Today marks the 20th birthday of Analyse-it.
It was December 1997 when we shipped the first disks containing Analyse-it to paying customers. In some ways it seems just like yesterday, but in other respects software development and Analyse-it has come so far in those 20-years.
As many of you know Analyse-it wasn’t our first foray into developing statistical software. My co-founder in Analyse-it, Simon Huntington, had previously developed Astute in 1992 from a spark of an idea from Dr Rick Jones. Astute was the first statistical add-in for Microsoft Excel, initially released in 1992 for Excel 4.0, and released a few months before Microsoft’s Data Analysis Toolpak which appeared in Excel 5.0.
We started developing Analyse-it in 1996. Astute was no longer available and so we started work on developing a replacement. We were just a start-up business, keen to get our first product to market and so worked 16 hour days, 6 days a week, for 18 months to build that first release of Analyse-it.
Software development back then was pretty brutal. It had improved leaps and bounds since the 1980s, when we started developing software, but it was still time-consuming and sheer hard (mental) work. The software development tools were relatively basic and computing power was a fraction of what it is today. We initially developed Analyse-it in C++, the only commercially-viable programming language back then, and although a very flexible programming language it was very easy to produce bug-ridden and hard-to-maintain software. Each addition or change to the software code during development took 5-10 minutes to compile before the software could be run (or tested) to see the results. Not quite as slow as the mainframe era, but in an iterative process such as software development it was still tediously slow. Compilation often failed, due to typos in the source code, which then needed to be corrected and compilation restarted. Finally when we had an executable we could then start debugging and testing it. Windows 95 was the operating system of choice, but wasn’t the most resilient. It was easy to crash Windows resulting in a reboot, reload of the software development tools, and so on. Another 15 minutes gone.
Back then, the latest release of Excel was Microsoft Excel 95, which was basically Excel 5 with a new user interface and support for 32-bit processors. More than half of our users at that time were still using Excel 5, Windows 3.1 and 16-bit processors, so we had to support both processor architectures. We used Microsoft Visual C++ on Windows 95 and Borland C++ on Windows 3.1 to develop the 32- and 16-bit versions. Constantly switching between compilers, testing on different versions of Excel and different operating systems took more time – 3-4 months in fact to convert Analyse-it from a 32-bit only to a 32-bit and 16-bit application! In comparison, it recently took just over a day to make the latest versions of Analyse-it support both 32-bit and 64-bit processors!
Finally by October 1997 we had a saleable product. We had placed an advertisement in The Biochemist magazine a couple of months before and already had a backlog of orders. We had also launched the analyse-it.com web-site, a very basic web-site by today’s standards, but (believe it or not!) relatively modern for the time. Most users back then had VGA resolution screens, which were very small, 640x512 pixels, supporting only up to 256 colors. The web-site design now looks ridiculously tiny (see below), but that was all the space available on the screen without scrolling. In other ways it was quite revolutionary – we offered a free downloadable trial of Analyse-it, almost unheard-of back then. In those days you called a company on the telephone, spoke with a salesman, and maybe, if they considered you a reasonable prospect, they would post a disk through the post for a trial. Analyse-it was available for download directly from our web-site (albeit over a slow dial-up internet connection for most people), with no strings attached, pretty much as it still is today.
A screenshot of the first analyse-it.com web-site back in 1998
We finally sent out the first batch of orders for Analyse-it on the 21st December 1997. Delivery was by post and on a single 3.5” disk. We used a few compression algorithms to get the software to fit onto a single disk, making postage cheaper and saving costs – important factors back then as a start-up!
Feedback to the product was amazing. Customers raved about the product, on the telephone and by e-mail, and we received so much great feedback that the product went from strength to strength to what it is today. From those humble beginnings, we’re now approaching more than 40,000 users of Analyse-it and nearing version 5.0. Development is now much quicker due to modern software development tools and we’re able to add new features much more quickly. We’ve developed custom software solutions for the CLSI and other large companies based the reputation we've built over the last 20-years. And most of our sales still come from word of mouth – from happy customers.
Here’s to the next 20 years!
Prediction intervals on Deming regression are a major new feature in the Analyse-it Method Validation Edition version 4.90, just released.
