Specify 7.8 Show & Tell

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New Documentation

Form Meta Menu

Spatial Search

App Resources

Migrating to the Determiner Table

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Transcript (auto-generated)

Welcome everyone today. I will be introducing Specify 7.8

the next major updated Specify that will be

arriving in the coming weeks.

We are so excited to share with you this new release as it arrives

alongside our new schema 2.10 update introducing several

highly requested features.

Start I would like to share with a new schema update unlocks for

our users.

Specify schema, 2.10 changes most flip fields

to decimals increasing the Precision of data stored in those fields.

Decimal accuracy represents any number within the Precision of the decimal format

whereas float could not accurately represent all numbers.

Additional text Fields were added to the collection object attribute loan

loan preparation gift preparation other identifier

and geocore detail tables along with

many other fields and changes.

Locality names can now be more than 256 characters

as the limits been increased to 2,048 characters.

Tax on names can now exceed 64 characters growing to

256 characters in length. This is useful for when specimens

are hybrids of hybrids.

Query Fields can now contain over 65,000 characters

making them more powerful than ever.

Other important length increases are coming as well for the record set titles and

pick list item titles and values.

Agents can now be linked to the all new agent identifier table allowing

you to add many Associated identifiers to

an agent such as orcid ID.

This table includes many new Fields unlocking a new way to associate

identifiers with existing agents in your database.

Agent identifiers can be uploaded to Specify workbench and associated with

existing agents.

The Exchange in and exchange outtables also now support


We think you’re going to really love the new schema 2.10 update

and all the new features. It is reduces.

We’ll have a full change log available on the community form.

Today, I’m going to be introducing the form meta


This menu introduces a ton of new features.

Just by clicking on the gear icon in

the top right of any form.

You’ll be able to configure carry forward and that’s

per field.

enabling Auto numbering on a field by field basis

You can customize the form type.

You can make the form become auto-generated which shows a form

built by Specify on the fly with all of your unhidden schema fields, or

you can use the form that was defined in the XML.

You can query the history of edits for a record.

And for tree tables in pick lists, you can find usages from

this format menu.

Forms can now be temporarily switched to a read-only mode which is

a new and exciting way to make it so that you

have only read permissions in your database gives you

that peace of mind knowing you won’t be modifying any permanent


You can now set the subview sort order.

You could switch your subview between a grid or a subform display


You could open the form definition associated with the view you’re currently

looking at.

You can copy a link to the collection object record to share with other


A field label can now be disabled temporarily and

it will display the database field names instead.

And now you can run a report or label for any given

table right from the four meta menu.

We’ve also have some new inform improvements on top of all this the longitude

and latitude data entry validation is Now supported so

you can’t enter invalid characters when entering longitude

or latitude values.

Multiple records can now be selected in the query Builder on the


Which allows you to do things like bulk associate collection object Relationships

by using the new built-in query Builder menu and Specify 7.7

and on.

The maximum field length is now checked during data entry to

make sure that you don’t have any issues with errors or anything when

trying to save a very long field value and table

icons and names can now be included in a form headers.

There’s many more form improvements and many of

these can be customized in the user preferences.

We’ve also done a lot of work in the tree viewer.

Tree actions are now more intuitive.

Trees remember the last Focus node that you selected. So if

you select a node leave the session and come back all that information

is preserved.

Merging or synonymizing nodes now keeps the first node in focus.

It makes it much more clear which action you’re about

to take before they happen.

Tree nodes can now be selected without expanding or collapsing its


And Tree items can be deleted from the tree viewer. So

no longer. Do you have to open up the form and click the delete button? There is

now an option in the top bar.

And forced tree ranks are now checked as well before a node is moved.

Ensuring that none of your data will be misrepresented or mishandled.

We also have a ton of workbench improvements when importing

the CSV file you can now customize the delimiter. It uses

during the upload.

It also has better automatic delimiter detection.

You can customize the delimiter when exporting a data set to CSV

as well.

That queries have had some big improvements as well.

Queries with coordinates now have a new Geo map button to plot data

on the map.

Queries also support spatial search so now if you

have a latitude longitude coordinate field on a

query you’re able to click on a new icon and

access the spatial search function, which allows you

to drag and drop pins on the map and select

an area to search.

