What's new in Analytica 6.0?

Here's a summary of new Analytica features in release 6.0 since the previous Analytica 5.4 release. We don't include numerous bug fixes and minor enhancements, which of course improve the user experience is subtle ways.

If you have an Analytica subscription or even Free 101, it will automatically download Analytica 6.0 the next time you start Analytica after the release. The second time you start Analytica, an alert will prompt you to install it. You can download Analytica or ADE 6.0 from Analytica Downloads. If you have a grandfathered permanent license, you'll need to purchase an upgrade to 6.0.

Highlights

  • You can now modify #Arrows to have multiple line segments or curves -- very handy when you want to avoid arrows crossing other arrows or nodes. You can also set arrows' thickness, linestyle and colors.
  • In graphs, you can write #Custom graph titles at the top, edit axis and key titles, hide them, or even compute them dynamically. You can switch to a log scale using a hover icon. The OnGraphClick attribute lets you change input values or do other things when the user clicks a location on a graph.
Example with curved colored styles arrows.png


  • A completely new #ACP Style Library makes it much easier to use ACP-specific user-interface features, including navigation styles (show modules as tabs across the top or side), and showing node shadow or bevel styles, the Outline on the left, and whether to display uncertainty view menu, pivot menus, and more for results in Tall nodes and Frame nodes embedding graphs or tables in a Diagram. You can use the ACP Style library within ACP and see the effect of changing styles immediately.
  • You can also use the ACP Style library to set #Autocalc to automatically calculate and display results for output variables when you display their parent diagram or tab instead of requiring the user to click the [Calc] button.
  • Formatted Text Literals (like F-strings in Python) make it easier to write text values including the values of variables or expressions in curly brackets.
  • New #File system functions let you get a file path, a file list from a folder, add, delete, copy, and move files (in Analytica Enterprise and above and ACP).

See below for details.

ACP Style library

Analytica Cloud Platform or ACP offers several useful user interface features in a web browser that are not (yet) available within Analytica on the desktop. These features or "ACP Styles" include navigation styles with tabs across the top or down the left, the Outline view on the left (also available in Desktop Analytica), and drop shadows and bevels for nodes in diagrams. For result tables and graphs in Tall nodes or Frame nodes, you can set whether to show the uncertainty view menu, graph or table toggle icon, and whether to show pivot indexes.

The new ACP Style Library makes it easy to set and experiment with these features and styles. You import the ACP Style Library into your model in Analytica on the desktop. Using the Publish To Cloud dialog to run your model in ACP, open the ACP Styles library. When you change these styles, ACP will show the new styles immediately in your model -- unlike the old ACP Style library for ACP1 where you had to select the styles in desktop Analytica, which showed you only generic examples.

You can get the ACP Style library from the standard libraries distributed with Analytica using the Add Library from the File menu. But we recommend downloading it from ACP Style Library wiki page, since it will include the latest version as we continue to improve it.

For more see ACP Style Library

Diagrams

Arrows

You can now set influence arrows to have multiple line segments or curves: In Edit mode, when you click an arrow, it shows a square and round handle in the middle of the arrow. Drag the square arrow to divide the line into two straight line segments. Drag the round handle to create a curved arrow. These handles become "waypoints" between line segments.

You can add new straight or curved segments using the new gray handles that appear in each existing segment. You can remove waypoints by selecting a waypoint and choosing Remove way point' or Remove all way points from the Arrow menu:

Arrow menu.png

You can also change whether segments are curved, and set the dashed style, thickness, and double line from the Arrow menu. You can change its color by selecting an arrow (or Shift+Click to select multiple arrows) and click a color from the Color palette.

As before, you can use the Diagram Style dialog to control whether to show arrows to and from indexes and functions (off by default) or modules (on by default) or use the Node Style dialog to control whether to show all inputs or all outputs to a node. Select "'Hide arrow or Show arrowfrom the Arrow menu to control the visibility of individual arrows. or hide individual arrows.

For more, see Arrow bends, curves, and styles

System dynamics diagram with curved arrows.png

Rounded corners

The borders of Text nodes, Frame nodes, Pictures, and User Inputs and Outputs (when shown) now have rounded corners for a more modern, less formal, look -- replacing the former square corners. You can modify the default corner radius for these nodes, including go back to square corners (radius = 0), using the ACP Style library.

