Blogs

10,000+ Downloads

YIIIII and also HAAAAA !!! Logframer smashed the 10,000 downloads barrier. In the donor countries, Logframer is most popular in the US, France, Belgium, Canada and the UK. But what I'm most pleased with is that Logframer is equally popular in the recipient countries, notably in India, Kenya, Pakistan, the Philippines and Uganda. Obviously, Logframer is a bit less popular in Spanish/Portuguese speaking countries because as yet the programme is not yet available in those languages. But that doesn't mean no-one uses it; Logframer does have quite a number of users in Brazil and Spain for instance.

The feedback I get is overwhelmingly positive. Occasionally people report bugs, which helps me improve the software. Sometimes I get questions on how to do specific things in Logframer and occasionally we find that this or that is not yet possible. So I keep this in mind when developing the next version.

The development of Logframer 2.0 is well underway. As the version number suggests, this will be a major revision of the current 1.x series with a number of new features. But more on that later.

So thank you for using Logframer and do check this website from time to time to learn about the newest version.

Importing from Excel in Windows 8.1

A couple of days ago, a user informed me about a problem he had when trying to import a logical framework from an Excel workbook. Strangely, importing from Excel works fine in Windows 7 and Windows 8 but not in Windows 8.1

For its Excel importing and exporting functionality, Logframer relies on the Microsoft ACE or Microsoft JET providers (the latter is used when you still have Windows XP on your computer) which allow Logframer to connect to microsoft databases (mainly MS Access but a MS Excel worksheet can also be approached as a database).

Previously these were included during the installation of Microsoft Office. However now it seems that this is not always the case, which means that you will have to manually install the MS Access Database Engine (2010). When I did some tests I found that the problems occurs when you have Windows 8.1 with 64-bit version of Office 2013/365 installed. Even when the MS Access Database Engine is installed, it is the 64-bit version which cannot be used by Logframer because it is a 32-bit application. As a side-note, working with 'older' technologies is a consious decision on my part, because a lot of people and organisations in developing countries use older computers and operating systems.

So enough with the technical mumbo-jumbo. What is the solution then:

  • First up, download the most recent version of Logframer from the site (http://www.logframer.eu/content/download). This is a new build of version 1.3 that eliminates a small bug in the importing process.
  • Secondly, download and install the Microsoft Access Database Engine 2010 redistributable using the link below. However make sure that you install the 32-bit version:
    • Click on the link below and on the respective page select the language of your choice and click 'Download'
    • You will get another page where you have to choose between the 32-bit version and the 64-bit version. Make sure you select the 32-bit version.
  • If you have the 64-bit version installed on your computer (check Configuration > Software) you have to uninstall the 64-bit version first.

You can download the MS Access Database Engine using this link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=13255

 

Logframer 1.3 out now!

The latest release of Logframer is out now, so quickly run to the download page!

Version 1.3 has improved importing and exporting abilities. Now you can import logframes not only from Excel workbooks, but also from Word documents. As in Excel, you can select the table that contains the logical framework and import it, using a wizard.

To export your reports to Word, I've made a uniform wizard. In the previous versions, you could choose if you wanted to export your logical framework to a new Word document, or to an existing one. In an existing document you had the option to insert the logical framework at the beginning of the document, at the end or after a specific bookmark. But for all the other reports you didn't have these options, you could only create a new Word document with the report in question. So in this version, this wizard works for all reports.

Speaking of reports, you can now export four additional reports: the table of resources, the project's planning, the list of partners and the target group identification forms.

Additionally, I created an autosave function. To set the autosave timer, go to the preferences and choose after how many minutes Logframer has to autosave your document. Also, when you close the application and your document hasn't been saved, Logframer will ask you to save (this feature didn't work in the previous versions).

As always, I've smashed some bugs too. In previous versions, Logframer would generate an error if you tried to set the starting date of an activity before you'd set the starting date of your project. And the search function introduced in version 1.1 had some instabilities as well, so I've sorted that out too.

 

Proceed to the download page

Website hacked due to Drupal vulnerability

Full alert and everyone to battle stations! I came across an article about a Drupal vulnerability that exposed any website made in version 7 of the popular content management system. In total, it was suspected that no less than 12 million sites had been exposed to hacking, with the hackers using automated tools to get control of each individual site. After reading the article, I quickly opened this website. At first everything looked fine, until I logged in with my content management account. Then it became blatantly obvious that the site had been hacked. Another clear sign was that I couldn't even log in any more as the site's admin.

