Sleep Medicine Epidemiology
Brigham and Women's Hospital · Harvard Medical School

Slice 0.21.0

Schedules and Project Page Redesign


This release introduces a new feature called Schedules along with a redesign to the Project Page.

Schedules and Events

Schedules are used to plan forms that a subject must fill out over a series of events. These events could be a baseline visit, a monthly call, or an initial meeting with the subject. The events are offset by a predetermined amount of days which can be set in the schedule. The first screenshot below displays a schedule which contains four events. The first and last event in the schedule, both of which are visits, require several forms to be completed at that event. Note that schedules now allow a single form to be collected at two distinct events (time points).

The second and third screenshots display two different subjects that are at different stages in each of their schedules. Selecting any of the entered or unentered designs from the subject page will allow the data to be entered or updated. We’re excited to see how our existing projects will leverage the new subject schedules and events, and we will also expand on this in upcoming releases.

Project Page Redesign

The project page has been redesigned into six key components each with a specific use for the project. The project is split into Collect, Explore, Setup, Share, About, and Activity.


The first screenshot reflects Slice’s strong focus on data collection. Our research staff spend most of their time entering various forms for subjects and participants, and will spend most of their time entering and reviewing sheets, and adding new subjects.


The second screenshot allows project managers and data managers the ability to export the data that has been collected in a variety of formats, as well as view preset reports, and create and save new reports.


While project setup is initially important, the emphasis on changing designs, events, and schedules becomes less important throughout the project. The third screenshot shows the setup tab that allows project editors to define exactly how they would like their data to be collected.


The fourth screenshot shows the share tab for the project where users can be added to the project as either an editor or a viewer. While editors can create, edit, and view everything on the project, viewers can only view sheets, subjects, and reports, and can make comments on existing sheets. The share page also displays site members. Site members are identical to project viewers with the small difference that site members can only view subjects and data collected for their site along with making comments on sheets.


The fifth screenshot displays the project documentation that includes includes project documents, news posts, contacts, and customized links. The tab provides additional project resources that a project manager may want the editors, viewers, and site members to view, i.e. MOPs, Study protocols, and other documentation. The links section also provides the project manager to set up links to commonly required reports, or links to other external sites and documentation.


The final screenshot display the activity tab for the project. Activity includes new sheets being created or updated, and comments being made on sheets. Activity provides a quick glance on what has happened on the project over the last week. Additionally, a short one day view of the activity that can be seen from any of the project tabs.

You can view a full list of changes here:

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Task Tracker Release 0.28.0

Week View, Streamlined Filtering, and User Stats


We’ve released an update to Task Tracker that changes the default view that researchers see when they log in to Task Tracker, and also provides easier filtering across multiple views. We’ve also included a user stats page that breaks down a researchers tasks by tag and by project for a quick comparison.

The Week View

As researchers in our group are assigned more tasks, the default month view becomes unwieldy. To address this issue, we have changed the default view in Task Tracker to the Week view. The Week view combines information from a calendar view over the past couple of months along with a list view of tasks underneath the calendar visualization.

Days with a large amount of incomplete tasks are represented by a red background while days with a low number of incomplete tasks are shown with a yellow background. Days with all tasks completed are shown in green. In the screenshot below we can see that there is a large number of incomplete tasks on September 25th. Navigation is given by either clicking on the month name in order to go to the month view, or by clicking on a day to navigate to that particular week.

Week View in Task Tracker

Streamlined Filtering

Advanced filtering has been often requested by researchers. This release combines various requests for filtering by allowing researchers to specify the filters for any view (month, week, day, or list) in Task Tracker. Filters can be set and cleared, and navigating between views will retain the specified filters. Additionally, researchers can copy the url to create bookmarks for their favorite filters and list views.

Setting Filter in Task Tracker

User Stats

Task Tracker now provides quick statistics for researchers to provide a quick glimpse at task completion by tag and by project. Statistics are first broken down by tags, and are represented as a combination of completed and incomplete tasks.

