App Handles Surveys for Less

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2003-06-02 Print this article Print

phpESP offers strong creation and analysis features but has quirky interface.

phpESP 1.6
The open-source phpESP update is a good way for businesses to get high-quality feedback from customers, employees and other parties. Although its not as easy to use as some commercial survey software, it also doesnt carry these packages high prices. The product can be downloaded at
  • PRO: Allows for advanced surveys with complex question types; very good results reporting options.

  • CON: Quirky interface for survey creation; no e-mail-only survey option.

    Catapult Systems Inquisite Perseus Developments SurveySolutions XP WebSurveyor Corp.s WebSurveyor
    Surveys can be a useful tool for almost any company. After all, who doesnt want to know what their customers, employees and other important groups think? Survey applications and services are often so expensive, however, that they cost more than the combined mail and Web infrastructure required to manage them—small wonder that many companies have chosen not to implement a survey system.

    Now, facing a growing need for the kind of information that surveys can provide but lacking the budget to implement a high-price system, many companies are starting to ask the same question: Is there an open-source solution for this business problem?

    When it comes to survey software, the answer is yes. PhpESP 1.6 is an effective, capable, Web-based survey application that enables businesses to create complex and advanced surveys, view results in real time, and carry out advanced analysis. In fact, eWEEK Labs found phpESP 1.6 to be so capable that weve started to use it to handle surveys of eWEEK readers.

    Like many open-source applications, phpESP is a SourceForge project and can be found at phpesp. (See related story for a look at other PHP enterprise options.) The original author of the application is James Flemer.

    As the name implies, phpESP (which stands for php Easy Survey Package) is based on the PHP scripting language. Installation didnt require much more than unpacking its folders to our Web server, creating a MySQL database and making a few small configuration file changes. We were able to get it running on Linux and Windows systems with no problems.

    Once phpESP is up and running, all management is done through a browser-based management interface. The product provides enough simple group and access management features that we could control the capabilities of different types of users.

    Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

    Submit a Comment

    Loading Comments...
    Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

    Rocket Fuel