Sunday, November 17, 2013

Scythebill 10.0 - Checklists! (and a whole lot more)

Scythebill 10.0 is here!   Download it here, and please follow Scythebill on Google+ or Facebook for updates.


This is a feature-packed release, but the biggest of the new features is checklist support!  Scythebill 10.0 includes checklists for over 200 countries and over 150 states, provinces, and counties - including all the states of the US and Australia, all the provinces of Canada, and many British counties.

I started with the checklists from Printable Bird Checklists, courtesy of Mal Jenkins, then added over 7,000 changes on top of those.

The checklists identify species endemic to an area, as well as introduced or escaped.  The Browse by location screen now automatically shows all species from an area mixed in with your sightings, and you can instantly see what species would be lifers or are endemic to a country.  You can even create checklist spreadsheets, viewable in Excel, Numbers, OpenOffice, LibreOffice or Google Drive, with your lifers conveniently marked in bold.

Checklists also make data entry better - "choose-your-own-abbreviation" data entry now automatically prioritizes those species found in the area of your sighting.

Here's a quick video overview of this feature:

As the video shows, you can cross-check your sightings against the checklists instantly with the "Verify against checklists..." menu item.  Please, do so, and send me any errors in the checklists you find!  I'd like to make the checklists rock solid.

Finally, I'm planning more features for checklists in the future - in particular, I'd really like to let you create your own checklists and share them, so your local patch can have its own list.

One-off sighting entry and deletion!

Both the Browse by species and Browse by location screens now have a button at the bottom-right.  It's either "Add sighting" or "Remove sighting" depending on what you've got selected, and:
  • On Browse by species, "Add sighting" will add a sighting of a species (or subspecies) with no date or location (though you can immediately add either or both).  This is oh so much simpler than going back through Enter sightings!
  • On Browse by location, "Add sighting" will add a sighting of a species at the currently location.   It nicely dovetails with checklists, as you can use this to go through a list of species on a checklist and mark which ones you've seen.
  • In either screen, if you've got one or more sightings selected, you can easily delete them.
A simple feature, but much needed.  

Easier access to all locations!

Scythebill 9.4.0 added all the states/provinces of the world, as well as all the counties of the United States and Great Britain.  But, alas, these were rather buried.  They're not anymore. You can get to all those locations immediately from any location box.  And, better, when you're picking a location (say, Brazil), Scythebill will show you Brazil followed by all the states of Brazil.

There's a variety of more subtle location improvements:
  • Forget whether you entered a location as "Mount Fuji" or "Mt. Fuji"?  "Saint Thomas" or "St. Thomas"?  Doesn't matter anymore - "mtfu" or "mofu", "sath" or "stth" will work no matter which you entered.
  • The countries of the Caucasus are now correctly in Asia.
  • The Azores was missing...  it's not anymore.
  • A variety of country codes have been fixed behind the scenes.  (This will make things a bit easier if you're uploading data to eBird)

Western Palearctic report!

Scythebill has long supported reporting on your ABA and AOU lists.  It now supports a Western Palearctic list as well!  Thanks to Jochen B. for the idea (and for finding glitches in my first implementation).  Just go to Show reports, and choose "Western Palearctic" as a location.

Customize your reports

Report output is far more customizable now.  Reports can be saved as "Excel" spreadsheets (though, really, you can open these up with far more - Numbers, Google Docs, LibreOffice and OpenOffice, and so on).  You can choose:
  • How many (maximum) sightings you want per species in the report
  • Whether to include the scientific name?
  • Whether to include family names?
  • Whether to show threatened status?
  • Whether to include sighting notes?
And HTML printouts can also be customized in much the same way.

But wait, there's more!

Every time you enter a sighting in Enter sightings, Scythebill will tell you if that species is new for your world list, country list, state list, or county list!  (And it'll also warn you if it's not on the checklist for that location.)

Small stuff

Scythebill will now warn you if you haven't saved your reports in awhile.  (Thanks to Yann M. for the idea).

IOC mappings for Chinese Wren-Babbler (a split off Scaly-breasted) were missing;  that's now fixed.

The MacOS Lion version was missing little right-facing arrows in a few screens.

When you selected a sighting in Browse by location, the species name wasn't always present in the sighting editor.  It now is.  (Thanks to Yann M. for the report.)

Scythebill imports with the Clements taxonomy would sometimes drop subspecies in favor of groups.    (Thanks to Jochen B. for the excellent catch.)

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