What's new in Analytica 4.4?

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This page lists enhancements that have been added to Analytica 4.4 since the release of Analytica 4.3.

Analytica Cloud Player (ACP)

  • Sharing your models over the web has never been so easy! The Publish to cloud... option on the File menu uploads your model to the Analytica Cloud Player with just a few clicks.
    Publish to cloud menu item.pngPublish to cloud.png
    • Remembers your login credentials for fast and convenient upload.
    • Automatically embeds linked modules during upload.
  • Analytica Cloud Player accounts are FREE! Active support gives you 25 free sessions per month, with an option to purchase exactly what you need for heavily used models.
  • The CloudPlayerStyles attribute is built into Analytica. This was formerly named Awp_attrib in Analytica 4.3 (4.3 models using the older attribute name will continue to use those settings).

Expression Assist

Expression Assist helps those new to Analytica learn faster. For experienced model builders, it boosts productivity dramatically. Once you experience it, it is hard to live without!

  • Pops up suggested identifier completions while you type:
Expression Assist identifier completion.png
  • Includes completion suggestions from all modules, making it lightning fast to find and insert identifiers from elsewhere in your model.
  • Pressing TAB inserts the first suggestion.
  • Clicking on a suggestion inserts
  • Use up/down arrows to select a suggested completion
  • Suggested completions narrow as you type
  • Most likely completions appear at top above the separator
  • Simple/Advance modes control filtering. Advance mode includes functions and attributes relevant for implementation of Meta-Inference algorithms and other advanced techniques.
  • Turn it on (or off) on the Edit→Preferences menu
Expression Assist Preference.png
  • With the preference on, feedback is immediate with every keystroke.
  • With preference off, you must press Ctrl+Space or Ctrl+? to see suggestions.
  • This is your "user preference", meaning it is not saved with the model, but is remembered across Analytica sessions for your computer's user account.
  • Hot keys to turn it on or off while typing a definition:
    • [Esc] : Removes the expression assist balloons that are currently showing, but only for the moment. Reappears when you continue typing.
    • Ctrl+[Space]: Display the expression assist when it is currently turned off, but only for the moment, and only if there is something to show. It disappears (returns to off state) as soon as you start typing again.
    • Ctrl+?: Toggle the on/off state of expression assist for the current field being edited. If it was on, will turn it off for the remainder of your typing, or if it was off, turns it on for the remainder of your typing. Does not impact your global preference.
  • Shows function parameters, which parameter you are entering, and function description, as you type:
Expression Assist function help.png
  • Displays parameters for the function being typed
  • Bolds the parameter currently being entered, which advances automatically as you type.
  • Displays the description of the function
  • Indicates optional parameters with italics
  • Clicking on a parameter name inserts the parameter name into the definition for a named-parameter syntax.
  • Indicates repeated parameters with dots, e.g., I...
Expression Assist subscript indexes.png
  • Note: This activates only when a single identifier is being subscripted, and no computation is required to determine the possible indexes (e.g., if the value has been previously computed).
Expression Assist subscript values.png
  • Note: Values are suggested when it is possible to do so without initiating a computation. For example, when the index is a list of labels, or a computed index that has previously been evaluated.
  • Help on syntactic constructions is provided as you type:
Expression Assist ifThenElse.png
Expression Assist for.png
  • Determines which local variables that are in lexical context, and includes their identifiers in the identifier completions:
Expression Assist local variables in context.png
  • Local variables Tot and Total_tons appear on completions, but the locals tonnage_allot and Total_remain don't appear as possible completions because they aren't in lexical context at the cursor.

Influence Diagrams

Several subtle enhancements given influence diagrams a more modern feel.

  • Cleaner looking influence diagrams, with subtle gradients, antialiasing, and ClearText fonts.
  • Smarter "adjust to text", with awareness of word-wrapping and coordination across multiple aligned form nodes.
    • Awareness of word wrapping (when ClearText fonts are used)
    • Coordination of adjustments across multiple nodes, aware of "containment"
    • Multiple algorithms/criteria. You can cycle through the options by pressing Ctrl+T multiple times until you find the one that does what you want.
  • Full color ghost image while dragging nodes
  • Larger initial diagram size
  • Help balloons on influence diagram nodes.
Hover balloon.png
  • Reveals node identifier and units.
  • Displays the Help attribute, or if that is not present, the Description in a popup.
  • Displays in browse mode by default. Preference option to also display in edit mode.
  • The information displayed is fully customizable.
  • New Space Evenly, on grid options and keyboard shortcuts for space evenly.
  • Improved snap-to-grid, fewer cases where nodes end up off grid.

