Web based surveys

  Beatle2078 10:18 19 Aug 2004

I am looking to set up a survey on our website, but am completely confused and uneducated as to which packeage to use. Can someone please help an ignoramus. PS I don't want to spend an enormous ammount, but need something that looks good and works

  Taran 15:00 19 Aug 2004

does your web host support either CGI or PHP ?

If they do, you can use any one of a great many freely available scripts.

If they don't, processing the poll/survey submissions will be more difficult.

If you want a poll, just like the PC Advisor poll, perhaps you could confirm this. Likewise, if you would prefer a more comprehensive survey in the form of a questionnaire, it would help to know.

Poll scripts are not the same as a more complex form used for question and answer surveys.

Try these to begin with:

click here

click here

Both of the above require PHP with a MySQL database.

click here this one requires PHP to run, but the poll does not need a MySQL database.

click here has a small application called Survey Generator, again in PHP.

Chipmunk Poll is click here

Aplomb Poll is click here and is pretty impressive - PHP but no database required.

Simple Poll is click here

For a wide selection of CGI and PHP scripts you can try Hotscripts for a ton of alternatives:

CGI: click here

PHP: click here

The direct links I've given above are all for Open Source solutions, so you won't have to get your wallet out.

If your web server does not support CGI and/or PHP, there are third party poll/survey scripts that are hosted separately from your site but included on your pages, but I don't suggest any of them since all of them that I have seen are advertisement driven.

Finally, if your web host supports FrontPage Server Extensions and you have FrontPage, you could always just design a form that does what you want using FrontPage then when you publish it the Server Extensions will allow the form to be processed and the results saved on the web server in a simple textfile database or you have the option of adding an email address for the results to be sent to.

Good luck with it.

  Beatle2078 17:08 19 Aug 2004

Thanks for this it looks like I will be able to do it through Frontpage as my web host provides Server Extensions and my web page was designed using Frontpage.

Is it easy to set it up? I have a queationnaire ready to go in word, so is it simply a question of putting that into Frontpage?

How do I get the serve extensions bit to kick in so that I get the database?

  Taran 21:16 19 Aug 2004

If FrontPage Server Extensions are a feature of your hosted account then you can play with feedback forms in FrontPage.

Create a form in FrontPage. Insert the textboxes, drop down selection listboxes, radio buttons and check boxes and assign their names and values.

By default all FrontPage forms are saved in a file called:


This is a simple text data file which can easily be imported into Excel or Access. Although it is possible to use a .csv file on a web server as a database where you can query it, it isn't very practical by comparison to a 'proper' Access, MySQL or MS SQL web database, so I hope you didn't get the impression you would be working with a fully fledged Access database.

Anyway, if you right click on the form in FrontPage and select Form Properties, you will see that the default location to save form results is _private/form_results.csv and you can also specify an email address to send the results to.

As long as the FrontPage Server Extensions are installed on the web server then every time someone submits the completed form or forms, the results will be saved into the _private/form_results.csv file and emailed to you as well if you choose that option.

Put some careful thought into your form though. Many people dislike forms and a long string of options is not going to win you any fans. It does work though, if you set it out properly and those FrontPage Server Extensions offer an instant form handler without the need for you to roll up your sleeves with Perl prohgramming in a CGI script or with PHP.


  Beatle2078 23:05 19 Aug 2004

Thanks Taran. I shall have a go at this tomorrow. As you may have gathered I like to keep things simple and sadly I do not even have access to Access - Excel is as far as I can go.

Thanks for your advice so far - I have a feeling that there may be more coming once I start to play with the page

  Taran 23:26 19 Aug 2004

FrontPage uses its own form handler (WEB BOT) to process the form results from web page to destination (file and/or email address).

Most of the time you would have to get a form to email handler script and configure it manually to get the results of your form to where you want it. Most people use PHP or CGI scripts for this, the script sits on the web server and every time someone hits the Submit button it processes the form fields and sends the information to a database or email address.

FrontPage does all of this for you and is the only web editor I know of that ships with such an excellent, powerful and useful tool.

As long as the FrontPage Server Extensions are present and correct it should all go like clockwork.

Spend some time carefully thinking about your form and how best to put it all together. You may have to play with tables (disable the border) to aling your form fields properly, otherwise things can get a bit uneven.

Here are a few step-by-step pages detailing FrontPage forms:

click here

click here

click here

That last link has a Flash movie demonstrating how it all goes together and it is worth looking at.

Good luck with it.


  Taran 11:54 23 Aug 2004

Consider me suitably chastised...

  javaBalls 16:39 23 Aug 2004

I spent ages looking for a pre-built one. But then I just decided to make my own.

It is basically a form that submits the answers to one table in the database.

I use MYSQL and PHP.

take a look at my survey click here

  Taran 23:23 23 Aug 2004

FrontPage, since it was mentioned as an available tool, removes the necessity to program your own survey or questionnaire.

Using the FrontPage Server Extensions the program saves all form submissions by default to a csv file on the web server while there are additional settings that allow the results to be emailed to a particular person and for a backup copy of the csv to be written as well.

The csv file that FrontPage uses is a simple text database that may be easily pulled into Access or Excel for further processing. If you really want or need to, you can write your own queries and use the csv file as a database, if your web server will allow this, but the whole point to mentioning FrontPage in this instance is its perfect suitability for non-programmers to get a very effective form based survey or questionnaire up and running in no time without having to delve into the code.

This is just one of the great strengths of FrontPage and if more people knew what it could do its former bad press would be reversed in pretty short order.

I agree though, that PHP offers great flexibility to those who know how to use it.


  Beatle2078 22:46 24 Aug 2004

Thanks to every one for their help. Our website now has 3 questionnaires which I think look really cool. Just waiting for my service provider to put in the finishing touches. Now got to deal with the data that comes in, but that should be a doddle

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