Blaise 5 training in Heerlen, Netherlands

June 12-14, 2017, we gave a Blaise 5 Layout training at Statistics Netherlands. About 18 participants spent three days learning about all the new possibilities in Blaise 5. The group of trainees was very international; from Iceland, Macedonia, Finland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Turkey, Italy and Bosnia-Herzogovina.

We renewed the course, by splitting up the Layout Designer part and the Resource Editor part. The idea behind this is that in the future trainees can determine whether both parts are interested for them, and have the ability to only follow one of these two parts.

We really enjoyed the audience and giving the course, and we also got valuable suggestions to make the course even better for the next time. If you want to know more about this course in particular or other future courses in general, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to stay informed. If you are located in North/South America, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. instead.

 

Blaise 5.2.5 Performance and Load tests

To give an indication of the performance of Blaise 5.2.5, we try to measure how long a page turn takes.

A page turn consists of 4 parts:

  1. The user initiates an action, and as a result, a request is sent to the server
  2. The server processes the action
  3. The server sends a response to the client
  4. The client processes the response, and renders a page

Steps 1 and 3 are dependent on network performance (provider speed, Wi-Fi speed, firewalls, number of users that use the network, …). Because we cannot control these variables, these steps are not included in the results that we present here.

We have conducted two types of tests: a single user test, in which we measure steps 2 and 4, and a load test, in which we only measure step 2. The first test (single user performance) has been carried out on 11 configurations, with varying operating systems and browsers. To guarantee consistent results, all our tests have been carried out in an isolated environment, consisting of a server park with 4 servers.

The results are as follows:

 

ASPX/WebForms

MVC/Angular

Test Type

Step 2 – Server

Step 4 - Client

Total

Step 2 - Server

Step 4 - Client

Total

Single User

0.12 sec

0.31 sec

0.43 sec

0.07 sec

0.14 sec

0.21 sec

Load Test (100)

0.11 sec

-

-

0.08 sec

-

-

Load Test (200)

2.26 sec

-

-

0.24 sec

-

-

Load Test (300)

7.81 sec

-

-

1.69 sec

-

-

This table shows that the MVC/Angular web data entry client performs much better than the ASPX/WebForms web data entry client, both server-side (step 2) and client-side (step 4).

Blaise 5.2.5 - The June 23rd 2017 release

The 5.2.5 version has now been officialy released. It has build number 5.2.5.1322.

You can find it in the official location on our ftp-server.


This version includes the following new features:
MVC
A new web data entry client has been added to the system. This web version uses AngularJS 4, a client-side MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework. The MVC data entry client has been built from scratch. It relies heavily on JavaScript on the client device. This means that the web server can handle many more concurrent users, but the client devices have to be powerful enough to handle the increased load.

Custom MVC Application
This version includes the possibility to create custom MVC applications. We have created an example that shows how to do this.

Accessibility
Blaise 5 is now accessible, and supports WCAG 2.0 AA compliancy. There are options to add screen reader texts to all user interface elements, Auto Focus can be disabled
(this is needed to have screen readers work correctly), and skip links (a way for visually impaired people to navigate on a page) have been implemented.

DEP App
This version includes a Windows application that has the same functionality as our iOS and Android apps. We call this the DEP App. For the record, this is *not* an app that
can be downloaded from the Windows Store. The DEP App has functionality to connect to a server, download surveys, download cases and upload data.

Starter Kit Windows
The Starter Kit for Windows is a framework that can be used freely to build your own DEP App.

API
We have combined the most common APIs into one big API: StatNeth.Blaise.API.dll. Among other things, this makes it possible to use the Blaise API in a Java environment.

In addition to these new features, we have solved many small issues.

Blaise 5.2.5 - User experience

Profielfoto Bryan BungardtMy name is Bryan Bungardt, employee at Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Using Blaise 5, I build questionnaires for data collection activities. Since we have started building questionnaires in Blaise 5 about 2 years ago, we have experienced a great improvement in the stability and features of the Blaise 5 suite.

With Blaise 5.2.5 we are getting a strongly improved Web-rendering engine (MVC using Angular-2) that produces fast Web-based questionnaires as the current market is demanding. The questionnaires run fast and smooth on many different browsers and devices.

For our surveys at CBS the Netherlands, we have created a lay-out that supports both PC as well as Smartphone formats and we see an big improvement in the speed and performance with these surveys. I am also very happy with the feature where Blaise 5.2.5 lets you use existing projects/solutions as a templates for a new project/solution. This saves us lots of time with rework of our yearly surveys.

 

Gaining deeper understanding