A prediction interval is an interval that has a given probability of including a future observation(s). They are very useful in method validation for testing the commutability of reference materials or processed samples with patient samples. Two CLSI protocols, and both use prediction intervals.
Often we collect a sample of data not to make statements about that particular sample but to generalize our statements to say something about the population. Estimation is the process of making inferences about an unknown population parameter from a random sample drawn from the population of interest. An estimator is a method for arriving at an estimate of the value of an unknown parameter. Often there are many competing estimators for the population parameter that differ based on the underlying statistical theory.
As we mentioned last week in the , in this release we took the opportunity to revamp the documentation.
The revamp involved rewriting many topics to make the content clearer, adding new task-oriented topics, including refresher topics on common statistical concepts, and improving the indexing and links between topics so you can more easily navigate the help system.
The new task-oriented topics give you step-by-step instructions on completing common tasks. For example you will now find topics on how to , , , and even simple tasks like . We have also fully documented the supported dataset layouts for each type of analysis so you can see how to arrange your data for Analyse-it. The links in each topic help you more easily find related topics, for example links to topics on how to interpret the statistics, links to explain the pros and cons of the available statistical tests, links to topics for common tasks, and a link showing you how to arrange the dataset.
Last week we released version 4.80 of Analyse-it.
The new release includes multi-way , , and in the Standard edition, and since every licence includes the Standard edition, these features are available to all users. We also took the opportunity to revamp the and develop a . We’ll go into more details on the improvements in the next few weeks.
If you have you can download and install the update now, see . If maintenance on your license has expired you can renew it to get this update and forthcoming updates, see .
Today we released version 4.60 of the Analyse-it Method Validation edition.
The new release now includes 3 nested-factor precision analysis, which extends Analyse-it’s support for CLSI EP05-A3 multi-laboratory precision studies.
We are delighted to announce the addition of the Analyse-it Quality Control and Improvement Edition to the range of Analyse-it products.
The new edition includes the most impressive statistical process control (SPC) charts available in any Excel statistical software package, including Shewhart, Levey-Jennings, CUSUM, and EWMA charts. Process capability statistics and plots help you ensure a process is able to meet specifications. And Pareto plots help you identify the quality-related problems that need the most attention and let you monitor efforts to reduce them.
Microsoft officially released a couple of days ago, and Analyse-it version 4.20 now adds support for Excel 2016.
Over the next few weeks we will tweak the Analyse-it user interface so it matches the new Office 2016 user interface styles. Line styles on the plots in Excel 2016 now also appear a lot thicker, due to anti-aliasing (smoothing), so we will decide whether to address that in a future update – let us know what you think.
A critical feature of any analytical and statistical software is accuracy. You are making decisions based on the statistics obtained and you need to know you can rely on them.
We have documented our previously, but another good benchmark to test statistical software against is the NIST StRD. The Statistical Engineering and Mathematical and Computational Sciences Divisions of NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory developed datasets with certified values for a variety of statistical methods against which statistical software packages can be benchmarked. The certified values are computed using ultra-high precision floating point arithmetic and are accurate to 15 significant digits.
Today we released version 4.0 of the Analyse-it Method Validation edition. This is a major new release with many new features and improvements.
The latest release of the Analyse-it Method Validation edition now supports 10 of the latest CLSI evaluation protocol (EP) guidelines. guidelines are world-renowned and are recognized by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), The Joint Commission, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The recent of passing of Professor Rick Jones (see ) caused me to reflect on the past.
I was very fortunate to earn a work placement with Dr Rick Jones at The University of Leeds in the summer of 1990. Rick was enthusiastic about the role of IT in medicine, and after securing funding for a full-time position he employed me as a computer programmer. Early projects included software for automating the monitoring of various blood marker tests and software to diagnose Down’s syndrome. At the time many hospitals had in-house solutions for diagnosing Down’s syndrome, and although the project took many years and the help of many other people to complete, it eventually gained widespread adoption.
Today we released version 3.80 of the Analyse-it Standard edition.
