Archive for December, 2010

Quick taster video for SOFA Statistics

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

You can get an overview of SOFA Statistics in just 3 minutes at:

Screenshot for SOFA taster video

Fast paced, great soundtrack

The video was made with OpenShot, Blender, recordMyDesktop, and the GIMP. The soundtrack is New Day (E-SHINE Remix) by BertycoX.

30,000 downloads and growing

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
30,000 downloads and growing

30,000 downloads and growing

SOFA Statistics has now been downloaded over 30,000 times and the pace has accelerated in recent months. This is encouraging for the project as preparations are made for the version 1.0 release.

Promoting SOFA Statistics in the mainstream – any ideas?

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
Linux Journal review of SOFA Statistics

Linux Journal review of SOFA Statistics

Version 1.0 of SOFA Statistics is about to be released. This is a big opportunity to introduce SOFA Statistics to a much wider audience.

SOFA Statistics is already receiving positive attention in the open source and Linux community. Linux Journal, for example, recently reviewed SOFA Statistics and ended the piece with “My hope is that this program becomes an adopted industry standard of sorts, mentioned in everyday conversation by organization workers the world over …” (Linux Journal Jan 2011, Issue 201, pp.40-41). This is fantastic support for the project, and SOFA was also fortunate enough to get on the cover of the Ubuntu magazine, Full Circle Magazine:

SOFA Statistics in Full Circle Magazine

SOFA Statistics in Full Circle Magazine

The challenge is to get into the wider IT press and beyond so that people looking for a stats/reporting package automatically include SOFA Statistics as one of their options.

Do you have any suggestions? We welcome comments on this topic. A version 1.0 release is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. You can either post a message or email me at

Much better help choosing & interpreting stats tests in 0.9.24

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

A key goal of SOFA Statistics is to help users “learn as they go”. The latest version takes a further step in that direction by integrating on-line help into all the statistical tests. In the example below, clicking on the “Help” button in the Chi Square dialog opens the appropriate page in the client’s web browser.

Integrated on-line help for statistical tests

Integrated on-line help for statistical tests

Version 0.9.24 also makes it easier for users to select the right test, and feel confident they have made an appropriate choice, by adding tips for any tests previously lacking any.

Tips for all tests

Tips for all tests

The other change is that passwords are now hidden when configuring database connections in projects.

There has been an important bug fix for a problem introduced in 0.9.23 which prevented Excel importing.

Other bug fixes have included:

  • PostgreSQL and MS SQL Server now cope with databases which are listed but where a connection is not possible e.g. because of permissions.
  • Fixed minor bug in sqlite table name test – now commits when making table and before dropping it so a chance to succeed or fail on individual step. Otherwise, net effect is no change (table added and removed) so no chance to fail.
  • Safer reading and executing project and variable detail code in Windows (change new lines to required sort).
  • Now possible to run test code in Windows (change new lines to required sort).
  • Fixed bug when refreshing default sofa tables but not in the sofa sqlite connection.

This release brings SOFA another step closer to the version 1.0 release expected early in 2011.

More robust importing from imperfect spreadsheets

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

SOFA Statistics version 0.9.23 makes importing data from spreadsheets (and csv) much more robust. In particular, it copes better with inconsistent data types in a single field and give the user a choice as to which to use:

Choosing data type

Choosing data type

The latest version also has a much more reliable method of identifying and extracting date data from ods (OpenOffice Calc, Gnumeric, Google Docs spreadsheets).

Other changes include:

  • If no change to table design when clicking Update, get a message that there was no change instead of no response.
  • When opening data tables, the read only checkbox is ticked or unticked according to whether showing the demonstration table or not when in the default sofa database.
  • Now handles PostgreSQL databases with different schemas.
  • When run in console, SOFA produces much more useful input on progress during initial stages and on any error encountered.
  • Height setting algorithm for data editing/display grid now copes with taller e.g. double height, taskbars in Windows.
  • More reliable method used for identifying the folder location of SOFA.

There are also numerous bug fixes:

  • All lines in multi-line text cells are now imported from ods spreasdsheets correctly.
  • Errors when getting project settings file at start return useful message and don’t fail because tried to use msgbox before the GUI application is running.
  • Better handling of errors when identifying date format. Falls back to a reasonable default.
  • Fixed error preventing message being shown when unable to change database details e.g. selecting a different db in the drop-down.
  • Fixed bug in legend of auxiliary clustered bar charts when long value labels. Now has automatic line splitting.
  • Correct initial display of csv data when importing if missing cells in some rows.
  • Majorly reduced impact of bug when creating report tables using numbers with more decimal points than python displays when converting to text e.g. into an SQL statement ready for execution.
  • CSV importing now provides useful error messages if actually an Excel spreadsheet saved as a csv with Excel features preserved (i.e. a faulty csv file). Also copes better with faulty delimiters being manually supplied.