Well, to make a long and arduous story short, I had to take drastic measures to get those weasels out of my property. Because of the distinct possiblity that the hackers had installed backdoors that would allow them to regain control, I had to disinfect the server with medical alcohol, weed killer and DDT. Luckily I had a recent back-up, which allowed me to revert the site to a version from before this vulnerability was created in Drupal.

So what was the damage? All in all, not much really, apart from some anxious hours spent cleaning and reinstalling the back-up. Hackers are mostly interested in passwords and people's personal data, but apart from my personal accounts there was nothing to find here (I don't keep mailing lists for intance). They weren't able to hack my admin account, just delete it and create their own accounts (which I deleted with diabolical laughter after I'd discovered them). I don't use may accounts for other sites and just for safety I changed my passwords after this business. So it seems that my prudence has paid off. But on the other hand it was also an eye-opener: however prudent you may be, if there is a vulnerability in the software you're using, you are completely helpless. That is an important lesson for a software developper.

Bug: setting the start date of an activity

A user kindly pointed me to a bug in the Activities Detail window:

The Activities Detail window

When you try to set the date of the activity using a relative date rather than an exact date (first option), Logframer will generate an error if you don't set the start date and duration of your project first. The problem mainly occurs when you try to set the start date of the activity before the start or end of the project. This is because the start date of the project is the 'zero date' if you don't set it, and then you try to go back before the zero date and this leads to an unexpected shut-down, exploding computers, earthquakes, tidal waves and social upheaval.

The solution is to set the start date and duration of your project first, by clicking on any cell of the goals section (top section) of the logical framework. Then in the details window at the bottom, you get the following window:

The project details window

Here you can set the title of your project, as well as the duration and its start and end dates. If you're not sure of when your project will effectively start, just set it to the date of today or the first of January of the next year or something.

As usual, this bug will be dealt with in the next version (1.3) of Logframer.

Installing Logframer 1.2 on a Windows XP computer

I received some questions from people asking whether it is possible to install Logframer 1.2 on a Windows computer. As I designed Logframer with people in developing countries in mind, and because research shows that more than 30% of computers in most developing countries still use Windows XP, version 1.2 is still fully compatible with Windows XP.

However, you must make sure that the latest updates are in place:

  1. Make sure that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) is installed. Without this Service Pack, Logframer won't run. You can use Windows Update or download the service pack using this link that takes you to the site of Microsoft.
  2. You need to have Microsoft .NET framework 4.0 (or higher) installed on your computer. If you haven't, the installation program will try to download it from the site of Microsoft and install it on your computer. Alternatively, you can download it from the site of Microsoft using this link

Both these updates are free of charge.

If you have tried to download and install Logframer during the last couple of days, you may have encountered this warning during the installation:

The requirement to install Visual Basic powerpacks has now been removed. So if you had this problem, please try to download and install Logframer 1.2 again. This time you won't see this warning.

 

Logframer 1.2 out now!

Here it is, the latest version of Logframer. I imagine one day people will cue for the latest Logframer version like they do for the newest Apple product now. Then again, I do have a large imagination.

The most obvious change in this version is the new print and print preview window, as well as the updated reports. I've also added a new report: the resources table. It gives an overview of the necessary resources and their cost for each activity, which is not the same as the project's budget because some resources may be shared between activities.

The function to import logical frameworks made in MS Excel also received an update, ironing out some bugs in the previous versions of Logframer. And finally there is another smaller addition in the form of a search option for contacts and organisations (as well as their addresses and so on).

Under the hood major changes were made to improve Logframer's performance. You can now tweak the speed of the interface yourself, by making a choice between faster rendering or more accurate rendering. And finally a series of smaller quirks and bugs were ironed out.

So quickly head for the download page and install Logframer 1.2 now!

 

Meanwhile, if anybody needs me I'll be working on version 1.3

Version 1.2 is well underway

It's been a while since the last update, but that doesn't mean nothing happened. On the contrary, Logframer version 1.2 took quite some work.

Major changes were made 'under the hood', in an effort to improve Logframer's overall performance. You may have noticed that the interface slows down when you make large logical frameworks. The reason for this is the possibility to use rich text (individual words and letters in different fonts, sizes and colours; put text in bold, italics etc.) So the rendering engine got a major overhaul. In version 1.2, you will be able to choose whether you want faster rendering (at lower quality) or higher quality rendering (at lower speed). The faster rendering option is especially interesting if you have an older and slower computer.