The new release includes Principal Component Analysis (PCA), an extension to the multivariate analysis already available in Analyse-it. It also includes probably the most advanced implementation of biplots available in any commercial package.
New features include:
The tutorial walks you through a guided example looking at how to use correlation and principal component analysis to discover the underlying relationships in data about New York Neighbourhoods. It demonstrates the amazing new features and helps you understand how to use them. You can either follow the tutorial yourself, at your own pace, or .
If you you will no doubt already know about the recent improvements in the Analyse-it Method Validation edition and the release of our first video tutorial. If not, now is a good time to since we post short announcements and feature previews on Facebook, and use the blog only for news about major releases.
The latest changes and improvements to the Analyse-it Method Validation edition include:
Today we released version 3.70 of Analyse-it.
The new version includes many new features which some of you may have read about on our page over the last few weeks:
New features include:
If you have you will be notified an update is available when you next start Analyse-it, or you can download and install the update now, see . If maintenance on your licence has expired now is a good time to renew it to get this update and forthcoming updates, see .
Probably the greatest concern when using statistical software is reliability. Is the software producing accurate, numerically correct results that have been validated?
It’s a very important question. Many of you work in FDA and regulated environments where the penalties for mistakes are very high. And those of you outside such environments are still making important business and research decisions using Analyse-it. It’s therefore imperative that the software you depend upon is developed to a professional standard, thoroughly tested and validated.
We have just released version 3.60 of the Analyse-it Standard edition. It now includes repeat-measures ANOVA and Friedman tests in the Compare Pairs analysis.
If you have active maintenance, Analyse-it will notify you an update is available in the next few days, or you can download it immediately at:
If you do not have active maintenance, now is a great time to extend maintenance to get this latest update and all updates for the next 1- or 3-years, see:
Today we released the Analyse-it Method Validation edition version 3.5. The software is feature complete, validated, and includes documentation. It supports Excel 2007, Excel 2010 (32- and 64-bit) and Excel 2013 (32- and 64-bit).
We took this opportunity to rename the product from the Analyse-it Method Evaluation edition to the Method Validation edition. The product is the same, but the new name better reflects the intended purpose of the product.
Today we released the first public beta test version of the Analyse-it Method Evaluation edition, version 3.5. The software is feature complete and is validated – it is now only missing documentation.
We invite everyone to download the beta and try the new version of the software before it is finally released in September. You will need Excel 2007, 2010, or 2013 (32-bit and 64-bit versions are supported) and it can be installed and used alongside older versions of Analyse-it so it won't interrupt your day-to-day work.
Today we released the 3rd alpha release of the Analyse-it Method Evaluation Edition 3.5. Alpha releases are versions of the software that are still in active development, but are released to small group of customers so we can identify and fix any problems before the public beta release.
This release now completes the package with method comparison, which includes Deming regression, Passing-Bablok regression, and Bland-Altman difference plots. Linearity, precision analysis, diagnostic performance (ROC analysis and binary test performance) and reference intervals were already included in earlier alpha releases.
Today we released the 2nd alpha of the Analyse-it Method Evaluation Edition 3.5.
Alpha releases are pre-release versions of the software that are still in active development. We release them to a small group of customers so we can get feedback and quickly identify and fix any problems before the public beta release. If you want to take part in the test phase reply or comment on to this post or . You can use pre-release versions of Analyse-it alongside your
existing version of Analyse-it, so it won't disrupt your work. And, if you help during in the test phases you will get a discount on the upgrade (a free upgrade for those who contribute the most) when the product is released later this year.
We are now starting to release test previews of a major update to the Analyse-it Method Evaluation edition. The new release will include many new features (we'll reveal more in the coming weeks) and will support 32- and 64-bit versions of Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013.
During the initial test phases we release development versions of the application to a small group of customers to ensure it installs and runs as expected on a wide range of PCs and configurations. The official beta test phase stage then follows where more customers are invited to download and use the software, while we iron-out the final few bugs before the official release. The official release is planned for summer 2013.
What is a sample quantile or percentile? Take the 0.25 quantile (also known as the 25th percentile, or 1st quartile) -- it defines the value (let’s call it x) for a random variable, such that the probability that a random observation of the variable is less than x is 0.25 (25% chance).
