2016-03-02 Beta Release Notes

 Posted by  Beta  Comments Off on 2016-03-02 Beta Release Notes
Mar 022016

This is a beta release for CSPro 6.3. The future CSPro 7.0 release is going to introduce many changes, including a new way to store data, and it will have a significant impact on CSPro users. CSPro 6.3 is thus a release that builds incrementally off of CSPro 6.2 and may be the last release before the more significant CSPro 7.0 one. CSPro 6.3 introduces some new features and fixes some problems that were found in CSPro 6.2.

CSPro 6.3 is built with new versions of our programming tools, and this sometimes introduces quirks due to changes made by other parties. If you notice any unexpected behavior in CSPro 6.3, please email cspro@lists.census.gov. As part of this shift CSPro no longer runs on Windows XP machines.

We fixed a few bugs that users reported:

  • CSEntry taking a long time to redraw rosters on Windows.
  • Text Viewer crashing while opening a listing report.
  • The CSPro helps crashing when using the index on Windows 8 or 10.
  • The getos function not returning a correct value on Windows 10.
  • Underlines in question text not displaying correctly on Android.
  • Occurrence labels (set dynamically using setocclabel) not resetting when opening a new case.
  • Run as Batch not working when a data entry application used external logic files.

We are looking to streamline the CSPro language and other parts of the system. As part of this, in CSPro 6.3 we:

  • Removed the Convert Dictionary tool. It is now available on the Software page.
  • Removed the undocumented Android Wi-Fi peer-to-peer sync. If you used this, you should change your code to use Bluetooth instead.
  • Introduced deprecation warnings. If you are using features of the language that will no longer be supported in the future, you will see warnings when compiling your code. These can be controlled via the Options menu.

There are two new features in the CSPro Designer:

  • The position of the Designer window is saved and restored the next time you open CSPro.
  • If you want to view both names and labels at the same time, you can select View -> Append Labels to Names in Tree.

There are a couple enhancements for the Android CSEntry app:

  • The note icon appears blue when the field has a note, which is a nice way for the interviewer to know if they have left a note on the field.
  • A Review All Notes feature displays all of the notes for a case, allowing interviewers or supervisors to easily navigate to fields with notes. To access the feature, long-press on the notes icon or find the option off the menu button.
  • Help text defined for a field is now accessible and the interviewer can toggle between the question and help text.

There are a couple enhancements to the CSPro language:

  • You can use a negative index to get a substring starting from the right side of the string. For example: “JOANNA”[-4] returns “ANNA”
  • You can declare a numeric variable at the beginning of a do loop. In this case, the variable’s scope will just be the duration of the loop.
  • do numeric ctr = 1 while ctr <= totocc(PERSON_REC)
  • Savepartial has an optional parameter, clear. If used, the information in skipped fields will be cleared before the case is partially saved. Savepartial with clear simulates the behavior when a case is saved normally in system-controlled mode.
  • User-defined functions can now call themselves, meaning that recursion is now possible.
  • User-defined function pointers can be passed as arguments to other user-defined functions. For examples of this (and recursive functions), see the “Additional Examples of Functions” link at the bottom of the help page for functions.

There are three new CSPro language functions:

  • uuid: this function returns a string representing a universally unique identifier (UUID). This, a GUID, can be used if you need to uniquely identify something, as the odds of the function returning the same string twice are infinitesimally small.
  • loadsetting and savesetting: these functions allow you to store information as attribute-value pairs. The information is stored separately from any given application and thus can be shared between applications. These functions allow you to easily pass information between programs rather than needing to write information to a text file, external dictionary, or the parameters section of a .pff.

2015-11-12 Beta Release Notes

 Posted by  Uncategorized  Comments Off on 2015-11-12 Beta Release Notes
Nov 152015

This is intended as the final beta before the CSPro 6.2 release.

Major new features:

  • Multiple language dictionaries: Select Edit->Languages in the dictionary editor to add languages to your application. Unique labels can be added in each language. When creating forms, the “link field label to dictionary item” drag property ensures that the field labels will be modified when the dictionary language is changed, keeping the labels in sync.
  • Value set images have now been fully implemented on both Windows and Android environments. The file formats supported include: .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .png, and .tif.
  • Applications can define resource folders that contain auxiliary files that the application uses. These files will be compressed in the .pen file and decompressed when running the application.

