Since Quirkos version 1.4 came out last year, we have been gathering feedback from dozens of users who have given us suggestions, or reported problems and bugs. This month we are releasing a small update for Quirkos, which will improve more than a dozen aspects of the software:
- MacOS – Since our last version, a new version of Mac OS X (now called macOS) has been released. This actually caused a few minor glitches in Quirkos, we hope we have fixed them all!
- Tree view – Deleting top-level Quirkos in Tree View no longer causes crashing on Mac.
- Canvas View – In the main canvas view, rearranging Quirks sometimes caused bubbles to become stuck – this has now been addressed.
- Disappearing text fix – On some systems, an occasional glitch would cause the top line of text highlighted in the source column to become invisible (although it was still there, and coded correctly).
- Percentage coding figures – In some circumstances, the 'Source Text Coverage' figures displayed in the bottom right status area were wildly inaccurate, sometimes showing figures over 100%. This has been fixed, figures displayed in the source browser were not affected.
- Percentage coding updates – The 'Source Text Coverage' is now updated quicker when removing a Quirk or performing Undo operations to give a more accurate live picture of how much of the project has been coded.
- Incorrectly closed files – If Quirkos or the computer crashes, no data is lost as Quirkos saves your project after each action. However, when the file is not closed, a message was displayed stating that “The selected file seems to be already opened in another session. Opening file in multiple sessions may result in data inconsitency. Do you still want to open this file?”. This message is intended to make sure that the file is not being used by two users at once, which could cause problems! However, this situation was rare, and the message was causing anxiety in users who feared problems in their projects (when it was safe to keep working). We have improved the wording of the message to “Please check that the project file is not open in another window. If this is not the case, it is safe to continue.”
- Merge – Some Quirk merge operations would remove the highlighting from the last coded section of text in the source. This has been fixed. Please note that if text is coded the same way in two merging Quirks, or the text between two coded sections overlaps, they will become one section of highlighted text in the new merged code. This means that sometimes the number of coded segments in a merged Quirk will be lower than in the two Quirks separately, but does not mean sections got ignored!
- Report generation – We have improved the system used to display reports generated in HTML. This means they now load and display quicker.
- Improved PDF export – The PDF export of the reports is also updated, this should now be quicker, and produce smaller file sizes. Where the old reports had large amounts of text as uneditable images, these are now displayed as text, which can be selected and copied.
- PDF characters – some PDF files contained non-standard formatting characters, which were incorrectly interpreted when imported into Quirkos. Although these were not notable, these sometimes caused CSV exports to have many unnecessary line breaks. This has now been fixed.
- Faster start-up – on most systems Quirkos should now start faster
Note on printing long reports – On Windows we have noted a new issue with this release: trying to print very large reports can create a crash on some systems. Unfortunately, this problem is due to the printing system we use in Windows, and we cannot fix this ourselves! However, printing from a PDF file works fine, so a simple workaround is to save the report as a PDF file, and then print from there. This also gives you more flexibility on which pages to print, custom formatting options and the ability to see a preview. We hope this issue will be fixed for the next release...
The new version is available to download now for Mac and Windows, and you can just install over the old version. There is no problem with compatibility, so once again all your projects will work in the new version. Anyone using older versions will not see any difference, but we recommend that people update as soon as possible to get the benefits above! The Linux version will be relased shortly, as requested we are moving to a proper .deb packaging release, which should ease dependency issues some people had. We are changing to a 64bit Linux release, which for most people will require less lib32 compatibility libraries to be installed.
We don't charge for updates, and thus they are available for all our users, and even those on the free trial! We think this is the fairest way to do software: I never want to have users stuck using old outdated versions of Quirkos because they (or their department) can't afford to upgrade. We continue our promise to protect forward, backwards and cross-platform compatibility for Quirkos projects so that people never loose access to their own or other's data.
We have already started work on the next major release of Quirkos, which will be version 1.5. This is going to include two major and highly requested new features. First will be the ability to merge project files.
I know a lot of people work as a team, especially in multiple locations, and sharing one file back and forwards has been a pain at the moment. We have quite an exciting solution being tested for this, which will allow projects to be merged together from multiple coders, different frameworks, and on different sources. We are confident that this is going to be the most powerful, but also easiest to use project merge function in any qualitative software package.
The second addition will be memos! The ability to comment and write memos and reflexive text during the analysis is a fundamental part of creating strong and transparent qualitative analysis, and previously users have had to use Source Properties and write in dedicated Memo Sources to achieve this in Quirkos. However, the next release will create dedicated functionality to allow many different types of commenting, and greatly improve collaborative and reflexive practice in your analysis.
Quirkos v1.5 should be released in the next 6 months, and will include the usual number of small tweaks to operation and work-flow that get requested, so if you have any ideas or things that are bugging you, let us know! More than half of the improvements above were requested by users, so e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can make the best software for qualitative research!