Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Creative Solutions

A little while ago I got a request to build a simple survey. It was one page with about 10 questions. Before I started, I realized it was just as easy to write a generic survey processor then to fully code the survey. Each new survey gives me time to work on the generic processor instead of manually building surveys. Different requirements gives me a new set of features.

My generic processor takes input from any web form and wraps it up with XML. All I do is add the form elements and let the processor do the rest. This method works really well for most studies.

I am currently working on building 5 questionnaires. Two of then have over 100 questions and all the questions are free form fields. The reporting requirements are completely different from just handing over an excel spreadsheet. Yet again I found myself writing a generic report processor and with that ground work out of the way, I can also generate the survey.

If I put all the survey questions in a XML file, I can generate the surveys and generate results inline with the original questions. This sounds overly complicated, but it is very simple to implement with XML, XSL, CSS, and a little server side script.

1 comment:

programmabilities said...

Hello from SCC:
Do you have a latest-greatest website or online-service that I can look at, now?

Contact: http://programmabilities.com/contact.php