Autocalc

Normally, Analytica computes variables only when you ask to view a result value. And when you change an input, any user output influenced by the input reverts to the [calc] button. So you need to click any results that depend on the input again to recompute them. In some cases, especially with ACP, it's more user-friendly to have result tables and graphs compute and appear automatically when you view a Diagram (or ACP Tab). A new library "Configure Proactive User Outputs" lets you easily configure your UI's proactive evaluation behavior.

  • Configure proactive configuration.png

See Proactive Evaluation for details.

Larger default node size

  • The default node size for new models has been increased from 96x48 to 128x48 pixels.
Note: You can still modify the default node size from the Diagram Style dialog.

Graphs

Custom graph titles

  • You can now include the title of the graph on the graph image itself, above the grid. To include the title, check the Graph title check box in Graph setup / Text.
  • From there you can select the font, size and color for the title.
  • You can customize the title, making it different from the variable's own title.
    • To do this, right-click on the title on the graph and select Change graph title. This takes you to the Graph title expression attribute, where you can enter a custom title.
    • The Graph title expression attribute is an expression, so that you can compute your own title (for example, changing the title based on the uncertainty view or current slicer selections). The locals info and roles that are provided to OnGraphDraw are also provided to your expression here.
    • If you want a simple (non-computed) title, just make sure your text has quotes around it.

Dash style role

  • Using the new dash style (aka stipple) role and key you can depict some information using line color and different information using the line dash style.
  • To enable this option, enable the checkbox for Separate dash style key in the Graph setup dialog / Chart type / Line style settings.
  • When enabled, a new Dash style pivot control appears in the result window.
  • This works best for depicting short indexes with no more than 5 items.

Hiding labels for one axis

  • People often find the numeric values for the probability density of a continuous variable to be confusing. So you may prefer to hide the labels for the density axis.
  • You can hide labels for any axis from Graph Setup / Axis Ranges, by checking the Hide labels checkbox.
  • This setting is associated with the specific graph dimension on the axis at the time you select it, So if you pivot or change view mode, other axes aren't hidden.

OnGraphClick

A new expression attribute, OnGraphClick has been added, which is evaluated when you mouse-click on a graph. Your code can access information about what was clicked on, and set variables in your model based on what was clicked.

New Grid options

  • There are now 3 new grid options: Solid line mesh (in addition to the former & current default, dotted line mesh), x-axis-only and y-axis-only.
  • The default grid has been changed to solid line mesh.
  • The default grid color has been lightened a little, from 0x9c9c9c to 0xe0e0e0.

New hover icons

  • There are new hover icons to switch an axis to log-scale or back to linear-scale in a single click.

Computed Axis Title

  • It is now possible to compute an axis or key title dynamically when the graph is drawn. An example would be to base the title on which item is selected in one of the slicers for the result.
  • This is enabled by the addition of "Title" to the GraphFillerInfo index.
  • See Using a computed axis title in a graph for details and an example.

Copy/Paste

  • When you copy/paste from an expression attribute (like a Definition) into another application such as a gmail message, it now preserves the fixed-width font, the indentation of each line, and the syntax colors.

Filed Modules and Libraries

Missing module and library.png

It now treats the situation differently when you open a model that uses a filed module or filed library that cannot be found.

  • It keeps a placeholder "Missing module" or "Missing library" object in your model.
  • The Missing module/library looks like a module or library with a big crack through it.
  • You don't experience two extra error messages during the file load when you tell it to skip a filed module, because the node location and size attributes that cause these still apply to the missing module object.
  • If you save your model after not loading a filed module or library, the new scheme doesn't forget that it uses the filed module/library.
  • A hover icon on the missing module placeholder allows you to find and load the file to correct the missing module after the model is loaded.

Expressions

  • Added Formatted Text Literals (a.k.a. F-strings). For example:
    F"Golden ratio={(1+sqrt(5))/2}" → "Golden ratio=1.618"
  • You can now nest comments in curly braces " {} ". For example, if you have { start of comment { interior comment } more comment }, the comment doesn't end until it gets to the second " } ". This makes it easier to temporarily comment out blocks of code that contain comments. Previously, the first } ended the comment. When loading a legacy model with an unbalanced comments, it automatically adds a balancing " } " so that the comment still ends it the same place it doesn't break the model.
  • You can now omit a capture destination in a multiple-return-value assignment operator. This makes a common pattern more convenient and terse. For example, previously a pattern such as this was common:
Local txt;
(txt, Filename) := ReadTextFile("");
txt

where Filename is defined as a ComputedBy. The third line (txt) was already unnecessary, since the result of the assignment is the first parameter value. Now even the Local declaration is unnecessary, so that the above becomes just

( , Filename) := ReadTextFile("")

The result of the full expression is the first return value, with the second return value assigned to Filename.

