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Dynamic Process Tracing Environment User Discussion

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DPTE Official End-of-Life due to Flash Deprecation

Adobe Flash, upon which DPTE is built, has reached end of life. Details are provided in the previous post. Because of this, we do not expect DPTE to continue to work correctly as of January 1, 2021. Unfortunately, to date all of our efforts to seek funding to update the system have not been successful. In the future, if we are successful, we will attempt to re-establish DPTE and will notify existing users. Thank you for your support of the system over the years and we hope it has been valuable to you and your research.

Dave Redlawsk and Rick Lau



As we announced last year, Adobe will end support for Flash support on December 31, 2020.

Because DPTE uses Flash, most, if not all up-to-date browsers may be unable to access DPTE after that date.

Users should be sure to have completed all studies and downloaded their data before December 31. It may be possible to access DPTE after December 31 with an older browser that has not been updated, but we cannot guarantee this. We continue to seek funding to update DPTE to remove this limitation, but at this point it is unlikely that we can avoid the problem in time.

Update on DPTE Status

July 17, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

We need to let you know that Adobe Flash, the underlying software that runs the system, is being withdrawn. As of the end of 2020, Adobe will no longer support, update and distribute the Flash player plug-in. At this point we do not know if this will mean DPTE will no longer work unless modified, but that’s what we expect.

We hope to find funding to update DPTE to become HTML5 compliant, eliminating the need for Flash, and keeping the system running. As of today, we do not yet have that funding.


What do you need to do?

First, you should be able to continue running DPTE studies between now and the end of next year.

Second, we encourage you to download copies of the data from any experiments you have run, just to ensure that you have it.

Third, do not start new studies that are expected to run past the end of 2020.


As mentioned, we are seeking funding to rewrite DPTE. If we are successful we will let you know and at that time will also let you know about timing and migration strategies. If we are not successful in securing funding, we will let you know that as well.

If you have any questions, please free free to email Dave Redlawsk at redlawsk@udel.edu.

We hope you’ve found DPTE to be a valuable tool, and we’re certainly working to overcome this challenge so it can remain available.


Best wishes,

Dave Redlawsk and Rick Lau

DPTE Bug in Duplicating Experiments with Follow On Items

One of the real strengths of DPTE is that you can use “Follow On” items to define stimuli that should appear immediately after a participant clicks on a particular piece of information. After reading that piece, and closing it, any defined follow on items are presented. These can be announcements, questionnaires, or other stimuli. You can even insert branches as follow on items in order to move the participant to some other substage or stage based on having read a particular piece of information. And, like other stimuli, follow on items can be processed conditionally.

However, it turns out there is a bug in the duplication of experiments with follow on items. The items themselves ARE copied and appear where you would expect them to, in the appropriate stage/substage/group/flow item location. But they will not be processed when the participant clicks on a stimulus item with a follow on. Instead, the system will drop through to the next defined item, returning to the player flow.  The bug has been identified: a flag that indicates the presence of follow on items is not being copied correctly when an experiment is duplicated.

Until the bug is fixed, there is a relatively simply workaround. In the duplicated experiment, go to the stage/substage/group/flow item where you have defined follow on items. Click on the follow on item button at the bottom right of the screen as if you are going to define items. You should see the existing follow on items. To fix the flag, simply remove on of your follow on items. Then restore it by putting it back where it was. This will reset the flag. If you have multiple follow on items defined for a given flow item, you only need to remove/restore one of the items, and they will all work.

We hope to fix the underlying bug in the not-too-distant future and will announce it here when we have.

DPTE Server Scheduled Downtime Thursday, Dec 11, 7:00AM – 8:00AM CST

IMPORTANT: The DPTE server will be down on Thursday, December 11 from 7:00-8:00am CST (13:00 to 14:00 UTC) to do important updates. You will be unable to run DPTE experiments during this time and logins will be disabled. It is likely the server will not be down for the entire hour, but you should avoid scheduling experiments during this window.

PLEASE NOTE: The DPTE server now has daily (recurring) maintenance at 1:55am CST (07:55 UTC). The server may be unresponsive for up to 1 minute at this time. You should avoid doing important work, and not have Subjects running Experiments, during the brief downtime.


As you may know, we had a system crash the other day. The crash appears to have been at least partly performance related: that day DPTE processed the largest number of subjects in one day ever.  As the tech staff has examined it, they’ve found some areas to fix to improve performance, so we should be in good shape going forward.

However, patches need to be applied to the server. Scheduled downtime will be between 9AM and 11AM, CDT (14:00 to 16:00 UTC) on Friday, September 20. During this time you will be unable to access DPTE or to run any subjects. Please plan accordingly.

Thanks for your patience and always feel free to let us know if you have any questions or problems.