The other important item on the maintenance list was printing. Logframer allows you to create a whole series of reports based on the information that you registered. However, the sheer number of reports, options and dialogs was a bit confusing. So in version 1.2 you will have one common print dialog and one common print preview dialog:

Reports print preview dialog

TadAAAA!

Instead of getting a series of small dialog windows, you can find all the print options on the left. Another new feature is that you can add a header and a footer to the report. You can make one for each individual report, or use the same header/footer for all your reports. And you can also add page numbers and the total number of pages. Both header and footer have full text options (font, size, bold/italics/underline...)

At the same time, every individual report got a major overhaul to remove any bugs (and add new ones - just kidding) and also to improve their rendering speed. Finally, a new report was added: the list of resources. Although Logframer doesn't (yet) allow you to create a seperate project budget, you can specify for each activity which resources you will need and indicate how much those resources will cost. In the previous versions, there was no way of printing the detailed calculations that you can make. So this new report gives you a detailed overview of the costs linked to every activity.

A final addition is that you can search your contacts and partner organisations. The current search function allows you to search the logical framework and all related details (target groups, risks, etc.) but not the contacts. In version 1.2 you will be able to search all information.

So there you have it, a quick update. I hope to be able to release version 1.2 in a couple of weeks time. So stay tuned!

Bug: Importing a logframe made in MS Excel

I recently received a mail from someone at IFRC who was testing out Logframer and who came across a problem while trying to import a logical framework made in MS Excel. It occured when he selected the file to import (step 1), after which he got an overview of the information on the first worksheet within the Excel workbook (step 2). At that point, he pressed < OK > and got an error.

The first two steps of the importing process

Actually, there are 4 steps in the importing process. The problem is that Step 3 only appears if you use the drop-down list to select a (different) spreadsheet. So the solution is to follow this procedure:

  • First, go to File > Import > Logframe from Excel file
  • Step 1: Select the Excel file that you want to import by clicking on the button with the folder icon.
  • Step 2: Now you will get a preview of the first worksheet in your Excel file. Now you have to do the following:
    • Click on the downward arrow of the worksheet selection box (above the preview).
    • In the drop-down list, click on the name of the worksheet (for instance 'Sheet 1')
    • Now Step 3 will appear.
  • Step 3: Select the columns that contain your  objectives, indicators, verification sources and assumptions. (If you leave one of these column names empty, Logframer will give an error message and stop importing). Once you've selected them all, Step 4 will appear
  • Step 4: indicate that first and the last row number of each of the following sections: Goals, Purposes, Outputs and Activities.
  • Then press the < Ok > button

Importing a logframe from Excel: all four steps

When you import a logframe from Excel, Logframer will put all the outputs (results) under the first purpose (specific objective) and all the activities under the first output (result). This is because it's difficult to capture how you ordered your activities, outputs, purposes and goals in your Excel file. So after importing, you will need to move things around a bit. This is very easy: drag with your left mouse button to select the items you want to move, then drag them with your right mouse button to the location you want them to be.

For more information on this procedure, visit this Logframer help page.

Happy Customer

I do a bit of advertising on Logframer in LinkedIn, with a number of focus groups specialized in project management, development assistance, humanitarian aid, quality management, etc. Recently I received the following response on one of these messages:

Thank you for this wonderful tool , perfectly suited for collaborative work. This word proved to be the key for Epiceries (www.epiceries.org) with this version of Logframer. I 'm on a Mac, and there is no Mac version , so it is the field teams in Congo and Niger, which use PCs, who tried it first.  We discuss things on Bistri; I bring my insights on the approach, they give feedback, send me the pdf, we revise the whole thing... It works very well. I won't have a PC available as a backup before the teams will have mastered the approach. I hated the logical framework approach and project cycles because you had to design them in software that wasn't suited for the job . We worked on large paper sheets versions, which were impossible to send to other people. My goal is not to satisfy donors but provide good tools for teams that help to look at information under different angles. Phew phew phew! So thank you very much for having presented us with this tool.

Véronique Isenmann

Responsible for training at NGO Epiceries

What I particularly like about this testimony is how these teams collaborate and share using the different features of Logframer and other software. I hope to improve the possibilities for exchange and group work in future versions of Logframer.

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