Aimchart (Flash) FAQ

Table of Contents - Sections

General Questions
Flash
Features
Groups
Viewing
OS X
These are all internal links in this document.

I have another question not answered here, what do I do?

mail us for other questions.

I like what you're doing, how can I help?

to help development.
You can use it, test it, and report any problems you have.
You can spread the word and get others to use it.
You can also help write code.

This FAQ is all about the flash version of aimchart. How do I look at the flash version?

Go to the demonstration page.
In short, you can login to the flash chart. Then you can use username "demo" and any password to see some test data.

This FAQ is all about the flash version of aimchart. How do I start using the flash version?

The Flash version currently only allows you to view your data. You can login to the flash chart. If you don't have an account yet, you need to use the "New Account" button on the main page.

What's going on with the versions; why are the version numbers different? What features haven't been added yet, have been added recently, or could be sponsored?

see version.html



Why Flash?

Because Flash is the best technology available for rich client applications.
With Actionscript 2.0, Flash became a mature development environment that supports OOP well.
Flash is incapable of being used to make a system tool - like a virus checker, firewall, or disk utility. Those must by nature be platform dependent. The Flash plugin purposefully restricts any such capabilities as a security feature for the user, reducing the trust they must place in arbitrary Flash applications.

It is my opinion that any situation where a client application (an application that interacts with a user) is needed and a standard browser is insufficient, Flash is the ideal tool for it's platform independence and user security. It's only competitor is Java applets. While Java is technologically great, the standardization of applets has been largely broken by Microsoft and the development is much less user interface centric. I do wish it had a linux compiler.

Note that I've talked only about _client_ evironments. Flash is not a server platform, although ColdFusion is. Java is a robust multiplatform server environment, which is the base for ColdFusion.

What do I need to view the flash chart?

You need an internet connection, an 800x600 or better display and Flash Player 7.
That means you need a compatible OS (Windows, OSX, or linux) and browser.
Click for Flash 7 browser requirements and scroll down to "Playback"
If you use OSX, see below.

What do you recommend to view the flash chart?

We recommend Firefox or Mozilla for OSX, Windows, or Linux - but almost anything works.

Why is it weird when I try to use two different logins on the same computer?

To use more than one aimchart login on the same computer with the flash chart:
the flash chart uses the authentication information (cookies) from the last time you logged into aimchart using that browser, regardless of whether that was the same window.
But it _also_ stores them internally once you've used the flash chart.
To chart a different login:
0) close the flash chart
1) use the new login on the perl site.
2) click on this logout link
3) go back and click on the flash chart again.



How do I use the Groups page?

Before you can use the Groups page, you must have an educator account. Currently this is any account except those created as someone else's student. Then you must use a recent version of Aimchart (flash) and select the Groups screen.

Layout The lower left corner of your screen is the (blue) group you are currently managing, it shows you what you're working on. The lower right corner allows you to select a (green) group to find Learners or Actions to add to the (blue) group you're working on. The top is where you enter new information.

If you don't have any groups create one by entering it's name in the field near the top center of your screen and click save. This is how you add new groups. Similarly you can change the pulldown from "New Group" to "New Learners" or "New Action" to add those. New Learners and Actions are always added to the (blue) group being managed in the lower left corner. You can remove Learners and Actions from the (blue) group by selecting them and clicking the remove button. You can also remove the entire chosen (blue) group.

You can use the right hand (green) group to find Learners or Actions that aren't in your current group and click Join Learners or Join Actions to join all of the selected members of that type from the right (green) group to the left (blue) group. This does not change the right (green) group.

You won't see changes to your data until after the server has confirmed the updates. This means that if you see the data in your list it has been successfully saved. Currently, sometimes if you don't have permission to make the changes you attempted to make simply nothing will happen.

How do I add a data point?

In the Flash version of Aimchart, you can only add a datapoint if you can see the chart, and if exactly one Performer and one Action are selected. Under those conditions, a point will appear below the chart and aligned with today. Simply click near this point and drag it onto the chart to place it where it should be.

If you miss, you can also click near the point again to move it.

It can be difficult to drag to high frequencies with precision. Simply drag the dot as close as you can to the appropriate value. Then, use the up and down arrow keys to align it precisely.

Your new point is saved when you change the screen you're viewing or the chart display. Until then it isn't saved.

Note: This feature is not complete: currently your point isn't saved at all, and the dot appears regardless of your performer/action selections. You can tell when it would've saved, because the point will disappear.

