[EpiData-list] Is there a Road Map for the test version (V4.4.2.1) and other questions

EpiData development and support epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Wed Mar 20 16:42:33 CDT 2019


Dear Leticia Grize

Your questions are as well relevant and very much to the point of what 
we are all asked from our IT-departments. E.g. from the IT-department in 
the health region where I work at a University Hospital.

I think the tendency for all Health Regions, Non-profit organizations 
like yours, hospitals in general and universities is to impose very 
strict control on which software may be installed.

Therefor allow me to give a quite lengthy explanation.

The EpiData Association does not have a larger organization and it is 
quite impossible within the means we have and the time constraints to 
adopt, e.g. as well a Microsoft developer account, a qualification for 
the Mac (Apple environment) and also secure standard open-source 
principles for the Linux users. Another issue is whether we would 
actually approve of such a principle (Microsoft/Apple) - the answer is 
currently no.

Based on your other questions I will add a few comments:

1. Never use test versions for production. The file structure might 
change, such that you cannot use it in future public release versions. 
We clearly warn against such use on the development pages.

2. For production/real projects only use software from 
Http://www.epidata.dk/download.php

3. The current public production versions are:
Maintained and continously developed software:
*OS:* 	_Manager_ *v4.4.2.1* 	_EntryClient_ *v4.4.3.1* 	_Analysis_ 
*v1.2.2.0*


Software which is available, but will NOT be developed further:
EpiData Classic: Analysis V2.2 Rel. 3 (Build  187 ) EpiData  Classic 
*3.1 * Build: (* (27jan2008)*

As long as the v3.1 works to the satisfaction and sufficient function it 
is a very strong  tool and widely use. In relation to analysis there are 
good reasons to use Analysis Classic v2.2. until the rewritten Analysis 
(now at v1.2.2.) can do the same analysis. Another aspect is that for 
some commands the syntax is a bit more difficult - due to principles of 
maintenance of the software for the three operating systems (Linux, 
Windows and Mac).

We DO NOT suggest that new users use the Classic Software 3.1, since the 
principles of rec+chk file is no longer maintained. This is now replaced 
with the epx (XML) based file principles and for most uses of data 
definition and entry the functionality of Manager and EntryClient is 
much preferred in modern OS, e.g. Windows 10, Mac or Linux. And user 
logging principles and encryption of data has been implemented in the 
new software.

If you look in the archives of this mail-list you may see many documents 
on the development principles, the roadmap and the phases of coming 
development.

In short what are the plans:
Basically I  DO NOT expect to develop Manager and EntryClient with more 
functionality than what you have  now - bugs will be fixed obviously, 
like just now we identified a bug in the "Unarchive" tool found in 
EpiData Manager, which will lead to a new version on the public 
production pages.

For EpiData Analysis (v 1.2.2) the datamanagement functions are almost 
in place, more analysis commands are coming, a graph module and more 
specific adaptations to enhanced functionality for routine automatic 
analysis will come. Towards the end of development I also hope that we 
will be able to simplify some of the aspects, which are now a bit tricky 
for beginners.

In relation to testing new public versions and implemented principles we 
have the following:
a. See the page http://www.epidata.dk/documentation.php.

b. For analysis a validation package compares all estimates with 
reference values that we take either from Stata or a reference data 
analysis commands from the NIST system. We have more than 1000 tests 
being done in batch mode. An example report is here:
http://epidata.dk/php/downloadc.php?file=epidata_analysis_validate.pdf

c. For Manager we have a spreadsheet with quite many tests that are done 
manually every time before release of a new public version.An example 
report is here:
http://epidata.dk/php/downloadc.php?file=epidata_manager_entryclient_quality_sheet.pdf 


So all in all - I think users (and possibly IT-departments) will accept 
and acknowledge that EpiData Software is a quite comprehensive addition 
to public health, clinical research and project management. And also 
that we have quite extensive quality assurance and version control 
principles implemented.

Please also ask your IT-department to compare the costs of attaining the 
EpiData software with the expectations (donations for further aspects 
welcomed).

Finally I suggest that you look at the very instructive course material 
available at this address. All based on the new software and for 
analysis the EpiData Classic. This is done thanks to Hans Rieder with 
moderate input from me and others. https://tbrieder.org/epidata/epidata.html

Best wishes
Jens Lauritsen
Coordinator and Initator of EpiData Software
Denmark

On 20/03/2019 18:38, EpiData development and support wrote:
> Dear EpiData Association team / epidata-list,
>
> I work at  a non-profit organization conducting studies in different parts
> of the world. Several of these studies at our institute are still using
> EpiData v3.1.
>
> At the moment all collaborators of our institute are being migrated from
> Windows 7 to Windows 10.
>
> Our  IT department has included EpiData Manager V4.4.2.1  in the software
> package being installed in our new computers since it is the 'newest'
> version (a test version but not the current version!) . Since several
> studies are in the process of entering data using V3.1 we encountered the
> fact that the entry mask does not work on the newer version (as expected).
> Using V4.4.2.1 means for us the re-design of the masks, which we have
> tried but encounter difficulties with the part of the '.chk'  e.g no
> conditional jumps can be applied and calculations can be cumbersome,
> etc...
>
> We would rather work with V3.1 but out IT department  would like to know
> the following to go back to EpiData V3.1:
>
> 1.) Which is your 'Road Map' for the development of V4.4.2.1  from 'test'
> to a 'current'  version? Would you have an estimate of the date of
> availability of the V4.4.2.1 as a current version?
> 2.) They asked if V3.1 was designed for Win 10, but I rather ask: are
> there known errors in the use of V3.1 when running under Win10?
> 3.) Would you have 'security' updates for V3.1? Since it is an old
> software, the IT team is refusing to install V3.1 because if could
> introduce 'insecurity' in the Institute's system.
>
> - If we were forced to use the test version, is there an easy way to
> implement the check files from V3.1?
> - Would you have a manual for the users? We are in the middle of several
> studies going on and we would like to have reassurance  that things are
> done properly.
>   
> I would really appreciate your help!
>
> Best regards and thank you,
> Leticia Grize
>
>
> Leticia Grize   PhD
> Biostatistics Unit
> Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
> Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
> Office address: Eulerstrasse 77,  Basel
> Phone:  +41-(0)61-284-87-12
> Fax:      +41-(0)61-284-81-01
> Email:    leticia.grize at swisstph.ch
> Postal address:  Swiss TPH / P.O. Box / CH-4002 Basel / Switzerland
> STPH website: http://www.Swisstph.ch
>
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