STEM 7.5 development themes

21 May 2015

We promised some major surgery to the Results program in STEM and we have been busy re-engineering the so-called ‘middle layer’ as a first step towards a more stable and responsive platform better suited to the slicing and dicing required by our clients, as well as the intelligent filtering more or less essential for working with large models.

Graphs will be easier to draw and elements will be easier to select. Among a wide-ranging set of improvements, the title and legend elements for a graph will be modifiable in situ, and optionally linked across entire views where all graphs have the same common elements.

The complete feature list for the current round of STEM development is still under review, but some of the main themes are described in Figure 1 below.

Theme Description
Better management of requirement and transformation-input bases Using Connections or Installed Capacity when you intended Busy-Hour Traffic or Installed Units is one of the most common frustrations of STEM users, both novice and expert alike. Such Basis inputs will be unset by default in future versions of STEM and we will provide more explicit ways to set them as you go along.
Refined model for timing of equipment migration Finer control for modelling a phased migration over time, as well as support for effecting such a migration only when the existing solution is fully-utilised.
Pixel-scaling and zoom of icons, graphs and tables Seamless switching between different size monitors, as well as the ability to zoom in/out within Editor and Results views.
Auto-save Automatic persistence of Editor and Results sessions to match the expectations of continuity set by mobile apps.
Find/copy and replace The intended ‘second half’ of the find functionality introduced in STEM 7.4, plus prompting for a replacement pattern when pasting a copied multiple-selection of elements.
Parallel processing of scenarios Taking advantage of multiple processor cores when running scenarios of a model.
Streamlined upload for eSTEM models The Create Web Interface function will include an option to upload an eSTEM model directly to the intended server according to static and per-model address parameters.
Results online and API for third-party tools Making the outputs of a STEM model discoverable by third-party data aggregation tools, plus the option to deliver Results-program functionality in a web interface.
More convenient locations for installation and generated files STEM 7.5 will install to Program Files by default, and will also store all generated files in a separate temporary folder to make it easier to backup or mirror just the files you need.

Figure 1: Core developments

This principal workload will be balanced with a range of background improvements to be delivered in the same timeframe, including the items listed below in Figure 2.

Theme Description
Notes per field Notes will be defined on a per-field basis, rather than per dialog, with visual indication within the data grid to show where notes are defined.
Transformation traffic-driver for peak-driven service Addressing a minor inconsistency, STEM 7.5 will allow the Nominal Bandwidth per Connection input for a service to be driven by the output of a transformation (currently only possible for the Customer Base and Penetration inputs, and the Traffic per Connection input for a volume-driven service).
Simpler language and help on errors A few key system messages will be re-worded for clarity, and a help button will offer a lengthier explanation in cases where it is not practical to provide the full context in a concise message.
Refined terminology, visuals and progress indication for scenarios and replication Terminology within the Variants menu will be reviewed, and a different visual cue used for scenario parameters which won’t obscure the presence of formulae or set values in the data grid.
New results operations New Proportional Increase/Decrease operations will be offered alongside the current difference and quotient options for graphs.
eSTEM log-file tools To report statistics such as hits by date or per model, and with options to detail by visitor or referrer.

Figure 2: Background improvements

In spite of the evident preoccupation with results in these current activities, the final irony is that there may not even be a Results program at all! Book your place now for the twentieth STEM User Group meeting this coming October to find out why.

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