pages within their Portfolios; these pages allow to add formatted text and media (image & video).
Such pages are a great solution for report introductions, notes, metadata, …

New portfolio link management

Askiavista new portfolio by link management

Portfolio links have been completely overhauled in order to allow many nifty features such as Expiry dates, Filter management, dynamic tabbing, custom URLs, default page, …
Portfolio links can also be duplicated in order to batch create multiple links.

Reorder portfolio items

Reorder portfolio items in askiavista

This was a recurrent client request: having the possibility to reorder elements (table definitions & now section pages) from within a portfolio.

Raw data / open-ended management

Askiavista raw data and open-ended management

Askiavista is now able to render data at interview level and can also render open-ended data! These flat tables are accessible in a dedicated view and can of course be embedded within a Portfolio.

Fixed headers

Fixed headers for large tables in askiavista

In order to improve our user experience when browsing large cross-tabs, we have added fixed headers (for Rows, Columns & Edges) to the Default table style.

Select all / unselect all in Dimensions

Select all - unselect all in askiavista's dimensions

This client request allows users to select all questions or response items in a given Dimension (R/C/E). This is especially useful when dealing with many questions or for very long lists of response items to which you may want to apply a given action (group, hide, …).

View source

View crosstab source in askiavista

This option (hidden by default), allows advanced users and API developers to embed table & chart data directly in their web page; could it be an askiavista-driven dashboard, portal or web page.

Compressed inverted data

We have decided to improve the inverted format:

  • We decided to rename the old files and not use the number of responses as an extension – this was causing unnecessary problems when a question was recalculated or if the max number of responses was manually changed in Design. The extension is always .dat.
  • The developed questions in a loop are no longer stored individually – the greyed questions always contained the information so we thought the cost of reading the whole greyed data for that question was a small price to pay compared to store all the data twice
  • We store system data -or peri-data – such as start time, end-time, IP-address, completion, …
  • The data is now compressed
  • We have backwards compatibility: inverted data produced with a version prior to 5.3.4 is read properly but the new inverted files are not readable by Vista (yet) or an old Analyse / Tools

We have seen up to 90% decrease of the inverted database size and almost no noticeable deterioration of the reading speed

For the full list of new features & bug fixes, check the changelog.