Query results now load before the total count is even been calculated allowing

you to run queries much faster.

You can now add an aggregated or formatted table by

double clicking on the name of the table.

Queries can be renamed from the query Builder interface by clicking on the

pencil next to the query name.

And querying on Taxi usages now runs the query automatically.

The app resources viewer has been entirely reinvented.

The search and replace function has been added to our resource editor.

App resources can now be cloned.

Administrators can customize the user press for other users

and it’s great visual interface to do it and I’ll

be showing that later.

Exporting view sets now downloads them in the correct file type.

There’s now a full screen mode for doing resource editing

streamlining the experience.

Resources can now be renamed directly from the editor by clicking on the

pencil next to the name. Just like in the query Builder and filters

allow users to filter by resource type so you

can filter by whether it’s a report a label a

view definition Etc.

We’ve also added a new database customizations. You can

now could figure the table shown in the data entry dialog in

the query Builder dialog as well as configure the attachment

preview size on your forms and in the attachments viewer.

including many many other bug fixes and features

We also have a ton of other miscellaneous features. Like the routing between

Pages has been improved now, each page has unique

URL and you can use the browser back arrow not just to go back to the

previous page, but also the previous dialogue.

Error handling has been dramatically improved where error

messages now vary based on the type of error you experience. They’re friendlier

and lower scares can be dismissible.

The not found page is also a more user friendly.

Navigation menu now highlights the correct item when you


Darwin core exporting manually now has a new

interface with a visual resource picker.

The tree tiles can now be clicked on to run a query for all collection

options associated with that taxon.

The ability to sort the contents of most dialogues by clicking on

the headiness now present you can now sort things like your record sets

or queries by name modify date or user.

The homepage logo and splash screen have been remastered

with SVG versions.

Now allowing them to be infinitely scalable and higher resolution.

Security panel now has protection from accidentally losing unsafe changes.

Now inside a Specify I’m going to be giving you a walkthrough of some

of those features that I showed during that presentation.

You can see on the home screen. Now. We do have the new updated Splash


and a new higher resolution Specify 7 logo

Otherwise, you can see that it looks very much the same as Specify 77

when you’re here at this splash screen. Let’s open

up a record and take a look at the new changes.

So I’m just going to select.

This Record set here from this database, this is our KU

fish collection at KU.

See we have the record set name up here. And now

there’s the option right here to quickly rename the


In addition to that we have the all-new form

meta menu that I discussed previously. You can

see that there’s now a gear at the top.

of all of these different subviews and at the top of

the entire form

and even when it’s in a grid here, you can find that gear by

expanding the item and seeing the gear icon.

Any one of these will activate the new form at a

menu, but we’re going to start by using the formatted menu for the entire

collection object record here. So I’m going to go up

to the top and click on the gear next to the Specify Network icon.

So you can see that the four meta menu has the name of

the table at the very top and then it has three sections here

because of it’s a collection object. It also has the

ability to share the record. So we’ll start with the form configuration option first.

There is the carry forward button first in


And from here you can see it’s already been configured somewhat, but we’ll

select it all for the sake of this demo.

And you can now selectively choose which Fields you’d

like to clone when you click the Clone button.

So you can see that these fields that have

to be unique in this database cannot be selected for carry forward,

but you can see that all of these other fields are available to

be selected.

So now I can reveal the hidden form Fields here

in case I’d like to change the behavior of those.

So any other ones that are unhidden that are

hidden in the schema, but visible on the form I can.

Change their carry forward Behavior here.

You can see that I can select relationships that I’d

like to carry forward alongside it and if I hit the gear I can select which

Fields within that relationship. I’d like to carry forward

as well.

For this case. I’m just going to not carry forward the

accession number.

I’ll carry for the catalog date and we’ll just

be not caring forward this relationship. So you’ll see.

The accession number here is 5059.

But when I click clone.

You can see that the new record no longer has that Association.

Next I’ll show you the auto numbering functionality

here. So this is for all fields that

are configured to Auto number. You can uncheck them or check

them in this case on this form. We only have the catalog


But if I uncheck this you can see that when I

add a record.

It is now a blank field rather than being the pound

signs to indicate Auto numbering or I can check

it here.