  • You have long been able to select an item in a Choice control using the assignment operator. For example,
Select_fruit := "apple"
But, there was not an easy way to select the All option. Now you can select it by assigning the full index value, assigning an ordered list of all the options, or assigning the text "All" or "«All»" (as long as "All" (or "«All»" respectively) is not one of the choice items. (MultiChoice does the same, but that's not new to 6.0).

Built-in functions

File system functions

New functions

New parameters for built-in functions

  • There is now a sliding window option for CumMin and CumMax, which uses an O(n) algorithm, and which also handles the «passNull» and «reset» options.
  • You can list multiple arguments when calling ConsolePrint. They are printed on the same line, with no separation, and without combining the indexes of the parameters.
  • Added an optional «rollover» index to the Dispatch function, which you can use to rollover unmet demand or unused capacity to the next time period.
  • Added these new items to DatePart. DatePart( d, 'Date') returns the date part of a date time (dropping the time part), and DatePart(d, 'Time') returns the time part (dropping the date part). Also, Mod(d,1) now returns a date-time number when d is a date-time number, and is equivalent to DatePart(d,'Time') (formerly it returned a float).
  • Null values in «x» or «y» to CanvasDrawPolygon now cause it to start a new, distinct polygon.
  • Added the Cell formatting functions system library to the definition menu.

Database processing

  • A bug fix to DbQuery() and DbWrite() -- affects mostly DbWrite. These have a feature that splits queries on double semi-colons, and sends each part as separate queries. For example
    INSERT INTO Tab(X) Value(3);;
    INSERT INTO Tab(Y) Value(2)
Gets sent as two separate queries. Some databases won't process sequential statements in the same query, so this feature provides a way around that. All queries are done in the same context, which is also sometimes relevant. A bug was causing it to split on a single semi-colon, which was a problem, especially in complex queries with SQL variables. With this fix, single semi-colons are part of the same query and don't split them into separate queries. Unfortunately, this could break some SQL queries that used a single semi-colon and depended on them being split. SQL statements in this category would almost always be to DbWrite(), and very unlikely to impact queries that read data.

Batch processing

You can now run a model in a batch process from a Windows command line or script. So, you can run Analytica as part of an automated workflow. You were always about to do this using the Analytica Decision Engine (ADE) product. Now you can do it with Analytica alone. See Running a model in a command line workflow.

The key additions that enable this capability include:

  • The parameter /eval to the Analytica Command Line.
  • The Bye command, lets you automate the exit of an Analytica process.
  • An option to the Bye command let's you exit without saving (or asking to save) changes to the model if the model has been modified.
  • The command line option /NoSplash suppresses the splash screen when starting Analytica, which removes some startup delay.

Example Models & Libraries

Supply Chain

Brewery supply chain.png

The "Beer Distribution Supply Chain.ana" model in the Business Examples folder applies probabilistic supply and production disruptions to evaluate which operational decisions can mitigate order fulfillment disruptions.

Boolean circuits

Boolean circuits.png

This new example model was developed partially by a 7 year-old who was learning about boolean circuits, and enjoyed drawing and simulating his own circuits in Analytica. You can draw your own boolean circuit using AND gates, OR gates and NOT inverter gates, and toggle input bits to see how the 0s and 1s flow through the circuit. A nice model to teach young kids about boolean circuits and allow them to build their own simple feed-forward circuits.

Power law distribution library

The Power law distribution is implemented in a library that is now included with Analytica. The Power law distribution is useful in a number of applications, but perhaps even more important is that this library provides an example template that you can follow for adding other distributions to Analytica when you need one that isn't already built-in.

New ACP Styles Library

The ACP Style Library has been completely rewritten, and is tailored to the newest Analytica Cloud Platform release.

Sparklines Library

A new Sparkline Library has been added to the Libraries folder.

Other distributions

Optimizer

  • When you have an array constraint has both intrinsic and extrinsic indexes, the positions of Null constraints can now appear at different (intrinsic) coordinates in each extrinsic slice. Formerly, it assumed that Null constraints appear at the same coordinates in every extrinsic slice. For example, in If b Then x<y, where b is an array of booleans, b b can now vary along both intrinsic AND extrinsic indexes. Scalar constraints are not sent to the solver engine for positions where b=0 (hence are not counted in your total number of constraints).

