Our biggest project in 2011 is SSI Web v8. It seems like each new upgrade of SSI Web involves acceleration in the number of changes and improvements. V8 follows in that tradition and will represent a huge step forward.
For those of you who are interested in the software development angle, we have moved SSI Web code base from VB6 to C#. This took about five months of our development time. The move to C# doesn’t directly convey big benefits to users (other than some speed improvements, such as in data export), but it will allow us to code more quickly for this and future versions of the software.
Here are some of the features we’ve already completed as we work toward the future release of SSI Web v8. These features will not be released until sometime during 2012 when SSI Web v8 is released.
Simple Cross-Tabulation Tool within Admin Module. This is not meant to replace the many fine cross-tabulation packages available for client reporting. Rather, this is to improve the Admin Module for analysts and survey administrators, to enable them to tabulate the data in a more familiar cross-tab display. V8 will offer ability to save different report specifications (e.g. specifying which variables are row variables and which variables are banners) so you can retrieve different report specs and tabulate them in realtime. The capability includes basic charts (bar and pie), and the ability to export the table contents to a .csv file. Charts are available in both the “read-only” and “read-modify” versions of the Admin Module.
Data File in .CSV Format. With v8, we will move from text-based data files to a database format, which means that each respondent record is a single row. You can open the file in programs like Excel and modify the data very easily (including deleting rows, columns, or changing specified fields/answers). SSI Web also will provide a view/edit dialog for performing these same functions. What a relief to work with this format instead of the unruly text-based (*.dat) files of previous versions of SSI Web.
Export/Manage Data Area. This area will increase your productivity by including the ability to save multiple export tables (jobs). The export process offers huge speed improvements that you will particularly notice for large data sets. Within the same job (export run), we’ve added the capability to export to multiple formats simultaneously. You also will be able to copy jobs from one study to another. The new Export area offers better filtering options, including based on respondents’ answers to questions.
Recode lists. During the export process, you may specify a new set of customized codes instead of consecutive integers starting with 1. This allows you to customize the exports better for your clients’ needs.
Import and Export Quota Logic and Skip Patterns to a .CSV. Allows you to Q&A your skip patterns and quota logic in one document. Some users will find that they can build skip patterns faster within a program like Excel.
Using jQuery instead of MooTools. Sophisticated questionnaire programmers will be able to take advantage of the jQuery library, which is more widely used than MooTools.
Semantic Differential. This is the question type where items (objects or descriptions) are both on the left side and the right of a “grid-style” ratings question. Both radio and slider controls will be supported. Left and right-hand side items can be randomized, either as a whole or by individual rows.
We’re continuing to work on new features, such as sliders and looping. And, we will be doing a number of methodological and feature improvements for conjoint and MaxDiff. Needless to say, we are excited for what 2012 will bring for SSI Web!