Today we are proud to announce our Blaise 5.0.3 release which includes the long-awaited first version of Manipula, server-side events, shortcuts, printing, monitoring, and a few smaller additions. In addition to these new features, we have worked on performance enhancements and have solved many issues that were reported by our users.
Last week we gave a Blaise 5 Training for international users at Statistics Netherlands. The goal was to get acquainted with the new features of Blaise 5 with a main focus on the layout. There were 10 participants from all over Europe, who reported that they thought the course was interesting and that they learned a lot. They also offered some suggestions for improvements here and there, which we've taken into account to make the course even better for next time.
The release of Blaise 5.0.3 will include the first version of Manipula in Blaise 5. Manipula is the data processing system of Blaise that can be used for many tasks, for instance to select data, derive new data and perform complex computations. The focus of this first version of Manipula in Blaise 5 is on automatic processing of data import and export. It supports the most commonly used file types in Blaise: ASCII text files (positional or delimited formats), XML and Blaise. The ASCII and XML formats supported are identical to the formats used in Blaise 4. The manipulation part supports all constructs that are supported by the rules section of a datamodel plus a few more.
To support development of a Manipula setup the Blaise IDE has been extended with the possibility to define a Manipula project. A Manipula setup can be developed, prepared and executed in the IDE.
With the release of Blaise 5.0.3, you will once again be able to use keyboard shortcuts to perform actions on the active field. This is particularly useful in CAPI mode, where interviewers can use Ctrl-K / Ctrl-R to put the special answer don’t know / refusal into a field. It can also be used for context-sensitive help (F1 or Ctrl-F1) on a field, or to clear the value of a field with a shortcut. Keyboard shortcuts can also be used to perform actions on the page or survey level, for instance Ctrl-P to print the current page, Ctrl-S to save the survey or Ctrl-X to abort the survey. Besides keyboard shortcuts, you can also respond to left and right swipe actions. This allows you to perform your own actions when the respondent tries to go to the next or previous page.
Together with Westat we gave a Blaise 5 Training in Washington DC at 11, 12 and 13 May. The main focus of this training was to get hands-on experience at the new features of Blaise 5, especially the layout part. There were 14 participants from various organisations in the United States. We think the course was very fruitful for everyone, the collaboration with Westat was great, and we also heard some very valuable ideas and suggestions about the software from the participants :)