May 24, 2017

P4 Version 1.15 Now Available

This release of P4 contains many features that were requested during the training sessions held earlier this year, along with numerous bug fixes and enhancements. Some of the most-requested features are highlighted below. There is also an 11-minute video demonstrating some of these new features. For a detailed list of changes in this version, be sure to read the complete P4 release notes. Version 1.15 can be downloaded from the P4 page.

New Data Field for Scale Sample IDs

A new field, called Scale ID, has been added to P4 and to the MRR data model. This field is intended to hold a unique identifier for a scale sample taken during a data collection event and will be loaded into the PTAGIS database. If you have added a Project Defined Field named Scale ID or ScaleID, the field name will be changed when you upgrade to 1.15 to PDV Scale ID or PDV ScaleID. If you would like to move data from the Project Defined field to the PTAGIS field, you can use the Update Query Results tool in Query Management to do so.


Auto-Increment Implemented for Genetic and Scale ID

Two new switches are available in the Profile to enable/disable auto-incrementing of the Genetic ID and/or Scale ID fields during data entry. Once enabled, you must seed the starting value in your data entry session. The right-most numeric portion of the ID will be incremented from that starting value. For example, if you enter 17-001 in the first record in your session where a genetic sample was collected, 17-002 will be added automatically to the next record in the session. If you need to skip a record or an ID number, the value can be cleared or edited manually. There is not a way to increment multiple portions of the ID number or to set an upper limit. When the right-most number reaches the top end of its range, it will flip back to zero.

Increment Genetic and Scale ID

Support for Multiple Readers and New Peripheral Type

The Balance peripheral type has been converted to an Input Device peripheral. This supports the use of any peripheral that can send information through a serial port, such as digital calipers, to set a value in almost any P4 field. The new Input Device type allows you to specify the type of value it will be sending and the field to which it should be sent.

The Profile has been updated to allow multiple readers and input devices to be active during a data collection session, instead of just one device of each type. Only one digitizer tablet can be active at a time.

Active Peripheral Devices

Filtered Validation Code Lists

For those using mouse and keyboard for data entry, you can now filter the validation code lists during data entry. A new tab in the Profile allows you to limit the list of values shown in a drop-down list while a session is open for data entry. The list will be filtered to the values selected in the Filtered Validation Codes tab of the profile, plus any values already contained in records in that session or in the Repeating Value that is active for that session.

Filtered Validation Codes

Set a Password to Restrict Access to Configuration and Management Features

A password can now be set in Utilities (under Manage) to restrict access to any of the features under Configure or Manage. Data entry will be accessible without a password, but modifying the Profile during data entry will require that the password be entered. There are no length or complexity requirements for the password and once set, it will remain in effect until cleared or changed. To reset a lost password, you must contact PTAGIS.

Export Session to File From Data Entry

A new button added to the data entry tool bar exports the currently open session to file with one click, as long as the default export path has been set in Utilities. Otherwise, the user will be prompted to select an export folder when this button is clicked the first time. A corresponding digitizer command has also been added to support exporting from data entry.

Expanded Duplicate Record Search and Correction Tools

The Dot-out button in Record Management has been expanded to allow dotting out all but the first or all but the last duplicate record in a session, and the tag code can be optionally appended to the text comments.

Dot Out Duplicates

In Session Management, a new Duplicate Record tool has been implemented that will search the entire local P4 database for records that are duplicates of those in the selected sessions. This tool also allows you to correct duplicate records by editing the Event Type or dotting out unnecessary records.

Duplicate Record Viewer

Excel-style Filtering in Record and Query Management

A new method for filtering has been implemented in Record and Query Management. It allows filtering based on rules or values with a single click on a column header. Filter Rules uses comparison statements, such as Between or Equals, while Filter Values allows the selection of values contained within the selected field.

Filter Rules           Filter Values

Changes to Digitizer Maps

The interface for editing digitizer maps has been updated to include buttons for merging, unmerging and clearing command squares. To make a command square larger, simply select it and then click the Merge Right or Merge Down button, depending on the desired size and shape. You can now change the default font for the entire digitizer map, or edit font settings per command square.

Digitizer Map Buttons

If you are upgrading from version 1.13 and use a digitizer tablet for entering data, you may need to check your map to ensure it is still functioning as you expect. Version 1.14 included a change to how the Set Multiple Field Values command handles setting values in comment fields. Please see the news item from April 14 for more details.

Installation Improvements

The P4 installer has been improved to help resolve issues that some users have experienced when installing P4. As part of the prerequisite phase, the installer will now check to make sure that your computer does not need to be restarted to complete Windows updates. A warning will be displayed if a reboot is pending, giving you an opportunity to restart the computer before continuing with installation. In the event that the installation fails, the installer will now attempt to gather useful installation log files in a zip file that can be sent to PTAGIS for troubleshooting.

P4 Use Since Production Release

This is the 5th release of P4 since it went into production last year and demonstrates our commitment to making this software fit the needs of the regional community. We appreciate the feedback from users to help us improve our systems. The usage of P4 continues to grow and we encourage those that have not tried it out yet to do so as we look to retire the legacy P3 tagging software sometime next year.

Files Processed per Month by File Type