Frequently Asked Questions
Why use SOFA and not another program?
There are lots of choices when it comes to statistical and analytic software. Finding what you need can be very daunting. *
So what's special about SOFA?
- Very easy to work with existing data. Even if you use another statistics package for specialist analyses, SOFA will let you quickly explore your data and get some basic descriptive analyses out in an attractive and shareable format. There is no need to import data if it is already in a database.
- SOFA is genuinely free and open. There are no expensive licence fees and you can install it on as many machines as you like. And because it is not crippled freeware, SOFA Statistics will handle as many variables or records as you need. Finally, you can recommend and distribute the program with a clear conscience.
- Reports ready to share. Analysis needs to be shared so it must look good. SOFA is committed to attractive output in a non-proprietary format. You can print it, email it, include it on intranets/websites etc, modify it using free graphics packages etc.
- Powerful report automation. Scripts for running routine reports can be saved, modified, and extended. Python is a powerful but easy-to-use scripting language which is central to SOFA Statistics. It is not just bolted on the side. Imagine the time you could save doing monthly reports!
- SOFA is focused on the analyses used most often. Many statistical packages confuse users with more options than they will ever use. For SOFA Statistics we would rather make one of the key analyses easier to use than add yet another to the list.
Why doesn't SOFA have feature x?
SOFA Statistics is under ongoing development. So if a basic feature is missing, there is a chance it will be added later, whether as part of the core system or as an add-on. Of course, because SOFA focuses on the main tests users need most often, many features will never be part of the system. R is recommended for such use cases.
SOFA Statistics is Open Source - Can I Help?
SOFA Statistics is 100% open source and 100% free. But there are lots of ways you can support the project.
- Spread the word. Feel free to tweet, add comments on forums, blog, etc about the project.
- Vote for it. If you like the program, why not vote for it/add a review at SourceForge. You can also add a user comment at Freshmeat. Of course, if you have a blog, please feel free to review SOFA Statistics.
- Translate it. Translate SOFA Statistics into your preferred language. Please contact us for details.
- Donate towards SOFA's development. If SOFA Statistics is proving useful to you, please consider making a small (or large!) donation.
- Encouragement. If you like it, please let us know what you like about it. A little encouragement can go a long way :-)
- Share your expertise. Share your statistical expertise or your expertise in explaining statistics.
- Join the community. In the near future, more effort will be going into developing a genuine project community with the goal of making statistics open for all. If you are interested in this goal, please contact us.
Why do spreadsheets have to be imported?
Spreadsheets can contain a wide mix of data. A statistics package needs greater certainty about what types of data to expect in a column.
What are the advantages of SOFA being written in Python?
Python is one of the easiest computer languages to learn and it lets the SOFA user automate SOFA reporting, or even extend SOFA if they wish to do so. Python was designed for ease-of-use as a programming language and it runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac machines (and more). There are also lots of robust statistical, mathematical and graphing applications written in Python so there are lots of exciting possibilities. For more information on python, visit http://www.python.org/about/.
SOFA Statistics isn't working like it should - what should I do?
If you have any problems installing SOFA Statistics, or getting it to work properly, please either:
- check out the on-line help - e.g. SOFA Won't Start - Solutions
- ask for help on the discussion group
- contact the lead developer directly (contact us)
- or file a bug report at launchpad.net.
How can I view and edit my SQLite databases?
Try sqlitebrowser from http://sqlitebrowser.sourceforge.net
How do I cite SOFA Statistics?
- Statistics were performed using SOFA Statistics version x.y.z
If you like, you can also add the following:
- Paton-Simpson & Associates Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand
How do I install on Windows 7?
To install and make this work on Windows 7 the user has to be an administrator. Once the software is installed then the user can be demoted back down to a non-admin account and the software works with no problems.