Attributes and Object window

  • The attribute that used to be titled "Cloud Player Styles" or "AWP Styles" is now "AcpStyles".
    • In the Object window, it has syntax coloring and expression assist.
  • In the Object Window, you can right-click in the row-header column to select which attributes to display or hide for this object. Applies to this object only, and saves you from having to do it globally in the Attributes dialog.
  • The default text for the author attribute is improved, using your first and last name and organization if possible (as opposed to your window login name). It is able to find this information if you had entered that information in the installer while installing Analytica. You can also customize your default author signature, which will then be used as your default text when you create new models. To do this, edit the author attribute (in the Object Window or Attribute pane) to be as you wish, then right-click on it to bring up the context menu. Select the new option Save author signature. Subsequently, the same context menu will also have a Use saved author signature option.
  • A right-mouse context menu option makes is easier to set (or unset) the "apply computed cell formats to edit table" flag.
  • When typing an expression, Expression Assist can now suggest the names of indexes for a local identifier in appropriate contexts when the dimensionality of the local has been declared.

Number format and Cell-level formats

  • In a date template, it now accepts capital letters for D, DD, YY and YYYY, so MM/DD/YYYY can be used as well as MM/dd/yyyy. Formerly it recognized only lower case dd and yyyy.
  • On the Cell format dialog, the text entry options has been moved from the Alignment tab to its own Entry tab.
    • The options for Entry are now split into checkboxes for each data type
    • Added data type options for Null and Identifiers (handles)
  • The suffix number format displays (and has always done displayed) a G suffix for Giga ($ 10^9 $) and a u suffix for micro ($ 10^{-6} $). We added a «GigaOrMuSuffixChars» field to the NumberFormat attribute (item 18) that gives you a way to use a B suffix for Giga (B=billion in English) and µ for micro (greek letter mu). If you want to change this, at present you'll have to change the Sys_DefaultNumberFmt system variable from the Typescript window. To see the exact syntax, and for Library with a UI for configuring this, see Displaying B for billion, µ for micro on the User Forum.

Misc

  • When a window loses focus, its non-active scrollbars now have a more modern appearance.
  • You can now evaluate an expression when a hyperlink is clicked. This might be a call to ShowWindow(), for example, to jump to a particular result or diagram, or a button identifier to "press" an existing button.
  • When it generates an identifier from a title, it uses only a single underscore where multiple successive characters in the title are not valid in the identifier. For example, from the title "Taxes & Depreciation", the automatically generated identifier will now be Taxes_Depreciation rather than Taxes___Depreciation.
  • The option Run at load time has been added to the right-mouse edit-mode context menu for a button. Sets the 32-bit of ProactivelyEvaluate for the button, causing it to be run when the model is loaded.
  • Faster saving of model file when you save to a remote drive over a VPN connection.
  • Added the system variable Sys_WarningsToIgnore.
  • Jump to the Analytica User Forum easily from Analytica using the new Analytica Q&A forum option on the Help menu. Have questions about Analytica or suggestions? Ask them there, and answer questions other people ask.
  • Added Copy identifier to the right-mouse context menu for a node (in the diagram window).
  • Added a Server combo box to the Publish To Cloud dialog. Although rare, if you have access to an ACP server other than public ACP server, you can enter your server domain into the combo and then have an easy way to select which server you are publishing to.

No more 32-bit application and no "64" bit labels

Long ago, most software including Analytica were 32-bit applications. When we produced a 64-bit version, we used the '64-bit' label in many places. Today, we only produce a 64-bit, the 32-bit version is obsolete. So we've eliminated the "64-bit" from application file names, including:

  • The installer filename is now AnaSetup«ver».exe, not Ana64Setup«ver».exe.
  • The executables are now Analytica.exe and Ade.exe, not Analytica64.exe and Ade64.exe. Similarly, ADEW.DLL replaces ADEW64.DLL and AnalyticaUpdateCheck.exe replaces Analytica64UpdateCheck.exe.
  • Edition names omit "64-bit". So it now says "Analytica Enterprise" and not "Analytica Enterprise 64-bit".
  • The user's registry hive is now HKCU/Software/Lumina Decision Systems/Analytica/6.0, not .../6.0x64
  • License names omit the 64, e.g., analytica_enterprise_6_2 instead of analytica64_enterprise_6_2
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