v18 and the future of the QRTEngine

Dear QRTE users,

Introducing v18

As a result of the Qualtrics JFE (Jiffy) update in September, the QRTEngine has ceased to work properly, not just v16, but also, as we discovered recently, v15. For example we found that at the start of the trial a flash occurs where all objects can sometimes be shown briefly, Qualtrics server delays are accompanied by a Qualtrics swirl and stimuli are no longer vertically centered. Several attempts at fixing this have proven unsuccessful, because of unknown processes happening during the switch from one trial to the next.

Recently, one of you notified us of a way to turn off this new JFE Engine so that we can still work with version 16 (basically by adding ?Q_JFE=0 to the URL). We therefore launch a new version of the QRTEngine (v18) which is based on version 16, but it also automatically re-directs to a JFE disabled version of the survey by adding Q_JFE=0 as a GET parameter to the URL. We also made a few bug fixes (embedded data was not being stored in non-qrte questions, and we corrected pre-caching of images which seemed to work only intermittently before).

Version 18 is now available here:

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ErwinHaasnoot/QRTEngine/v18/lib/QRTEngine.js

The future of the QRTEngine

The problem with disabling the jiffy engine is that we’re back to our current situation, as soon as Qualtrics decides to cut support for their old survey engine (and the method with which we disable the jiffy engine). We will ask Qualtrics how long they are going to support the JFE disable option, but let’s hope it will be there for at least a couple of months.

We’ve come to the conclusion that fixing v15 (which would become v19) for this new JFE engine will be very difficult, also due to a major lack of time on Erwin’s part. In addition, Qualtrics needs to provide currently unimplemented javascript APIs to take care of the between-trial stuff that’s happening, and the timeline when these APIs will be released is currently unknown. In the past, support people from Qualtrics actually promised us that the introduction of the jiffy engine would solve issues of between-trial delays. However, the sad reality is that their update actually seems not have improved the timing between loops (trials) in a Loop & Merge block at all, and that it only improved the timing within a loop (which was handled by the QRTEngine already in the first place).

As such, there is no telling when v19 would be released, and whether this will be done at all (if you are interested in joining our team as a developer, please let us know). However v18 will work for the time being, and we recommend to stay tuned for news about v19. We are not planning any changes to the QRTEngine API, so surveys built for v18 should continue to work in v19 (barring changes to survey structure induced by Qualtrics).

Best regards,

The QRTEngine team

One thought on “v18 and the future of the QRTEngine

  1. Dear QRTE team, thanks for the update!

    I wanted to add a note that recently, v18 with the URL hack stopped working for me (surveys would just load blank once the URL was appended). However, regular v16 has now started working for me again. I’m not sure if it’s the fault of my own, or if Qualtrics has yet again changed things, but if you are having trouble with v18, I would suggest trying regular v16 again.

    -Stephen

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