Release 1.5.13

This minor release fixes two tiny bugs you might have run into if you had extra (blank) leading or trailing spaces in your question short names, or if you had extra (empty) lines in your available-answers lists. NF now deals more elegantly with both situations.


  1. The choose-questions-for-story-form widget was not matching up questions correctly if your question short names had extra (leading or trailing) blank spaces. This might have caused questions to stay in the pool of unassigned questions (on the right) even after you assigned questions to your story form (on the left). Now any extra blank spaces are being trimmed off, fixing the mismatch.
  2. When the survey was displayed, any extra (empty) lines in choice-question available-answers lists were creating malformed survey HTML, causing the error “Something went wrong loading the survey questionnaire from the server.” Blank lines are now being trimmed out correctly. (I meant to trim them out before, but I accidentally used the wrong array function.)

A big thank you to a helpful user who pointed out both bugs. As always, if you find any bugs, please report them on the GitHub issues page.

Release 1.5.12

This minor release fixes two bugs: (a) the texts of edited stories did not appear correctly in the “Show story texts for copying” popup on the “Explore Patterns” page, and (b) annotation import and bulk change might not work correctly for edited stories. Thanks to a helpful user for finding this bug!

If you want a longer explanation, keep reading.

A subtle bug has been creeping into NF (without my noticing it) over the past few years. What happened was, I was supposed to be accessing story data through methods that check for updates to the story. This was to handle situations in which story data were edited (on the “Review incoming stories” page) after they were first entered (via survey, data entry, or import). I did once know about and use these checking-for-updates methods, but I seem to have forgotten about them as the years went by. So I had been poking my fingers directly into the story data, bypassing the checking-for-updates methods. That was a bad thing.

Fortunately, most of the direct access was into things the user cannot change (like story and participant IDs, which are generated by the system). But three direct accesses created problems.

  • On the “Explore Patterns” page, showing story texts in a separate window for copying would show the original story texts, not your edited versions. (This is the bug the helpful user found and reported.)
  • When you were bulk-changing annotation data, any edited story data would not match up correctly, because only the original versions were being compared.
  • When you were importing annotation data, NF was looking for the original story texts in the CSV file, not the edited versions.

These mistakes are all fixed now.

But finding bugs should not be how you remember how you used to do things.

This is just the sort of incident that makes me think software development support systems could do a better job of capturing, managing, and making accessible the stories of software development. Years ago, we told ourselves a story about how we access data that may have been altered, but eventually I forgot the story. The question is, how could I have been helped to remember it?

Probably the best answer is to work the story into the code, which is how we fixed the problem. We made the fields I was poking my fingers into private, so I will get an error if I try to access them directly again. Plus, we strongly typed all references to the data structures involved, so I will see warnings if I try to use them in ways they were not meant to be used again. We should have done all of this long ago, but we didn’t – probably because it didn’t occur to us back then that we would be developing NF in fits and starts with months and years between. I am now thinking that I should probably go over all of the code and clean up any place in which any variable has an undeclared type (of “any”), to better flag future departures from forgotten practices.

As always, if you find any bugs, please report them on the GitHub issues page.

Release 1.5.11

This minor release improves error handling for empty (no-name) questions. NF was choking on them during export. Thanks to a helpful NF user for finding and telling us about this bug!

As always, if you find any bugs, please report them on the GitHub issues page.

Release 1.5.10

This minor release fixes a small bug in which write-in survey answers were being left out of the “this is what you said” copy-and-paste display users can see (if you want them to) after they submit their story(ies). That’s it!


As always, if you find any bugs, please report them on the GitHub issues page.

Release 1.5.9

This “clarity” release improves various usability aspects of NarraFirma.

Most importantly, I added page descriptions to each section page (Planning, Collection, etc). These descriptions used to be in popup “tooltips” that appeared when you hovered over page links. However, it did not seem like people were doing that. So I moved them to texts that always appear after each link. If you find these new explanatory texts annoying, you can turn them off using a new project option in the Project administration / Project options page. I also went through and improved all of the page descriptions, so that they explain more clearly why you would want to use each page.

Other improvements in this release mainly have to do with colors (some of the more annoyingly bright colors have been toned down) and links (which now show hover-over, or focused, boxes to make it more clear what you are about to do). Oh yes, and the section pages now have images that match the home-page diagram, rather than just the boring old name of the section.

narrafirma changes

I think this will be a more grounded way to look at each section and make the whole experience feel more coherent.

And as usual I found and fixed a few small bugs.

As always, if you find any bugs, please report them on the GitHub issues page.