We have been receiving some enquiries about when iolite 4 will be released and what it will look like. Some people are concerned about buying iolite 3 only for iolite 4 to be released the next week and have to buy it as well. Hopefully this post will clear some of that up for you.
Firstly, what is iolite 4?
iolite 4 is a complete re-write of iolite from the ground up. We’re writing most of it in C++ so it will be super fast, and will run natively on Mac and Windows (and Linux if we get around to it). It will be a standalone application, and will have a separate licensing system and licence agreement. It will come with python running within it, so that you can write your own DRS in python; automate parts of the data reduction process with python scripts; and even create plots and dashboards using python.
When will iolite 4 be released?
iolite 4 will be released in stages. The first release of iolite will be quite basic in terms of DRS options, and will be focussed towards commercial labs processing large trace element datasets. Imaging and most of the advanced features of iolite 3 (e.g. split stream syncing, U-Pb, Sr isotopes etc) will not be available in the first release of iolite 4. We anticipate that it will take around 2 years before iolite 4 has all the current features of iolite 3. So we intend to keep selling and supporting iolite 3 for researchers until iolite 4 reaches the current level of iolite 3; what we would call a “Research Version” (because it includes advanced features used mostly by researchers).
What will iolite 4 look like?
That’s hard to say yet. We’ve been working hard on getting the underlying data structures right and the current interface may end up quite different as we receive feedback from our beta testers. Some of it may look familiar to iolite 3 users, but a lot of it is completely redesigned. Given that we have optimised it from the ground up especially for time resolved mass spectrometry data, we have been able to provide the user with a variety of ways of interacting with their data. Writing everything in C++/python gives us a lot more flexibility in the user interface, and it will have a much more modern feel to it. We’ll release some screen shots and more info as the project progresses.