This version includes the third version of Manipula, the second version of CATI, Field Properties, Custom Error Pages, a new Table Control and a few smaller additions. Furthermore, we have worked on a number of security issues, improved the iOS and Android apps, and solved many issues that were reported by our users.
The next International Blaise Users Conference promises to be a very exciting event, as it is about coping with the modern survey world, going far beyond Blaise as a system. Indeed, according the Call for Abstracts for this event one will certainly look forward to be up-to-date with the latest insights on
Data collection on any device
Expectations of a modern survey-taking system
Multimode survey management
Unimode versus Generalized Mode Questionnaire design
(Re)training staff in an era of rapid change
Multilingual, multicultural, multi-national and multi-version multiple mode surveys
The Blaise 5 release of November 30th 2015 introduces functionality that allows you to choose a custom relational database for storing session and/or audit trail data. By default, Blaise stores session and/or audit trail data in two file-based SQLite databases used by all surveys: one default session database and one default audit trail database. A reason to switch from the file-based SQLite database to an alternative database system could be to improve performance, particularly in situations where there are many concurrent users.
You can use your own session database and audit trail database by creating a general data interface file for each database. A general data interface file contains all the information for connecting to a custom database. The currently supported databases are SQL, Oracle and SQLite. The general data interface files can be created and modified with the Server Manager Tool via the configuration settings 'Session Data Interface' and 'Audit Trail Data Interface' in the Logical Server section.
In the coming months the Blaise team will be further extending this functionality. The Control Centre will have a new option to add general data interface files to your project for the session database and audit trail database. This will allow you to define where your session data and audit trail data will to be stored for each survey. This means that you can choose to have all data in the same database, or to have separate databases for every survey.
The upcoming Blaise Release 5.0.5 will support making interviewer remarks in all Data Entry Clients. A Remark can be defined in the Datamodel Language as a Field Property. A Field property is additional data (of a specific type) that is available for all data fields. Field properties can be edited by the standard input controls and will be stored in the Blaise database.
Specific Error Pages
In order to show a specific error page when some standard error occurs, it will be possible to specify for which standard errors an error page should be displayed. If no specific error page exists for an error, the default error page will be displayed.
In 2015 the Blaise team has been expanded with three professional testers. They are building an automated regression test for Blaise5, using the test automation tool Ranorex.
The purpose of the regression test is to check if functionality that worked correctly in previous Blaise5 builds, will still work correctly in future Blaise5 builds.
Since Blaise is a very flexible system in which a multitude of features can be combined, it is impossible to test all relevant combinations. However, the test team strives to make the regression test as extensive as possible.
So far the focus of the test has been on Manipula and the rules. In the coming months the regression test will be expanded to other Blaise5 programs and features.