A simple question, with a simple definition? The problem is calculating quantiles. The formulas are simple enough, but a take a quick look on Wikipedia and you’ll see there are at least 9 alternative methods . Consequently, statistical packages use different formulas to calculate quantiles. And we're sometimes asked why the quantiles calculated by Analyse-it sometimes don’t agree with Excel, SAS, or R.
Yesterday we improved the help in the and added a statistical reference guide. The guide tells you about the statistical procedures in Analyse-it, with help on using and understanding the plots and statistics. It’s a work in progress, and we intend to improve it further with your comments and feedback, but it’s important to understand the role of the guide.
Firstly, the guide is not intended to be a statistics textbook. While it covers key concepts in statistical analysis, it is no substitute for learning statistics from a good teacher or textbook.
Leeds, England (PRWEB) October 03, 2012 -- Analyse-it Software, Ltd. today announced a major new release of their popular , Analyse-it®. With support for Excel 2007, 2010 and the forthcoming Excel 2013, Analyse-it transforms Microsoft Excel into a cost-effective powerful statistical analysis and data visualization package. Statistics and plots are included for exploring and describing data, estimating parameters, testing hypotheses, uncovering relationships and fitting models.
Today we pushed the release candidate of the Analyse-it Standard Edition v3.0 for Microsoft Excel 2007 & 2010, our statistical analysis software for Microsoft Excel.
The release candidate is feature complete and is intended to be the final, almost public release of the software.
The software is now validated against our library of thousands of tests to ensure the statistics and plots are accurate and correct. You can now use the software in your day to day work and, like previous versions, it can be used alongside your current version of Analyse-it until you become more comfortable with it.
We’re pleased to release the final beta of the Analyse-it Standard Edition, v3.0. The beta is now publicly open to anyone as we iron out any final issues and conduct final testing before release.
To download the beta, please visit:
Screenshot: Analyse-it fit model analysis includes an influence plot to identify points with a substantial effect on the fitted model.
Today we released the first public beta of
Analyse-it Standard Edition, v3.0.
Maybe we're biased, but it is an amazing product! It's been a heck of a lot of work, but the range
of statistical tests and plots in Analyse-it v3 rival what the expensive, established statistical packages provide. In fact, in many cases we’ve surpassed what
they offer. And the statistical plots go beyond what's available in any
other Excel add-in.
If you follow us on you will have seen that we released a new version of the Analyse-it Standard Edition, v3.0, to testing this week.
During the initial test phases we release development versions of the application to a small group of customers to ensure it installs and runs as expected on a wide range of PCs and configurations. The official beta test phase stage then follows where more customers are invited to download and use the software, while we iron-out the final few bugs before the official release. The official release is planned for early 2012.
It's been a few months since we released Analyse-it 2.22, which added compatibility with, what was then, the Excel 2010 release candidate. Now it seems many are upgrading from Excel 2003 and are contacting us to ask whether Analyse-it is compatible. It is!
Interestingly, starting with Office 2010, Microsoft is providing 32- and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Excel. Until now Excel has been a 32-bit application only (going back to Excel 5 which was a 16-bit application). natively supports the 64-bit microprocessors becoming more common in desktop PCs and allows you to work with truly enormous quantities of data.
Yesterday Microsoft launched . It’s the next version of Windows, following on from Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000.
As a software vendor we had early access to Windows 7 and have been using it daily for approximately 6-8 months. Our impressions are Windows 7 is very reliable, stable, much faster than Vista, and is an upgrade we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
Today we released the latest update to Analyse-it, version 2.20, which includes some minor fixes and major improvements. The major improvements affect users of Excel 2007, though we recommend all users download this update for the minor fixes included.
Late last week Microsoft started to release Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2, and made it publicly available on Tuesday this week. Service Pack 2 includes many improvements, including some worthy performance improvements for users of Microsoft Outlook.
The British government recently announced a 2.5% reduction in VAT (sales tax) on goods purchased from the United Kingdom (see ). UK VAT was previously 17.5%, but from the 1st December 2008 until the end of 2009 it has been reduced to 15%.
