First and foremost: Thanks to our early users for helping us make PANDA better!
At the NICAR conference in St. Louis, we helped almost two dozen PANDA servers enter the world in less than an hour. We're hoping this is a sign that we've made PANDA easy enough for many newsrooms to install. Plus, our early users flushed out a few bugs.
We also solicited ideas about new features. One request that we heard from nearly everyone was the ability to search a single column of a dataset for specific values and ranges, especially in columns of numbers and dates. It seemed like a fine idea to us, so we got fast to work.
Today we're releasing an updated PANDA which fixes many bugs and delivers this great new feature, typed search.
PANDA now has a new installer, as well an easy-to-run upgrade process for existing installations. Please try it out, or upgrade your current PANDA installation. We'll be watching the user mailing list, and are ready to answer your questions and hear your ideas.
We also learned quite a bit in our PANDA roll out for the Chicago Tribune newsroom. We showed editors and reporters how to use PANDA, and as a result of demonstrating and discussing best practices, we've shuffled some features and updated the prospective features list.
For example, as we explained how we'd like reporters to use PANDA, we stressed the importance of replacing the default dataset title with something clearer and using the description field to explain the source of the data.
Thinking back to the discussion, we realized that if this is so important, PANDA should just direct users to do the right thing. Evaluating the upload process and adjusting the workflow to promote best practices is now on our to-do list.
If you're already using PANDA, please tell us what you think! It will help us focus development for the remaining months of our grant. Join us on the user mailing list.