Stats by Tag in Task Tracker

Projects also display the breakdown of incomplete tasks, and are sorted by the project with the largest amount of incomplete tasks first to quickly identify projects that are falling behind.

Stats by Project in Task Tracker


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Slice 0.20.0

Bootstrap 3 RC1


Our new release of Slice now runs on Bootstrap 3 RC1. Slice and our other applications have run on Bootstrap 2 for quite some time now, so the look and feel should remain very familiar.

Sleek, intuitive, and powerful mobile-first front-end framework for faster and easier web development.

You can also now favorite a project and in doing so, add up to three of your projects to the menu bar.

Favoriting a Project in Slice

Once you have favorited the project, you will be able to access a quick project navigation menu that will provide some quick shortcuts.

Project Menu in Slice

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Train Tracks Release 0.8.0

Preceptor Form Updates


We’ve recently renamed our Training Grant application to Train Tracks. Along with the name change, we’ve also moved the open source repository to and are using GitHub to collect issues and provide better feedback to our users. » More »

Slice 0.19.0

Survey Slugs


We’ve released a new version of Slice that contains a few Quality of Life changes for Slice. Notably, public surveys can now have a unique survey slug that cleans up the URL for linking to that survey. For example, a survey may now be called: /survey/task-tracker-survey, where task-tracker-survey is a slug that is based on the survey name.

Other changes have also been made to smooth out the design creation process, and also to reduce clutter when entering sheet data.

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Sleep Portal 0.15.0

Spout JSON Data Dictionaries


The 0.15.0 release has simplified the data dictionary specification process by integrating with Spout: Tested JSON Data Dictionaries.

Leveraging Spout for the SHHS Data Dictionary

Spout is a Ruby Gem that allows CSV data dictionaries to be converted into a corresponding JSON git repository. Spout provides a series of tests to assure variable and domain name uniqueness, variable type validation, and also tests to assure proper JSON formatting.

By breaking down a CSV into multiple JSON files (one for each variable and one for each domain), we are given the freedom to allow better collaboration on a data dictionary, while maintaining the integrity of the data dictionary itself.

For the Sleep Portal, our primary data dictionary is the SHHS Data Dictionary. Through the use of Spout and GitHub Issues, we were able to discover and address 46 issues across 124 commits for our v0.1.0 release of the SHHS Data Dictionary that is used in the current release of the Sleep Portal.

We were also able to discover data collection nuances in the SHHS overall variable in Issue #40.SHHS Data Dictionary Issue #40 - Sleep Portal

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Slice 0.18.0

Simpler Design Editing


While entering data on sheets for designs has been straightforward, creating and editing designs has been a tedious process. This release streamlines the design editing and creation process by:

Adding Sections and Variables to a Design

Sections and variables can be quickly added to a design. The screenshot below shows the variety of options of types of questions and data that can be collected on a design. To add a section, we will click on the “Section” option.


Design Builder Part 2 in Slice


Next we want to provide a section name for our new section along with an optional description.

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Slice 0.17.0

Survey Changes, Design Overview Updates, and Security


We’ve put together a release that makes some changes to surveys, design overviews, and makes security changes.

Survey Changes

Surveys now provide the ability for users to optionally enter their email address. The email address is used to send the user a link to their filled in survey if they wish to make changes to it after the original submission.

slc_survey_email » More »

Slice 0.16.0

Design Overviews, Restructured Data Exports, and Survey Links


We have put together a new release that focuses on improvements for three areas in Slice: Designs, Exports, and Surveys.

Design Imports

A while back we introduced Design Data Imports that allowed users to import data to a newly created design. With this release, we have expanded this feature to allow additional data to be added to existing designs. To import additional data to an existing design, go to the design, and click “Reimport”.

Importing Additional Data in Slice » More »

Training Grant Release 0.7.0

Attendance Percentage and Rails 4


We’ve released an update to our Training Grant application that updates the underlying architecture to Rails 4, and also adds a feature to see attendance percentage for Training Grant Administrators. Check out our prior blog posts on Task TrackerSlice, and Sleep Portal about what the Rails 4 architecture change entails.

The short list of changes include:

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