Like many businesses, last Monday, we implemented the change.
Customers in the United Kingdom who aren’t VAT exempt, and those of you in Europe who are not VAT registered and must pay VAT, will now pay only 15% VAT.
In clearly titling this blog post, we’ve probably already revealed the answer, but... Can you spot the difference between the two rows of values in the Excel spreadsheet shown below?
Sorry, it’s a trick question, because (visually) there is no difference. The difference is how the values are stored by Microsoft Excel. The value 57 in the cell on second row is actually stored as a text string, not a number.
Today we’re delighted to publish the second case study into the use of Analyse-it.
The case study features a national clinical laboratory in the USA that offers more than 2,000 tests and combinations to major commercial and government laboratories. They use Analyse-it to determine analytical performance of automated immunoassays for some of the industry’s leading in-vitro diagnostic device makers -- including Abbott Diagnostics, Bayer Diagnostics, Beckman Coulter and Roche Diagnostics.
In a previous post, , we explained the tests provided in Analyse-it to determine if a sample has normal distribution. In that post, we mentioned that although hypothesis tests are useful you should not solely rely on them. You should always look at the histogram and, maybe more importantly, the normal plot.
The beauty of the normal plot is that it is designed specifically for judging normality. The plot is very easy to interpret and lets you see where the sample deviates from normality.
A customer contacted us last week to ask how to refer to cells on an Analyse-it report worksheet, from a formula on another worksheet. The customer often used Analyse-it's refresh feature, to repeat the statistical analysis and update the statistics, and direct references to cells on the report were being lost on refresh.
As an example, suppose you have used Analyse-it linear regression to calculate the linear relationship between installation cost and the number of employees required, distance to the site, and the cost of machine being installed. Analyse-it would calculate the effect of each variable on the final cost, technically known as regression coefficients, which you can then use to predict installation costs for jobs in future.
Today we’re delighted to publish the first case study into the use of Analyse-it.
Marco Balerna Ph.D., a Clinical Chemist at the in Switzerland, used Analyse-it when replacing the clinical chemistry and immunological analysers in EOC’s laboratories.
Since the EOC provides clinical chemistry services to five large hospitals and three small clinics in the region, it was essential the transition to the new analysers went smoothly. Marco used Analyse-it to ensure the analyser’s performance met the manufacturer’s claims, to ensure the reporting of patient results was not affected, and to comply with the regulations of the EOC’s accreditation.
Last Friday we released the latest update to Analyse-it, version 2.12 -- a minor update, providing fixes to minor issues recently reported by customers. The update is available free.
If you're using , and not experiencing any of the issues fixed (see the ), then you can skip the the update if you wish. But if you're using an earlier version of Analyse-it, version 2.10 or earlier, we recommend you get the update.
Although the charts in Analyse-it are large so they’re easy to read when printed, sometimes you need to print a chart to fill the full page. You can do so easily, without resizing the chart, in just a few steps:
Chart size is only limited by the page size your printer supports.
We’re pleased to announce that from today we can accept payment in EUROs. You can now see prices for Analyse-it in EUROs, as well as British Pounds sterling, and US dollars (for customers in the USA & Canada).
The EURO is now the primary currency in Europe and many of our customers have asked us to accept EUROs. We can accept payment in EUROs by VISA, MasterCard or AMEX credit card, or by cheque or wire-transfer.
Identifying what was analysed, when, and by who, is the first step in understanding any Analyse-it report. The top rows of each Analyse-it report provide you with this information. The statistical test used, dataset and variables analysed, user who analysed, and the date and time last analysed, are included (see below). When you print the report the header is repeated at the top of printed page.
In May this year, we surveyed users of the Analyse-it Method Evaluation edition to gain insight into how we can improve Analyse-it in future. Thank you to all those who responded.
In the responses, one issue became clear: the unfiled reports feature causes confusion.
When you run an analysis, Analyse-it creates a new worksheet containing the statistics and charts for that analysis (what we call a report). Analyse-it places the report in a temporary workbook called . From there you can then decide what you want to do with the analysis: keep it, print it, e-mail it, or discard it. If you want to keep it you click the (see below), and Analyse-it moves the report into the same workbook as your dataset.
