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XNAT 1.8.8 Release Notes

XNAT 1.8.8 is primarily a new feature release, focused on the introduction of Custom Forms as a dramatic improvement over Custom Variables as a means of adding new searchable attributes to existing XNAT data types. Custom Forms can be added to experiments of all types, including imaging and non-imaging data, as well as projects and subjects. The Custom Forms feature required significant work across XNAT and its data models, and is the culmination of nearly two years of development work. 

Using Custom Forms

Researchers gathering data in their XNAT often find that they have additional metadata attributes that are not natively supported by the XNAT data model. For example, a clinical trial may want to capture enrollment data such as "Enrollment Date", "Acceptance of Terms", and "Study Status" and append those data directly to a subject record.

XNAT has supported the ability for project owners to append attributes like these to XNAT datatypes, using Custom Variables. However, there have been several known drawbacks, including: a cumbersome approach to defining custom variable sets, overlapping editing permissions for shared variable sets, very basic end user experience, and a complete lack of API support, which makes standardization difficult. 

Custom Forms offers a modernized approach, importing and extending the library to be fully integrated with XNAT, its data model, and the XNAT search engine. Form administrators are presented with an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that allows them to place standard form elements or build complex layouts with custom validations and behaviors. 

See: Using Custom Forms

Administering Custom Forms

Custom Forms offers significant improvements in manageability over legacy Custom Variable sets, including a new set of APIs that allows for scripted interactions with forms and form data. However, the power inherent within Custom Forms means that escalated user permissions are required to create and manage custom forms. These permissions are held by Site Administrators and by a new user role introduced in the XNAT 1.8.8 release: The Form Manager. Selected users can be granted Form Manager permissions by any site administrator. 

Form Managers and Site Admins have the ability to create, edit, enable, disable, manage project subscriptions, and delete custom forms. 

See: Custom Forms Administration

See: Custom Form API

Other Improvements in XNAT 1.8.8

A small number of other bugs and improvements have been addressed in this release, primarily focused on DICOM importing.  

Updated DicomEdit to Version 6.5

Update to the Pipeline Engine

  • XNAT-7286, which was addressed in XNAT 1.8.7, created downstream issues for the protocol validation pipeline used by the legacy XNAT Pipeline Engine. We have released an update to the Pipeline Engine which addresses that issue. 

Data Importing Improvements

  • XNAT-7074 meta_element insertion can cause archiving errors in XNAT when archiving many studies at once
  • XNAT-7535 Concurrent file sends of different instances with the same name causes an import error

  • XNAT-7699 High-volume archiving can cause duplicate key exceptions in DataCacheStudyRoutingService

  • XNAT-7700 High-volume archiving can cause duplicate key exceptions inserting to xdat_change_info
  • XNAT-7727 Data imported twice via the DICOM Query Retrieve plugin is not routed correctly if deleted from the prearchive

Other Bugfixes and Improvements

  • XNAT-7370 Can't administer users with special characters in their username
  • XNAT-7690 Initializing tasks don't check dependencies and cause errors on first start-up
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