Minor features:

  • Android case tree changes: individual fields can be hidden in the tree; by default skipped fields will no longer be shown in the tree.
  • Windows extended controls have been improved, with navigation buttons and search functionality.
  • System messages as defined in CSProRuntime.mgf can be overridden.
  • File handlers can now be passed as arguments to user-defined functions.
  • The Android application can now be installed to a device’s SD card.
  • Dictionary Macro options for compacting and sorting data files, as well as an Open With (CSPro tool) option.

New logic functions:

  • prompt: Prompts the operator to enter an alphanumeric string, also supporting a password masking option.
  • round: Returns a value rounded to the nearest integer.
  • connection: Determines whether the device has access to the Internet.
  • getimage: Returns the filename of a value set image.

2015-03-20 Beta Release Notes

 Posted by  Beta  Comments Off on 2015-03-20 Beta Release Notes
Mar 202015

(View the previous beta release notes, from 2015-02-04.)

Release Notes for 20 March 2015

  • The Android case tree now uses colors to show whether a field has been entered, skipped, etc., as on the desktop (though with different colors).

  • The synchronization routines now support peer-to-peer syncing using Bluetooth. (This is in addition to the current Dropbox and FTP synchronizations.) When using Bluetooth sync, you set one device as the “server” and the other as a “client.” The server has no intelligence, and it is the client’s responsibility to get and put the appropriate files. For an example of Bluetooth sync, see this simple Bluetooth sync demo where one file is sent from the client to the server. For a more advanced example, run the CSEntry File Transfer application.

  • Checkbox fields are now easier to work with because the alpha field no longer needs to be the combined length of all possible selections. For example, if you have 10 selections and each selection is 1 character, you no longer have to make the alpha field length 10. You could make it length 3, and that would support 3 selections. This also makes it easier to use checkboxes with dynamic value sets. For an example of this (as well as using lookup files), run this Population Projector application.

  • The display of the Android case tree can be turned off (e.g., for a menu program) from Data Entry Options.

2015-02-04 Beta Release Notes

 Posted by  Beta  Comments Off on 2015-02-04 Beta Release Notes
Feb 042015

(View the previous beta release notes, from 2015-01-17.)

Release Notes for 4 February 2015

  • A new logic function, publishdate, returns the date and time that the code was compiled. This value can be used to determine when your .pen file was created.

  • Users can now search the case tree on Android devices.

  • Small improvements and bug fixes, including fixing a bug that caused CSEntry to crash on some Android devices, including many 7″ tablets.

  • If you want to create .pen files from the command line (e.g., in a batch script), then you can write:

    "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\CSPro 6.0\CSEntry.exe" /pen "My Program.ent"

    On a 32-bit machine, remove the “(x86)” from the above code.

2015-01-17 Beta Release Notes

 Posted by  Android, Beta  Comments Off on 2015-01-17 Beta Release Notes
Jan 172015

Thank you for agreeing to be a CSPro beta tester. You must have CSPro 6.0 installed on your machine in order to install this beta. There are significant changes in CSPro 6.1, including changes to the format of the various CSPro files (.ent, .fmf, etc.), so if you makes changes to existing applications using this beta, you may not be able to read those files in previous version of CSPro. The beta version of the Android application can be found here: CSEntry_20150117.apk.

As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, or if you experience any bugs, please email cspro@lists.census.gov. If you are running the CSEntry Android application and you experience a crash, a file named crashreport.txt will be created in the csentry folder. Emailing that file to the support email group will help us fix bugs.

We plan to release CSPro 6.1 officially within the next two months, so if you have any feature requests, email them to the support email address before February. If you are interested in CSPro training, there is an intermediate workshop, focused on Android development, taking place in Washington, DC in June. There is a beginning workshop in August. Addidtionally, the Census Bureau may be able to provide in-country training for your organization. More information about the training can be found here or you can email ipcta@lists.census.gov.

Release Notes for 17 January 2015

  • On Android tablets, the case tree now appears alongside the currently-asked question. This facilitates navigation, and provides context for your survey. Using the menu, tablet users can hide the case tree is so desired. On phones, the case tree is still shown by clicking on the CS icon at the top-left of the screen.