And now you can see that we have the pound signs.

to Auto number

so that’s good figure in the Auto number in here.

For seed away from this record back to our base one.

Next we have the form definition link here. You

can check this first box to use the

auto-generated form, which is a new functionality.

Automatically it will discard the form definition temporarily

and create a form based on the fields

that are unhidden in the schema. So in

our ischemic configuration for the collection object table, all

of these fields are visible. So now they

are all going to appear in this auto-generated form.

If I just creates this on the Fly.

And this is also the functionality that we use whenever you

navigate to a table that doesn’t have a form definition.

So we’ll re-enable the form definition that

we actually established in our database and we’ll

try out another cool feature, which is unchecking the

use localized field labels.

Now you can see that every single field is the database name

for the field rather than the one that we assigned in. Ischemic

config menu.

This is really helpful for when troubleshooting issues or trying

to write your form definitions. This allows you

to easily see what the actual labels are for

each field.

We’ll re-enable those localized field labels

and then I’ll show you the final component of the form definition menu.

So we can click on edit form definition.

and we will be linked to the view set that

corresponds with the form definition Network are only looking at

we’ll be coming back to this resource viewer later, but you

can see that now we’ve navigated to the view that corresponds

with what we’re seeing on this form here.

The next really interesting feature is the enable read-only mode


Now this temporary mode makes it so that everything your

database is read only and this includes

like workbench uploading and other modifications. Everything is

just going to be restricted so that everything is

Only viewable in nothing can be


You can still operate your web links modify documents generate labels,

but nothing can be changed.

So you can see you can’t even change the name of the record set there.

But at the top of every single form you’ll see the read-only next

to your meta so we can click back

up here access the form meta menu and disable read-only


So click on the gear and then there’s another cool feature, which is

the print label button. So even if your form

does not have a generate label button or something similar visible any

table can now be sent to the reports or

label Runner. It will show all of the

reports and labels that correspond with that table and have the

same base table during their creation. So all of

these are for collection objects, and they’re all visible now here,

So you’ll be able to run reports and labels straight from the


You can also configure the behavior for printing a label on Save and

these options work in addition to the ones

on the form. So this is super helpful for forms

where you haven’t made that manually on there or you want

to enable a temporary setting or create a temporary label for your situation.

The next thing we’ve got is this record information section. This

is going to be visible for all tables.

We can click on the history of edits button and you’ll

see that on the Fly specifies created a specified audit

log query.

That shows all of the modifications that

have been made.

So you can see today is November the 1st as I’m recording

this. I modified this record on 10:30 here.

You can see that Andy when he initially updated this

record. It was on April 7th 2022.

You can navigate to the parent record ID here. This is the the

current record ID that we’re looking at and you

can see the field name that was modified.

In this case, I modified a relationship. So

it’s not going to show the field name here, but it just goes

to show it’s a really cool feature to have and it’s super

helpful and you can customize this query here and Link

out to things like these specific field the new

value the old value Addle all of those extra components to

it. So it automatically put this together for us

and these are inserted by Specify on the fly to

make it easy to modify and see what edits

have been made to the records you’re looking at.

Now here you can see we’ve got the share record option.

And you can see that you have this very long record

URL that you can copy to your clipboard and it will

leverage our specified by catalog function

here. So you can see that we have our our collection code

here and we have the specific unique catalog


Along with the details that it’s part of the record set with

the ID 97. This link can be sent to anybody anywhere

in the world, assuming that your database and your Specify

7 instance is publicly available and they can go directly to

that record.

It’s a more friendly way to share collection object

record access from the meta menu


So that’s pretty much the meta menu. It’s got some other

functionality that are really cool when it comes to Tree items and things

like that. I’ll show you that special functionality now with

the taxon usages. So when I click on the taxon pencil

the query combobox pencil here. I open up

the taxon form.

I can click on the gear and I can see that there is a little

bit of different configuration options for The taxon View.

So in this taxon menu, I can do the

same carry forward form definition or print label and print label on


But I also have this fine usages button.

When I click on this it’ll create a new tab and immediately

search for any usage or this taxon has

been referenced by a determination and the

searches at the collection object level here. So you can see that these

are all the catalog numbers that correspond with determined with

determinations that reference this taxon.

