A Quick Look at Mensor

Dick Bowman

Mensor is a survey analysis package written in APL+ Win by Quadrature, who not only supply the package but also provide extensive consultancy services in the survey analysis field.

This is a quick look at the product, based on a download from Quadrature's web site (the download is timed for six week's use).

Installation is relatively painless, but (as with so much software) it overwrites various system files without offering either prior warning, a request or after-the-event summarisation of what it has done.  I am becoming increasingly irritated by this; given the 'fragile' nature of Microsoft's architecture I feel that one day this will lead to major difficulties.  The installation process does at least offer (and respect) your choice of destination folder, and was otherwise painless.

Mensor's opening form must be the busiest I've ever seen:

mensor.gif (26364 bytes)

A veritable mug's eyeful - to borrow that pejorative phrase.  Not only that - double-clicking and right-clicking makes some (but not all) of the subforms bounce up to a larger size;just moving the cursor over a subform sometimes resizes it. The subforms also change what they display for various options.  It's MDI, but not as we know it...

Somebody obviously put a lot of time and thought into how this user interface operates; it's broadly in the Officexx idiom, but tailored to what is a quite complex and specialised application.  Sample applications are included in the download and there is a quite nifty language option available through the main toolbar (although the translation is incomplete and I have so far only located a French language help file).

Hours of fun can be had checking through the many options available (multivariate analysis, neural nets, you name it - they've got it).  It's all geared up for data interchange with popular places like Microsoft Excel, and I think there's even a place (if only I could find it again) for the user to type APL expressions and have them evaluated.

Survey analysis isn't my field; if it was I would surely look at Mensor as a serious and heavyweight tool for my job.

But as a demonstration of what the industrious APL programmer can do using the APL+Win interpreter I think Mensor offers an example to us all (even if versatility does seem to have rather overtaken tasteful restraint).

Take a look; it's inspirational.

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Copyright Dick Bowman, 1999-2013; latest update 8 March 2013 (repaired links)