  • Also on Android devices, the colors of the case tree can be modified. Select “Style Options” from the menu. There are now three color options, but more will be added. In addition, users will eventually be able to customize the colors.

  • Users using Android 5.0 (Lollipop) should no longer experience bugs that caused CSEntry to crash using this new version.

  • The Android application now reads in persistent fields specified in the .pff file just as the Windows version does.

  • We have added French and Spanish translations for some of the strings used in CSEntry on Android devices. If you would like to translate the strings to your language, or would like to suggest different translations for French or Spanish, please email cspro@lists.census.gov.

  • When creating new applications, there is now a “CAPI Data Entry Application” type. This creates a data entry application but with CAPI-specific options, such as using system-controlled mode, using the CAPI window, and not asking for an operator ID. All of these options could previously be modified using Options->Data Entry, but selecting this option may save you some time.

  • The field colors used on the Windows version of CSEntry can now be modified by selecting Options->Field Colors.

  • The field properties dialog has been streamlined, so that the capture type can be selected from that dialog instead of a second dialog. In addition, capture types that do not match the current value set for the item can be selected, which simplifies working with dynamic value sets (by eliminating the need for a setcapturetype function call from within logic).

  • CSPro specification files no longer save a timestamp when referencing a file. In the past, a file might look like this:

    File=6/3/2014 10:45:41 AM,.\Census Data Entry.ent.apc
    File=6/3/2014 10:45:41 AM,.\Census Data Entry.ent.mgf

    Now that same file looks like this:

    File=.\Census Data Entry.ent.apc
    File=.\Census Data Entry.ent.mgf

    This makes using CSPro with a version control system (such as git) more convenient, as the .ent, .bch, .fmf, etc. file won’t change upon every slight modification.

  • Export fixes: Exports to SPSS now export long labels, eliminating the previous 120 character limit. Chinese and other Unicode characters are now properly exported in SAS format.

  • New logic functions direxist and dircreate work like their file counterparts.

    string backupDirectory = pathname(inputfile) + “Backups”;

    if not direxist(backupDirectory) then

  • A new logic function, getdeviceid, can be used to return a unique ID on Windows or Android devices. On Windows, it returns the MAC address. On Android devices, it returns the device’s ANDROID_ID. In both cases, it returns a string variable.


        if not loadcase(USER_PERMISSIONS_DICT,USER_NAME) then
            errmsg(“The entered user name is not in the database of users.”);
        elseif USER_ALLOWED_DEVICE <> getdeviceid() then
            errmsg(“You, %s, do not have permission to use device %s.”,strip(USER_NAME),getdeviceid());


  • Multiple parameters can be specified in the [Parameters] section of a .pff file and accessed using the sysparm function. For example, in the past you might have sent information to your application this way:


    PROVINCE = tonumber(sysparm()[1:2]);
    DISTRICT = tonumber(sysparm()[3:2]);

    Now, you can simplify this and make it more readable:


    PROVINCE = tonumber(sysparm(“PROVINCE”));
    DISTRICT = tonumber(sysparm(“DISTRICT”));

    As before, calling the sysparm function without a parameter will return whatever was passed via the Parameter= line.

  • The following functions that affect the case tree on Android are candidates for inclusion in CSPro 6.1. Showocc and hideocc show or hide occurrence labels, and setocclabel allows for the dynamic modification of the label displayed on the case tree. If you think such functions would be useful, let us know so that we keep them in the 6.1 release.

    function UpdateOccurrenceDisplay()

        do ctr = 1 while ctr <= maxocc(PERSON_FORM)

            if ctr > HH_ROWS or PERSON_DELETED(ctr) = 1 then


  • The following type and function are also candidates for inclusion in CSPro 6.1. A list is a variable-length array, either numeric or string. In the future, it may be possible to add to and edit this kind of variable, but for now it is read-only and can only be retrieved using the dirlist function, which returns a directory listing. If you might use this kind of functionality, let us know so that we keep it in the 6.1 release.


    list string fileListing;

        numeric ctr;
        write(“Listing of data files:”);
        // the wildcard argument and the recursive argument are optional
        do ctr = 1 while ctr <= length(fileListing)
            write(“Name: %s – Length: %d”,fileListing(ctr),filesize(fileListing(ctr)));

  • There are many enhancements to the sync tool on Android devices. In addition to many bug fixes, there is now an updated user interface for setting up synchronizations, which should clarify many questions and problems that users have faced with setting up a synchronization routine. Synchronization routines can now be initiated by copying over a .pnc file to your device over USB, and basic synchronization files can be generated automatically for you from a .pff file located on your device, on Dropbox, or on an FTP server.