The same button is available for picklists. So if you

have a pick list in the schema config menu, you can find out if

there’s any references.

Now I’ll show you some other really cool features. So you see that

we have this determinations view here. This sub view

is being formatted as a form. So it looks

just like anything else on this form. We can now change how

that displays. So when I click on this gear, you can

see that we have our type is a subform, but we can switch it

to a grid.

So now just like the preparations it’s being displayed as

a grid View.

When I click on the gear again to access the meta menu

I can then switch it back to being a subform and

you can switch any of these sub views to be one of the other

just like that.

You can also change the order based on fields that

are in the table that you’re configuring. So if I wanted the current

to be ascending I can click on that or descending and

it will reorder it.

The same kind of functionality is available in the grid just by clicking

on the headers to change how they’re ordered.

So it’s a pretty cool feature to have and really nice

quality improvement here.

The same function where I can access the history of edits.

So let’s go to the preparations View and I’ll show you again.

When I click on this gear here, I can then change

it from a grid to a subform and then

I get the same the pagenator function and everything else available to


So that’s the form meta menu.

We’ll have documentation explaining its functions and actions

on the community form and you can always let us know on the

form if you have any questions.

Ask for some other updates and Specify we now have some new character validation

for latitude and longitude values. It ensures

that only characters that should be entered in those

fields are allowed to be

You can now see the locality table name is in

the top left along with the icon.

Let’s go into the tree viewer.

We have some enhancements to the tree experience and Specify.

You can now delete tree notes right from the viewer so I can just click

on a node and click. Delete.

but you’ll notice when I try to delete a

record here that has a parent.

You can see now that this is being referenced by

this record here.

So when I click on that it will then allow me to go to

that record and see exactly where it’s being referenced and I

can go and resolve this if I’d like to to make

sure that I can remove these reference records so that

this record can be deleted.

The delete blocker linking is available for all tables. And

anytime you try to delete something Specify will now create links right

here to the record that’s being referenced. So

you’ll be able to actually delete the record you’re intending to.

This is super useful when you’re trying to delete Specify user for

instance and they have several resources associated with them.

Now moving merging and synonymizing nodes is more intuitive.

When moving a node Specify intelligently displays what actions are

happening in the action button telling you that you are selecting a

new parent for instances where you click merge?

select a new Target

and when you click on that following Target it now will

tell you exactly what the action will do if you click this button.

Another really awesome feature is that the first node

you selected is now outlined in red and the second

node is outlined in blue.

This makes it much clearer to see you when you’re making an action.

If I do something like try to synonymize.

You can see that it’s saying to select a Target to synonymize.

So this can be synonymized to whichever my

target is and then it outlines very clearly exactly what

the action is going to take.

When moving a tree node now specified checks for enforced ranks.

So if I try to move the species to the phylum


You can see.

It’s been checked and it cannot be done.

All trees also now remember the last Focus node preserving your

session between actions.

It’s super helpful when a tree is action is taken and it also

saves the user the trouble of trying to navigate back to the workspace location.

They were previously in.

As you saw before nodes can now be selected

without expanding or collapsing its children by holding down the command or

shift key.

So I can select any one of these records without expanding

or collapsing just by holding down the command button or the

shift key.

Now I’d like to show you some of the query improvements we’ve made.

The most prominent of which is the ability to do spatial

queries using this new PIN icon.

to the right of any coordinate field

So if we’ve got this latitude one longitude one on our form we can

easily click on.

This pin here and you’ll see that it just is by

default right there in the center.

We can now select a range of space and

find only records from that area.

So I’m going to zoom in here and select specifically.

Specimens from just this area right here.

So we’ll say we just want to get specimen from this area in


So when I save that I can run the query.

You’ll see that we have a hundred nine results returned and

when I click on the geomap button.

We’ll be able to see these 109.

points plotted

You see this really awesome interface where you can now


navigate to

Each of these items where it gives you the catalog number the field number

here collector’s names and all of those different options.

So it’s a really cool new way to visualize.

your queries

you can see that it automatically created these coordinate values

here and there you go.

So that’s the really cool new spatial search available in 7.8.

Some other really cool things about queries are now you can rename them

directly from the form here. Just like we could with the record set.

