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This is an almost complete rewrite of the Pattrn codebase, adding new analytical features and improving the app's UX.
Major new features for data editors:
- added support for GeoJSON data sources
- add new variable type: hierarchical tag trees
- an arbitrary number of variables of each type can now be used (up from the previous hardcoded limit of five variables per type)
- updated UX:
- switched to off-canvas panel for chart lists
- switched to off-canvas panel for event details
- these changes allow to make the map wider for easier navigation
- metadata for variables can be used to set descriptive label names (rather than displaying raw variable names)
- support for multiple origin sources of data:
- each Pattrn instance consumes a single GeoJSON file...
- ...but this can contain data from multiple sources
- different charts and filters can be configured for each distinct origin source
- data points can be visually differentiated by using a unique colour for each origin source
- tag and boolean filters are now operating as or filters by default (rather than and, which is often less useful); this can be reverted to and (for the moment only instance-wide)
- multiple data validation and cleanup improvements to remove invalid data
- support for bundling data packages via NPM
- major performance improvements (visualising datasets of ~20,000 events is now practical: an improvement of an order of magnitude over Pattrn v1)
The Google Sheets data source is still supported for the time being, for users who wish to try Pattrn using the often familiar interface of a spreadsheet to manage data, or who wish to use the prototype Pattrn Editor (see documentation: https://docs.pattrn.co/pattrn-on-gapps/). For advanced users, however, the GeoJSON source data format is now the preferred format, as most of the new features above can only be linked to the flexibility provided by GeoJSON.
As GeoJSON sources can be hosted on any HTTPS site, these could be generated dynamically through applications similar to the legacy Pattrn Editor, enabling to crowdsource event data.
Major new features for developers:
- legacy code has been almost completely rewritten and refactored
- except for minor data-related and UI-related logic, all the code has been rewritten using ES2015 features
- the new code is organised into small modules
- HTML is generated from modular Pug templates
- CSS is generated from modular SCSS stylesheets (compiled via libsass)
- Gulp build pipeline
- Transpilation via Babel
- Bundling via Browserify
- local preview server for easy debugging
The Pattrn user documentation has been vastly expanded, and is now available at a dedicated site: https://docs.pattrn.co, with content generated from a dedicated repository (https://gitlab.com/pattrn/pattrn-docs).
Besides these changes, the Pattrn v2.0 release also builds upon parallel work done to develop and improve best practices for the preparation and packaging of data (see documentation: https://docs.pattrn.co/pattrn-data-packages/)
We hope that both users who have experience with Pattrn v1.0 and new users are as excited about this new release of Pattrn as the Pattrn team at Forensic Architecture is.
Although the list of new major new features is long, this release was mainly meant to constitute a stage of stabilisation for the Pattrn project, after the major undertaking of developing and releasing as free software Pattrn v1.0, which was a timely and new major data analytics platform for conflict monitoring, investigative journalism, human rights, citizen science and research.
Pattrn v2.0 is a major new milestone of a long future journey, whose next steps should hopefully rest on solid foundations thanks to the major code rewriting and refactoring efforts undertaken during the v2.0 development cycle.
We always welcome enquiries, critique, feature requests and contributions to the documentation and to the source code: if you use Pattrn, please also join the Pattrn discourse on Gitter to stay in touch with the Pattrn team!