  • The synchronization routine can be launched from logic using the sync function. The routine can occur immediately, or can be queued to occur after the user has finished adding cases. This may be a useful way to make sure that the data on your server matches what has been collected without requiring the user to manually sync.




    CSEntry will first look on your file system for the synchronization file (in the above case, in the same folder as the .pen file), and if it does not find it there, it will look in the device’s sandbox, which is where .pnc files are normally stored.

  • Other bug fixes and feature enhancements, including to the Reformat Data, Tabulate Frequencies, and Export XML Metadata tools.

CSPro 6.0.1 Released!

 Posted by  New Release, Version 6.0.1  Comments Off on CSPro 6.0.1 Released!
Oct 022014

A new version of CSPro has been released, 6.0.1. This is a major release, as it also involves the release of the CSEntry Android app. Now data entry applications can be run on Windows, as before, but also on Android phones and tablets. For more information on this version, click on the CSPro 6.0.1 tag to read previous posts highlighting various new features.

Download the new version here, and as always, you can access older versions on the Software page.

New Tool: Record Cleaner

 Posted by  Tools  Comments Off on New Tool: Record Cleaner
Sep 172014

Check out the tools page for a newly released tool. The Record Cleaner removes records of a type not listed in the dictionary and adds required records that are not present. This tool will prevent you from getting “Invalid Record type” or “Required Record or Group ______ not found” messages when you process your data. It will also give you a limited report showing you what records were inserted and deleted.

2014-05-01 Beta Release Notes

 Posted by  Android, Beta, Version 6.0.1  Comments Off on 2014-05-01 Beta Release Notes
May 012014

Many features and language improvements have been added to CSPro for today’s May 1 beta release. As usual, we have also made minor improvements and fixed some bugs. If you experience any bugs while running your applications, in either the Android or Windows environment, please email cspro@lists.census.gov. Here is a summary of the features added since the March beta:

  • The .pen application file has been dramatically reduced in size, which makes deploying it to the Android device (and updating it) much quicker. This means that you must recreate all of your .pen files while testing this new version.
  • In the last beta release we added a new string type to the CSPro language. Now you can declare traditional alpha variables, as well as these new strings, locally. In the past this was only possible with numeric variables. So now you can write:

        alpha (50) localVariable = "This is a locally declared alpha variable.";


        string localVariable = "This is a locally declared string and is different from the above variable.";

  • Alpha and string objects can be concatenated using the + operator as an alternative to using the concat function. For example:
    string part1 = "Hello", part2 = ", ", part3 = "World!";
    errmsg("%s",part1 + part2 + part3); // displays: Hello, World!
  • The Android version now respects the upper case attribute. Cases are also marked as partially saved in the case listing. A search button has been added to the show / selcase graphical interface.
  • A new “tablet” mode exists on the desktop for CSEntry. With the PFF property FullScreen=NoMenus, not only will the case/file tree on the left be hidden (as occurs with FullScreen=Yes), but the menus and toolbars will also be hidden. This mode is ideal for conducting data entry on tablets.
  • A new tool, the PFF Editor, has been added to the suite of CSPro tools. This tool allows you to edit PFFs without needing a text editor. It can be useful as it displays all of the options available to an application developer for a given type of PFF.
  • Setvalueset, when provided with array parameters, has always been a way of creating dynamic value sets. Now you can pass one-based arrays to the function, in addition to the traditional zero-based arrays. If the zeroth element is blank, setvalueset will start processing at the first element of the array.
  • The accept function now accepts arrays as option parameters, which allows for more dynamic queries. For example:

    array string acceptOptions(20);

    // ...

    numeric ctr;

    do ctr = 1 while ctr <= count(NAME)
        acceptOptions(ctr) = "Interview " + NAME(ctr);

    acceptOptions(ctr) = "All Interviews are Complete";

    acceptOptions(ctr + 1) = ""; // mark the end of the array

    numeric selection = accept("Select an Option",acceptOptions);

    // ...