Visualizing Uncertainty

  • A new method is available for the display of continuous probability density plots that uses Kernel Density Smoothing to produce smoother results.

Uncertainty Setup KDE.png

PDF result via Histogramming
PDF result via Kernel density estimation

Installer

  • Better job at identifying proxy server settings during license activation, check for updates, etc., for smoother installation and upgrade experience.
  • The ADE installer includes shortcuts to the ADE manual and AdeTest on the start menu.

Misc. User Interface

  • Larger function finder
  • Swap Enter/Return is now a user-setting, not a model setting.
  • Redesigned preference dialog. Each item in the preference dialog has tooltip text, which helps you understand what the preference does.
  • A system variable allows the size of the attribute font (for definitions, etc) to be enlarged.
How to: Press F12 to open the typescript window and type AttributeFontSize:13 {the default size is 10}
  • Ctrl+Click on a node (in same window) inserts identifier into the definition at the cursor position. Formerly Alt+Click (which still works). An animation gives instant feedback that something has happened.
  • The Default node size control on the Set Diagram Style... dialog how shows a full color image (not just a black and white sample), higher quality than before, and includes a display of the default size in the lower right corner, making it easy to set to a particular default size. Note that your default size should always be a multiple of 16 to interact well with Snap-to-grid.
  • The appearance of the toolbar may change slightly on some computers, in which it takes on a more modern look than before. It now adopts an appearance in accordance with your selected Windows Theme. For example, in the standard XP theme, the shadows round the buttons are removed.
  • On a line graph, you can now click on the line itself, or in the filled area when you have a filled line graph, to get a coordinate bubble. Previously you had to click directly on a data point to get the bubble. When you click between points on a line, it'll show you both end points (two bubbles). These may overlap in some cases, but once they are visible, it is easy to click on the data point whose bubble is on the bottom to see its data.
  • Find (Jump to) Selection (Ctrl+H) now appears on the right mouse menu when you are editing a definition and have selected some text. This is a very useful feature that has been present since the beginning of Analytica, but which few people know about. You can highlight an identifier in your definition and hyperlink to its object window. The same option appears (as it always has) on the Object menu.
  • When you select Choice, the default is now Choice(Self,1) rather than Choice(Self,0) (i.e., the first item is selected, rather than All).
  • A new OLE Links... dialog provides more useful information about OLE-linked data sources.
  • Various items were added to right-mouse context menus:
    • Change Series Color... appears on the context menu when you right-click on a color key item in a result graph.
    • Add Newline when editing text in a table cell
    • Append Column/Row/Item appears, in addition to Insert Column/Row/Item, when you have the last cell of an index selected for editing.
    • Run Script when a button node is selected.
  • The Typescript window is much faster.
  • When you are roaming a floating license, the Help→About now says so.
  • Stored models remember if windows were maximized when you saved the model. If so, windows start out maximized when the model is re-opened.

Built-in Functions

  • Extensions to SpreadsheetCell and SpreadsheetRange functions providing access to a wide variety of cell properties, such as number format, colors, fonts, borders, dependents, precedents. Ability to refer to all used cells within a sheet without knowing the range in advance. Ability to obtain the list of sheets in a workbook.
Note: This change might impact some existing models that relied on the older, incorrect, results. However, the change is unlikely to alter numeric values - more likely, you will just see a «null» where a 0 or NaN result existed previously.

Security

  • Several functions allow a model to read or write to information on your computer, and thus could be perceived by the more paranoid among us as security threats. Such concerns may arise when running ADE from a web-server application. Some functions have the ability to read data on your computer (ReadTextFile, SpreadsheetOpen, DbQuery). Some can write files, and thus also potentially clobber existing data (WriteTextFile, SpreadsheetSave, DbWrite, OptWrite). And RunConsoleProcess can run external programs. You can now tailor a security policy to control when evaluation of any specific function is disallowed. To do so, edit the Analytica.ini file in a text editor. Comments near the end document what you need to know.

Example Models and Libraries

  • The ParseDate UDF was removed from the Flat File Library, since a more robust version has been available as a built-in function since Analytica 4.1.
  • A new dispatch example model in the engineering examples folder illustrates use of the Dispatch function, among other things.
  • The Newton Raphson example was changed to use Iterate rather than Dynamic.
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