Surveys On Rails
Surveyor is a ruby gem and developer tool that brings surveys into Rails applications. Surveys are written in the Surveyor DSL (Domain Specific Language). Before Rails 2.3, it was implemented as a Rails Engine. It also existed previously as a plugin. Today it is a gem only.
Why you might want to use Surveyor
If your Rails app needs to asks users questions as part of a survey, quiz, or questionnaire then you should consider using Surveyor. This gem was designed to deliver clinical research surveys to large populations, but it can be used for any type of survey.
The Surveyor DSL defines questions, answers, question groups, survey sections, dependencies (e.g. if response to question 4 is A, then show question 5), and validations. Answers are the options available for each question - user input is called "responses" and are grouped into "response sets". A DSL makes it significantly easier to import long surveys (no more click/copy/paste). It also enables non-programmers to write out, edit, re-edit... any number of surveys.
The Surveyor DSL supports a wide range of question types (too many to list here) and complex dependency logic. Here are the first few questions of the "kitchen sink" survey which should give you and idea of how it works. The full example with all the types of questions available if you follow the installation instructions below.
survey "Kitchen Sink survey" do section "Basic questions" do # A label is a question that accepts no answers label "These questions are examples of the basic supported input types" # A basic question with radio buttons question_1 "What is your favorite color?", :pick => :one answer "red" answer "blue" answer "green" answer "yellow" answer :other # A basic question with checkboxes # "question" and "answer" may be abbreviated as "q" and "a" q_2 "Choose the colors you don't like", :pick => :any a_1 "red" a_2 "blue" a_3 "green" a_4 "yellow" a :omit # A dependent question, with conditions and rule to logically join them # the question's reference identifier is "2a", and the answer's reference_identifier is "1" # question reference identifiers used in conditions need to be unique on a survey for the lookups to work q_2a "Please explain why you don't like this color?" a_1 "explanation", :text dependency :rule => "A or B or C or D" condition_A :q_2, "==", :a_1 condition_B :q_2, "==", :a_2 condition_C :q_2, "==", :a_3 condition_D :q_2, "==", :a_4 # ... other question, sections and such. See surveys/kitchen_sink_survey.rb for more. end end
The first question is "pick one" (radio buttons) with "other". The second question is "pick any" (checkboxes) with the option to "omit". It also features a dependency with a follow up question. Notice the dependency rule is defined as a string. We support complex dependency such as "A and (B or C) and D" or "A or ((B and C) or D)". The conditions are evaluated separately using the operators "==","!=","<>", ">=","<" the substituted by letter into to the dependency rule and evaluated.
Add surveyor to your Gemfile:
Generate assets, run migrations:
script/rails generate surveyor:install rake db:migrate
Try out the "kitchen sink" survey. The rake task above generates surveys from our custom survey DSL (a good format for end users and stakeholders).
rake surveyor FILE=surveys/kitchen_sink_survey.rb
Start up your app and visit http://localhost:3000/surveys
Try taking the survey and compare it to the contents of the DSL file kitchen_sink_survey.rb. See how the DSL maps to what you see.
There are two other useful rake tasks:
surveyor:removeremoves all unused surveys.
rake surveyor:unparseexports a survey from the application into a file in the surveyor DSL.
Surveyor's controller, models, and views may be customized via classes in your app/models, app/helpers and app/controllers directories. To generate a sample custom controller and layout, run:
script/rails generate surveyor:custom
and read surveys/EXTENDING_SURVEYOR
Surveyor depends on:
- Ruby (1.8.7 - 1.9.2)
- Rails 3.x
- fastercsv (or CSV for ruby 1.9) for csv exports
Specific versions of the gem dependencies are listed in the gemspec.
To work on the code, fork this github project. Install bundler if you don't have it, then run
$ bundle update
to install all the necessary gems. Then
$ bundle exec rake testbed
to generate a test app in
testbed. Now you can run
$ bundle exec rake spec
to run the specs and
$ bundle exec rake cucumber
to run the features and start writing tests!
Copyright (c) 2008-2011 Brian Chamberlain and Mark Yoon, released under the MIT license