  • There is a new function, showarray, that is similar to the show function, except that instead of displaying items from rosters or records, it displays information located in an array. Here is an example of how it might be used:

    array string showValues(20,3);

    // ...

    numeric ctr;

    do ctr = 1 while ctr <= count(NAME)
        showValues(ctr,1) = NAME(ctr);
        showValues(ctr,2) = getlabel(SEX,SEX(ctr)); 
        showValues(ctr,3) = maketext("%d-years-old",datediff(AGE(ctr),sysdate("YYYYMMDD"),"y"));

    showValues(ctr,1) = ""; // mark the end of the array

    numeric selection = showarray(showValues,title("Name","Sex","Age"));

    // ...

  • A set of three new functions has been added: setvalue, getvalue, and getvaluealpha. They can be used as a way of assigning to and retrieving values from dictionary items by using the item name as an alpha field. For example:
    // instead of writing...
    SEX = 2;

    // you can write...

    Realistically you would not use the function if the variable name that you are assigning to is known. But, for example, if you want to add a button to your userbar that the interviewer can click on to assign missing values to various fields, you could write:

    function DoMissing()

    // ...

    userbar(add button,"Missing",DoMissing);

    Or for a more complicated example, here is code that could be used to write out customized .csv reports based on the parameters specified in an array. By adding, removing, or reordering the strings in the array, you would get a different report without having to touch any other code.


    array string PrintOptions(20) = "NAME","SEX","AGE";

    // ...

    numeric ctr,recCtr;

    for recCtr in PERSON_REC

        string output;
        do ctr = 1 while PrintOptions(ctr) <> ""
            if ctr > 1 then
                output = output + ",";

            if getvalue(PrintOptions(ctr)) <> default then // then the field is numeric
                output = output + maketext("%f",getvalue(PrintOptions(ctr)));
                output = output + strip(getvaluealpha(PrintOptions(ctr)));


2014-03-26 Beta Release Notes

 Posted by  Beta, Version 6.0.1  Comments Off on 2014-03-26 Beta Release Notes
Mar 272014

A few features have been added to the the March 26 beta release:

  • A string type has been added to the CSPro logic language. This is similar to the alpha type, except that it is of variable length, meaning that it can be used more simply than alpha variables. There is no longer a need to use the strip function on your strings for many operations. In the past you might write this:
    alpha (300) myFolderName,myFileName;

    Now you can simply write:

    string myFolderName,myFileName;
  • A case tree has been added to the Android version. You can bring this up by swiping from the left side of the screen to the center. It is further documented in the Android beta release notes. Note that if you have .pen files created with the old beta version, you will have to recreate them, as the structure of the file has changed.
  • The gps function now has an optional accuracy component. Instead of returning the first reading, you can specify that you want to wait for a reading of certain accuracy. For example:
    gps(read,300,10); // wait for up to 300 seconds for a gps reading of accuracy 10 meters or less
  • You can now define occurrence labels in the dictionary. For example, if you open the dictionary for the Metro Survey application, click on the Line Perceptions record, and select Edit -> Occurrence Labels, you will see the following dialog:

    You can define occurrence labels for multiply occurring records and multiply occurring items. When dragging these records/items to a form, you will be prompted in the Drag Options window if you want to use the occurrence labels instead of 1, 2, 3, … for the row labels. In addition, you can access these in logic using a new function, getocclabel. For example:

    errmsg("%s",getocclabel(LINE_PERCEPTIONS_REC(2))); // displays Green

    In your CAPI text, you can also refer to the current occurrence label. In the Metro Survey it is used as follows: Do you agree with the following statement: “The rail cars on the %getocclabel% line are generally clean.”

  • There are two new features in the Dictionary Macros. You can copy/paste item lengths now, in addition to names and labels. You can also bulk add items to records.
  • In addition to the above, we have fixed bugs and added some minor features and improved functionality.

Android Beta Released

 Posted by  Android  Comments Off on Android Beta Released
Feb 172014

The beta version of the CSEntry application for Android devices has been released. If you would like to test it, please visit the beta page. CSPro 6.0, along with this application, will be officially released in a few months.