The most used distribution in statistical analysis is the normal distribution. Sometimes called the Gaussian distribution, after , the normal distribution is the basis of much parametric statistical analysis.
Parametric statistical tests often assume the sample under test is from a population with normal distribution. By making this assumption about the data, parametric tests are more powerful than their equivalent non-parametric counterparts and can detect differences with smaller sample sizes, or detect smaller differences with the same sample size.
For new and occasional Analyse-it users, datasets can sometimes seem confusing. Today we’ll explain why we devised the 'dataset' concept, a concept now copied by some other Excel add-ins.
We introduced the dataset concept so Analyse-it could automatically pick-up the data and variables from your Excel worksheet. As we found with , the Analysis Toolpak, and other Excel add-ins, forcing you to select cells containing the data to be analysed can be problematic:
A few readers have e-mailed to ask for more information about the book by David J. Sheskin we alluded to in the comment reply re: the , last week.
The book is the Handbook of Parametric & Non-parametric Statistical procedures, by David J. Sheskin, ISBN: 1584888148.
We have the third edition of the book which runs to over 1,200 pages -- a phenomenal piece of work for a single (obviously very dedicated) author. While it’s not a book you would sit down and read cover-to-cover, it is a very readable reference guide, covering all the parametric and non-parametric statistical procedures included in Analyse-it.
Many Analyse-it users readily admit their statistics knowledge is a little rusty, usually because it’s 10 years or more since their last statistics course. Should I use the t-test, Mann-Whitney, or Wilcoxon test? The names of the tests aren’t exactly helpful, nor do they give you any clue of the assumptions that must be met to use the test.
That’s why we devised the .
It’s a simple interactive wizard that asks what you want to do, what data you’ve observed, checks which pre-test assumptions can be met, then tells you the best statistical test to use. Using the advisor you can be confident you’re using the correct statistical test -- or even use it to check if your statistics knowledge really is as rusty as you think!
Depending on where you’re located, the way we spell “Analyse-it” may intrigue you. We chose the name in 1997 as it sounded active, a direction to analyse it! – similar to many product names of the time.
The name has served us well and hints as to what our business and product offers.
At the time we didn’t think such a simple name would cause so many headaches. Before you wonder, Analyse-it doesn’t mean anything offensive in other languages, but it can be spelt different ways:
Most of you know where to find the help and examples provided with Analyse-it, but if not, today we’d like to explain what’s available. If you're stuck we're always happy to help, and usually respond within a few hours, but it's always faster for you to check if the help answers your question first.
If you’re new to Analyse-it, or want a quick refresher, the best place to start is the Getting Started tutorial. It’s completely automated, no typing is required, so all you have to do is sit back and watch. In just 10 minutes it will demonstrate how to setup a dataset, how to filter the dataset, how to run a statistical test, and how to edit, refresh, and print the reports.
One of the primary reasons we launched the blog is to let you know what we’re currently working on, and give you to opportunity to feedback and influence the development.
At the moment we're spending most of our time developing version 3.0 of the Analyse-it Standard edition. The improvements are based on what you've asked us to include, and through insights gleaned from recent customer surveys. Improvements and new features will include:
Last Friday we released the latest update to Analyse-it, version 2.11. It’s a minor update providing minor fixes to issues recently reported by customers.
The update is available free to everyone, including users still using Analyse-it version 1.
In fact if you’re still using Analyse-it version 1 you should get the update right away. You’ll be impressed with the improvements to both the application and help, and if you’re using Excel 2007 you’ll love the slick Analyse-it RibbonBar .
Thanks for stopping-by to read the inaugural post to the Analyse-it blog.
We’ve launched the to keep you up-to-date on what’s new at Analyse-it, what we’re working on, and to notify you when updates and new products are released. We’ll also blog about using Analyse-it, statistical analysis, and interpretation.
The best part about the blog is it’s a conversation -- a conversation between you, our visitors and customers, and us. After reading a post you can add your thoughts, suggestions, and comments. We’ll reply when necessary or other visitors can post their opinions to ignite the debate. Click the links at the end of each post to read comments or add your own.