Version 22.214.171.124 is a mix of new features and bug fixes. The most important change is about how reports are shown, as well as how the Extracted Text is shown for uploaded documents. We did this because it was the only way to fix a bug that is affecting a growing number of users. This has one important implication: for the first time in EPPI-Reviewer history, we have been forced to remove some functionalities. We are currently looking into ways to re-enable the removed features, so please do get in touch with us in case this removal is affecting your work: we will be happy to assist you in finding the best way forward for your specific case.
Reporting features: new user interface for reports and for the Text tab in Document Details window.
This project initiated as Bug Fixing exercise: EPPI-Reviewer was consistently crashing when running reports that contained a lot of "coded text" and/or large chucks of text in the coding "Info" box. This happened because the component we used to display reports was faulty and the only viable solution that we could find was to use an alternative component.
The number of changes introduced in this way is pretty large, therefore this post will only list the most relevant ones.
1) The new reports can now be saved in three formats: Docx, HTML and simple text. Previously the main output format was the RichText Format (RTF). We believe that this change will be welcomed by most, as Docx is now widely supported and Import/Export/Conversion tools exist for older Microsoft Office Versions.
2) Reports can now be shown in two distinct layout forms: Webpage (default) and "Paged". You can switch between one and the other via the buttons on the top-right cornet, on the left of the Zoom controls. The Paged layout will show how the report will appear within a Word processor, on the other hand, the Webpage layout will show a continuous text without page interruptions (and is equivalent to "saving as" HTML). Note that the Zoom controls act in different ways for the two layout modes: this can be useful for large and crowded reports.
3) Direct printing of reports should now work much better as the previous system was known to cause some trouble.
4) As the "Save as" options are finally up to date, and significantly improved, we have removed most formatting options from the report viewer itself. From now on, we would encourage our users to "Save as" and edit their reports with their word preferred word processor. Importing report tables into Excel is now a little more complicated: you should save the report as a Docx, open the saved file, select the table and paste it into Excel.
5) Copy and paste has changed as well. The previous system was attempting to act on text and formatting, and this proved to be irritatingly unreliable. The new system only acts on text, so pasting text copied from within the report viewer will not preserve format information. This may be seen as lost functionality (albeit a gain in reliability): in order to copy and paste formatted text one will now need to save the report as Docx, open the new file and operate on that.
6) Searching text within a report can still be done within the report viewer. This feature is now entirely written in house, so it behaves in marginally different ways. The advantage of this approach is that we should be able to improve this feature if you will encounter bugs and/or suggest how to make it better.
"Randomly allocating codes to items" feature (main Documents tab).
New Feature: it is now possible to create 1 to 10 randomly allocated groups. Previously it was possible to create 2 to 5 groups only. This is one of the most asked-for improvements on our list. Please keep sending your new features requests: we do listen and are always looking for ways to make EPPI-Reviewer better.
Bug Fix: in some pretty rare situations, the random allocation procedure could act on less items than the expected. This is now fixed and won't happen again.
Editing code trees.
New Feature: it is now possible to copy and paste entire code-tree branches, both in the main screen and in the "Document Details" window. This is done by right clicking a code: "Copy" and "Paste" options are available in the contextual menu.
When acting on a tree branch (i.e. when the copied code contains child codes) also the child codes will be copied. After the Paste procedure is completed, the whole list of the Code-sets will be reloaded (to guarantee data consistency), the system will try to expand, select and bring into view the newly created code or branch (we are aware that this is not 100% reliable, but it does get pretty close) all other code-sets will be collapsed to allow to quickly "see" the pasted result. This is probably the most asked-for new feature present in our wish list, we hope it will work well for all of you.
Other minor changes.
- Marginal efficiency improvement: it is now possible to import slightly bigger lists of references, we estimate that the gain is in the range of 4-6%.
- Small improvement: the file size of EPPI-Reviewer is now 25% smaller. This should allow for shorter download times for all users, and should be a significant improvement for those that work over a slow Internet connection.
- Bug fix: in some occasions, when the "Find new Duplicates" procedure took longer than five minutes, checking if it was finished created two "Still running" warnings.
Disabled and/or Lost Features:
As mentioned above, in order to fix a non trivial bug, we had to completely change how reports and extracted text are shown in EPPI-Reviewer. Regrettably, this forced us to disable two features: the ability to add codes to extracted text and the (undocumented) ability to "code within code", sometimes also described as "Axial Coding".
- The first loss applies to the "Text document" tab in the "Document Details" window. In version 126.96.36.199 it the context menu options "Code selected text", "Uncode selected text" and "Show text coded with this code" are now disabled. This is because we have found that in the new system they are all affected by a significant (and difficult to eradicate) bug. Since it is still possible to code text directly within PDF documents (and it's possible to save any document as PDF in both Windows and Mac platforms) we believe that disabling this option was the best immediate solution. In this way no actual functionality is lost, but we could still solve the bug that affected reports. Nevertheless, we are looking into the possibility of re-enabling these features, as and when we'll find out how to make them work reliably. Note that reports that included "coded text" are not affected by this change (apart from the fact that they should work much better now), so none of the work done on the "Text document" tab has been lost.
- The right-click (on a code) "Code within code (axial coding)" option has been removed from the contextual menu. This (undocumented) feature allowed to list all text coded with a given code, and then apply additional codes to the already coded text snippets. As far as we know, this wasn't a popular feature and we don't currently have plans to re-implement it. However, we may be wrong, so please do let us know if this change does affect you.