And it still gives you the same actions you have for any other query.

We also have the ability to run the query for really large results and

the results will be displayed before this total loads.

So that’s where I’ll leave it with query improvements today, but

you can check out the changelog to see every change we’ve made to the query system.

We’ve also got some new workbench improvements in this update when importing

a CSV you can now customize the delimiter.

So you can choose tab semicolon space

pipe or in this

case. We’ll just leave it as comma

you can change the name of the data set just as always and you can modify the


But it’s a super helpful thing so that you don’t have to do any

of that work externally. You can just choose the delimiter and

have specified you the work for you.

Another really cool thing is that when you’re exporting a data set, you can also choose

the delimiter you’d like to use.

So if I go to

This data set in our database and I’d like to export.

This one here is going to be a tsv file. But if

I go to my

user preferences here and I go to

the workbench

you can see that I can choose the export files unlimiter right


Another really great feature in this update is that you can configure the

query Builder and data entry dialogues and which tables

display by default.

So if you click on the pencil here, you can then choose whether you’d like

to copy the Specify six settings for the source of tables or use your custom


Which in this case would allow you to select a new table?

Move it on over to the data entry form here.

And then now we can have the accession table here

on the data entry.

And it works just the same as it would on the interactions here.

This list allows you to put any table from

the database into your data entry tables


It’s the same story with the query Builder.

When I click new here, I can customize which query

table I want to have visible.

And add it to the form here. So if I like my tax on citation to

be searchable, I can close that.

And then now when I decide to create a new query

I will automatically have the

tax on citation in my list

So for the final part of this update, I like to show today. There is

the all new app resources viewer.

The viewset resource viewer in the app resource viewer have

now been combined to one single interface.

Which will be able to see in just a second when I expand out.

these here

you can see there are now icons to represent the type of

app resource for all of these different app resources

in this directory. And when I click filters you

can then see which each icon represents.

So you can see the label shows that graph here

the reports I get ticket.

User preferences and other miscellaneous app resources are those gears the

leaflet layer so we’ll have the pen the RSS

and so on and so forth.

You’ll be able to filter by these things. So if I do want

to just see view sets when I’m editing the view definitions in the

database. I can uncheck app resources and then I’ll just be able

to view these view resources here.

So this filter system is really awesome and makes it super simple to be

able to find exactly which resources you’re looking for.

More importantly in this filter system. We now have an all new interface for

editing a app resource.

So you can see this icon indicates that we’re in the

editor and this pencil here allows you to change and

edit the view set objects table here.

So we can modify the name here or change any of the other fields that

are within the viewset object table.

We can also load a file from our directory or download it and

introduced in this update is the ability to download in the

correct file type. So it just attempted to

download the XML rather than the DOT txt.

It makes it so you don’t have to do that extra step when editing these


We can also use the full screen function to edit

in a full screen viewer and remove the distractions of all the other

components of Specify.

And a huge benefit in quality of life upgrade is

going to be the new find and replace


As well as just an internal editor in general you

can see that now things are going to be collapsible. It’s a

quick interface. It loads very quickly and

we can search things like catalog number and navigate directly

to it to make our changes in the forms or any

other resource that we’re choosing to edit.

I’d like to wrap up this webinar by showing off the new collection statistics

page that’s going to be introduced and Specify 7.8.

You can see that it’s got all of these calculated statistics that are based on

your individual collection.

Currently we’re collecting feedback at the community forum for in any

kind of request you have or new feature you’d like to see and this is

six page.

So please just let us know check to see as we develop this further along.

So that’s all I have time to show you today. There’s lots of other new

features functionalities and options in Specify

7.8. You can do the whole change log on

the specified Community form as well as viewing

the schema 2.10 update and all of the new Fields tables

and changes that introduces as well.

You have any questions, of course create a post on the community

Forum or you can send us an email at support@specifysoftware.org

Two thumbs up !
Any release date scheduled yet ? (video says coming weeks)

Original release date was this week, but we want to do extra testing to make sure it is stable, thus will have to delay it by 2-4 weeks.

You can keep track of our progress here - Milestones - specify/specify7 · GitHub (there are two 7.8.0 milestones that track the progress)

Also, you can expect a lot more great features to land in bi-weekly incremental updates.