It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, and ACL has released the latest version of their software: ACL Analytics 12. The ink on the release notes is barely dry but we’ve had the chance to take a look at some of the new features and picked out 12 to take a closer look at. Which ones stand out for you?
1. Importing data into ACL has been revamped. It’s received its very own space on the menu bar and now supports 15 new data connectors supporting 64 bit. A potentially nice feature is that you can now do joins before importing into ACL in the staging area. Check out some of the features in the .gif below.
2. Need to run regression analysis, factor analysis, or other higher level statistical tests? You can now call scripts written in Python and R directly from an ACL script without the need to use the EXECUTE command.
3. Visualisations have never been a strongpoint of ACL, but if you’re a user of other reporting tools such as MicroStrategy or Tableau, you can now use these tools to connect directly to ACL your project file to create your dashboards.
4. We all know how great ACL support is. The online help section has been overhauled with a new sleeker look. While there’s not really anything new here, the layout and design has been streamlined making it simpler to find answers to technical questions quickly and easily.
5. Building on Inspirations, ScripHub, and the user forums ACL has launched a new initiative called ACL Communities. It feels like they’re taking a stab at a social media type solution, with users able to interact with each other and answer questions posted by other members. If you have a problem that you can’t solve yourself this might be a good place to look to see if fellow users have encountered the same problem, as well as seeing how they’ve solved it.
6. We always like new functions. With FINDMULTI() you can now easily search for multiple terms at the same time. Just type FINDMULTI (field_name, “SearchTerm1”, “SeartchTerm2”) and it will display all records containing your search terms in the named field.
7. There is a new configurable option available with the set command. SET DELETE_FILE allows you to specify in your script whether data files are automatically deleted when the table layout is deleted. When set to ON, DELETE FORMAT t_Example OK, will delete both the table layout for t_Example and the t_Example.DAT file.
8. When running SUMMARIZE you can now receive descriptive statistics on your subtotalled fields. Options include the mean, median, mode, minimum, maximum, standard deviation, upper and lower quartiles, percent of the subtotalled field, and the percent of the count.
9. The maximum length of items is no longer limited to 31 characters. When naming tables or scripts how many times have you ran into this limit? Now you have up to 64 characters to name your table layouts, views, scripts, project folders, indexes, and workspaces (does anyone actually use these?)
10. The functions MAXIMUM() and MINIMUM() can now take multiple parameter values, and can accept date and datetime types as well. Whatever question you are trying to answer with your data, this will make comparing three or more numeric or datetime fields that much easier.
11. If you’re used to working on multiple screens, ACL pop-up boxes now appear on your secondary monitor if the ACL interface is on the secondary monitor. This appears to work all most commands apart from importing from Database and Application menu, which still appears on the primary monitor. A big plus for us when delivering training courses.
12. In the expression builder inserting a field no longer removes the preceding space. If you’re not a scripter this is highly likely to be a favourite. This annoying little bug has been lingering for a while and it’s nice to see it finally resolved. Have a look at 11.4.2 compared with 12.02
Greg Olenski, DataConsulting