STEM version 7.5 release

19 May 2016

A first beta version was released in early May and we are now working towards a final release date in early June.

STEM version 7.5 includes a bumper crop of new features and represents a step-change in flexibility and functionality for the results program in particular. The new functionality is summarised below and is already described in some detail in our online-help resource,

Existing clients are welcome to evaluate the latest beta system, and we ask you to contact directly if you would like access to the latest available system. The official release will be notified to all current clients in due course via our release bulletins list.

STEM 7.5 Beta 1 (et seq) can be safely installed in parallel with STEM 7.4a, but you should read the guidance notes on compatibility and warranty at the end of this article carefully before proceeding.

Summary of new features

Anyone who thought it was easier to browse STEM results in Excel, think again! With text- and complexity-based filters for element and result selection, orthogonal selection of variants for templates and scenarios, and graph selections modifiable in situ (so you no longer have to re-draw a chart to add an element), the results program reclaims its status as the ‘go to’ application for navigating the results of STEM models, large and small. The new Slice option allows you to include interactive short-list selections for any chart or table, and extra proportional-difference operations are available for so-called ‘edge’ or ‘corner’ comparisons across any dimension of the results.

Figure 1: Using the Change Selection command to add scenarios to an existing chart

A more professional editing experience includes autosave, firmer control of requirement and transformation-input bases, find/copy and replace, notes per field, pixel-scaling and zoom of icons, and some simpler language and help on errors.

Figure 2: Views zoomed to two different scales in the Editor

The underlying system is faster, leaner, and more flexible, with improvements such as hands-on equipment migration, peak-driven services from transformations, improved visuals and parallel processing for scenarios and templates, and tidier arrangements for installation and generated files.

Figure 3: Parallel processing of scenarios and templates

Guidance on compatibility and warranty for the beta version

STEM 7.5 is fully compatible with models created in version 7.4, but models saved with STEM 7.5 cannot be read back into STEM 7.4 or earlier versions without manual input from support.

This one-way compatibility is common in software where older systems will typically fail to recognise attributes introduced by a newer system. Traditionally it was not too hard to ‘reverse’ a STEM model version, where the only real loss was those newer attributes which would have no meaning for the older version. However, the STEM 7.5 upgrade will touch all model elements (with a new GUID property for more robust identification of results) and potentially alter the settings of one or two attributes whose interpretation has been amended in the new version, so this roll-back eventuality should be avoided at all costs.

When you consider also that we can only issue a limited warranty for the integrity of model data and results generated with this beta system, we must encourage you to limit its use to casual interest as an opportunity to preview the final system.

By the time the final STEM 7.5 is released, we will have verified results compatibility across our entire library of legacy test models. STEM 7.5 Beta 1 (et seq) should not be relied upon for mission-critical work in the interim, and any use of the beta system will be at your own risk!

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