Latest Update: DPTE V2.8.5

An update has been made to DPTE to add some new features. When you log into the system you should now be on v 2.8.5.  If you are not, then refresh your browser to clear cache.

This update includes the following:

– Owners can re-assign Experiment to another Researcher (“Owner” is now an option on the Role menu)

– Search/replace feature, which can also be used to help synchronize Subject Variable names (see DPTE faq pages for details)

– Hyperlinks and images (and other HTML) can be used in text fields (see DPTE faq pages)

– new System Variable SYS_VAR_RECORD_EVENTS can be used to turn event recording on/off. Please note if you turn off event recording you will severely limit the data you have available while recording is off.

– several Rec Data Set additions/bug fixes

We are particularly excited that hyperlinks and images are now available in text fields.  You can use HTML in the following DPTE text fields:

– A Text Stimulus Item’s main text
– an Announcement’s text
– the text of a Question.

In these fields, DPTE will treat the characters {{ and }} as < and > characters to surround your HTML. In the Player, this will render as HTML. For example, the text:

{{a href=http://www.mylink.com target=”_blank”}}Here is a link{{/a}}

would display a link to the location specified. Note that the link text will not appear underlined or blue unless you add that yourself. Remember to always include target=”_blank” so that it opens in a new window/tab.

As always, let us know if you run into any problems or have any suggestions for additional features.

DPTE Update Completed; New Features!

The DPTE update to version 2.8 (2.8.1) has been completed. If you do not see version 2.8.1 make sure your refresh your browser.

New and Updated User features of DPTE include:

Rectangular Data Set enhancements:

For multiple answer questions, the numeric number returned in the subject file is a count of how many items are selected. This is now done by the Player — the numeric answer for a Multiple Answer question is the count of answers selected, and so will be reflected in the Rec Data Set.

There have been some other incremental fixes to the rectangular datasets.

Visualization Function:

Add a visualization sheet that lists each questionnaire in the experiment (with the name of each questionnaire in its own column), and then all of the questions that are in that questionnaire in the rows below it.

Duplication Functions:

When duplicating stimuli items within an experiment, the alternatives and attributes that are assigned to that stimulus item are now carried over to the duplicate.

Language Support:

Czech language support has been added.

Player Enhancements:

Every call that DPTE can make is now tracked and reissued if it fails or does not come back with a result. The intention is to be able to recover from any state short of a prolonged outage (>30 seconds). This will probably take some further tweaking and different Experiments might yield different obstacles. This has been tested with a relatively simple experiment using a utility to “shut off” the internet for short instances, seeing if the software recovers. The major loading at the Stage and Substage breaks is tracked; apart from that, DPTE only has to load data for Questionnaires, Images, Follow-on Items, and social data (Button Click counts, and Comments). All of these are kept track of and re-issued if necessary; for example, every time the Flow Panels move, each one checks to see if it needs to reload the Button Count / Comment count data at the bottom.

The goal of these enhancements is to cut back on the number of failures of the player due to “internet lag” type problems.


As always, please test your experiments now that the revision is up, and let us know if you find any problems.


DPTE Will be Down Briefly Thursday May 2 for Upgrades

The DPTE system will be unavailable Thursday, May 2, from 10am to 10:30am CDT (11am-11:30am EDT, 15:00-15:30 UTC) for a server update. Since this is a fairly substantial update, afterwards you should test your experiments in the DPTE Player before running any larger groups of subjects, and report any inconsistencies or errors you encounter.

You will be UNABLE to run any experiments or access the experimenter interface during this time. Data for any subjects running at the time the system is taken down will be lost, so please avoid starting new subjects who will not finish before Thursday, May 2, at 10:00am CDT .

This update includes a number of new and improved features. We intend to get the user guide updated as soon as possible to include these features, including enhancements to social experiments and additional capability in the downloadable datasets.

Another Update with New Features

Our software development team at Iowa continues to work on updates and refinements to DPTE. Today we have release V2.6, which adds the following functions:

You can now create multiple-selection response options in questions by defining the question as “list box”.  For Multiple Choice this shows up as a single-select combo box menu. For a Multiple Answer a multiple-select box is available. Note that there is no default option however. If the question has not been answered it shows a s “———-” (dashes) in the box until the subject makes selections.

Questionnaires now support videos embedded in the question. The video URL is shared with the Image url right now (we assumed both wouldn’t be needed simultaneously) so you have to specify which the url applies to. This will allow you to show a video as part of a question.

Three new system variables are now available, for time spent in the experiment, stage, and substage. They are:


These are “set” when a recorded event occurs, so the times may be approximate. But normally before one checks a Condition, etc., a recorded event has just occurred (an Item being closed, or a substage beginning) so you should be able to get a good indicator of how long the subject spend in the experiment, state, and substage.

We hope these new features will be useful to many of you.