Wednesday, January 2, 2013

IOC 3.2 support now available (beta)!

Scythebill 9.0.1 is now available for download!  This version - please think of it as a beta - includes two major new features.

First, Scythebill supports entering "sp." sightings and hybrids.   So, finally there's some way to record that Eurasian x Short-toed Treecreeper you couldn't quite identify, or that Western x Glaucous-winged Gull that no one should ever identify (to just one species).

More interestingly, Scythebill now supports the International Ornithologists’ Union checklist (version 3.2), hereafter known as the "IOC list".  You can enter, or display, or generate reports with either checklist, and it's just a quick flip of the taxonomy chooser at the top of the window to do so.  (EBird exports are always generated with the Clements taxonomy, so you can now use the IOC list to keep your own sightings, but still export to EBird.)

More details on both features to come.  For now, please do use the comment area to let me know if you see any problems with either feature, and especially if you find any problems with IOC list entry.  There are some known issues:

  • I've made some modifications to the Clements list to make alignment far simpler.  In (nearly) all such cases, I'm quite confident the modifications correct errors in Clements, but feedback is highly appreciated!
  • There are quite a few subspecies in the IOC list that are not included in Clements (and a handful of newly described species).  In all these cases, you can't enter those subspecies;  if you open "Browse by species" and wander around, you'll see such subspecies struck through like this.  Supporting those subspecies would be quite nasty, so there's no immediate plans to fix this.  I suspect, though, that some of these are just renamed subspecies (which I'll happily fix).
  • In general, flipping back and forth between the two taxonomies works really well.  But there's some issues with this process when entering sightings - sometimes flipping from Clements to IOC and back to Clements doesn't give you quite what you started with (generally, a "sp." comes out the other end.)
And if you're wondering:  yes, the version jumped from 0.8.7 to 9.0.1.   That's intentional.  I think the old versioning scheme made Scythebill look less ready-for-prime-time than was deserved.