Why do I have a line between my data points that goes backwards?

If you enter a some data points as weekly points and some as daily points, it may draw them in the wrong order. This is a temporary issue for compatibility with data entered using the old site; data is ordered by the beginning of the time period instead of the midpoint of the time period.

How do Overlays work?

Overlays are currently partially implemented - they operate well enough to be useful and demonstrative, but not to their full potential. The name is still in the works, too - views and layouts are competitive.

For now, you can click on "Copy to a new Overlay" and it will clone the chart display exactly as you have it. That means it will lock in your data selection, all the checkboxes, and the current date. Any changes you make after that will affect one copy but not the other.

You can also go to the Overlays function selection, and see the list of all current overlays. You can highlight as many as you want - all of the selected ones will be displayed in addition to your current data.

Why is this useful? A good example would be to compare students from two different groups. An even better example would be to compare data from two different time periods - to compare data with that from the previous year, for example. To do this you go to where you can view one set of data, click "Copy to a new Overlay" and then go look at your next set of data.

How can I work offline?

1.

2. This point is really about _starting up_ offline. The flash Aimchart site will continue to function with cached data even if disconnected from the server, so you don't need to do anything to work offline as long as you keep the viewer open.

3. Aimchart does not currently have an offline mode. This means that it will continue to try to get additional data from the server. You cannot test working offline unless you disconnect your network connection.

4. This is only as secure as your local machine. Aimchart saves your current username when you click "save cache" and it also saves all the data in your ram cache. On reloading, Aimchart will attempt to operate as the last user that saved the cache on your machine - without a password. Also, it may be possible under some conditions for a different user logging in to view some of your data. For the security of your data, go to the Settings function and click "clear cache" before letting anyone else use your computer.

What happens when I change the time axis of the chart (daily, weekly, etc) ?

There's no right answer to how to handle this situation. The default Aimchart answer is to change the time axis and do nothing at all to the data. So, for instance, if you have data every day and put it on a weekly chart, there will be a data point on each line and 6 in between.

However, an intended feature of Aimchart is to provide support for first, last, lowest, highest, and median (at least) "summarization" - so you'll get only the the part of the data you want, and you can reduce the number of data points on the screen.

Also, when you change the time axis of the chart, it assumes new data that you enter are meant to represent that entire time period - so if you're entering weekly data, you should use a weekly time axis. While this currently has no effect, it will be used in some forms of summarization.

Why does it sometimes chart with a variety of colors and sometimes not?

Aimchart has a checkbox on the settings page labeled "colorwheel" By default this option is enabled. However, if any action has a specific style that is supposed to display, the colorwheel is automatically turned off. To reenable it, just change the checkbox.

What are comfort pairs and how do they work?

Comfort pairs (sometimes just "pairs") are a specialized transitional Aimchart feature for the Morningside Academy. You can create pairs on the pairs subscreen of the groups screen; you must select exactly 2 actions. Each action can only be a member of 1 pair. Currently there is no automatic way to remove pairs and there is no easy way to distinguish which actions are part of pairs. Whenever an action that is part of a pair is displayed on the chart, both actions in the pair are displayed unless the "pair actions" checkbox is unchecked.

Please note that unlike the other datacontrol checkboxes, after checking or unchecking "pair actions" you must reselect the actions you're trying to display.

The major use of pairs is so that two actions may be displayed while you are adding data to one of them.



Apple (OSX) FAQ

How do I install Firefox for the mac?

Download it. If it doesn't expand and mount an image automatically, double-click on the downloaded file.
Then, drag the Firefox application from the image into your Applications folder, and then from your applications folder into your Dock.

Does Camino work?

Apparently not, but it hasn't been investigated.

Why doesn't IE for the mac recognize the file type?

Presumeably because IE is no longer supported on the Macintosh, the Flash7 installer doesn't bind .swf files correctly.
To fix this, after you install the flash player, open Explorer - preferences.
Click on Recieving Files - File Helpers; click "Add" and enter the following values:
Representation
Description Shockwave Flash
Extension .swf
MIME type: application/x-shockwave-flash
File Type
file type You have to put something, I use "????"
file creator
Handling
How to handle: View with Plug-in
Plug-in name: Flash Player.plugin

Why can't I see my data in Safari?

Right now all your authentication is handled by the older, perl/javascript/java version of Aimchart.
Safari has a problem handling the way that mixed authentication happens. We'll resolve this soon.