Reviewer's Guide for Raosoft EZSurvey for the Internet

Here are some press guidelines to consider when looking at EZSurvey for the Internet, in addition to the feature list of the press release. The guide is to provide a sense of why EZSurvey is designed as it is, a sense of our long term vision for it.

Raosoft EZSurvey is distinct in its support of online web and email data gathering, with many strong user features and functionality. Its open architecture permits growth.

* EZSurvey is part of a database management system; it can and does stand alone, but customers can also use other products for additional data gathering methods and/or additional statistics and reports. SurveyWin supports LAN, disk and notebook surveys and data collection. Raosoft SurveyWin and Raosoft EZReport provide more advanced analysis and reports if wanted by the customer. Survey-Tools provides for database cleanup and manipulation of large data sets, such as are often gathered on the internet.

* More than the usual R&D effort has gone into EZSurvey because it is designed to support all types of surveys plus be a generic data gatherer, for example, to be used for decision support as well as traditional surveys. It is written in C++, not built on another program. Raosoft has done all the programming so that the architecture is strong and we can take advantage of evolving technology on the Internet to provide new functionality.

EZSurvey is designed for maximum compatibility with other software. We have gone to lengths to support internet standards such as

* PDF for graphics and printouts,
* HTML for forms and results,
* JavaScript for smart internet forms,
* XML (eXtensible Markup Language) for form definitions,
* CGI (Common Gateway Interface) web scripts with source code provided in both PERL and C, and ISAPI (Information Server API) based web scripts.

Programs that do not support CGI scripting depend on the participant sending their responses as email, but many web browsers do not support email sending because of security systems in place. EZSurvey will also recognize email, but CGI scripting is more reliable.

EZSurvey can use web forms generated by other programs, so you are not tied into one particular system. It comes with several built-in scripting languages you can use for customizing some repetitive tasks. EZSurvey also has plug-ins for other popular software programs.

Since the first release in 1997, we have extended email support to more platforms--Lotus Notes, Eudora and internet mail by POP3 and SMTP.

EZSurvey forms fit on Web sites, and EZSurvey generates CGI scripts for standard commercial web servers, including Netscape servers, Unix servers (NCSA, CERN, Apache), Apache and MS Internet Info Server on Windows 95/NT, and personal web servers such as WebSite and the MS Personal Web Server (Front Page).

* Web forms can appear as a page at a time at the option of the designer, rather than as a continuous scroll.

* EZSurvey is efficient with only 6 MB space required for the desktop. Space on the web server depends on the size of the survey or form and its database and can vary from 1-10 MB.

* The standard DBF format used for database storage means that the data can be used by any standard database or spreadsheet. Also, the data can be exported in ASCII. The Professional version allows direct connectivity to ODBC databases including Oracle, SQL Server, Access, DB2, and Sybase.

* The design layout of the form makes EZSurvey probably the easiest database designer available over the lifetime of the questionnaire. It is developed to be a flexible collector that allows easy initial design and also provides for fast and reliable editing and modifying of the survey or form later. During design, the program's concern is not where the question is placed on the page by the designer, but rather what it means. EZSurvey does the formatting for you, so that you can use different collection methods from one design (Web, email, Raosoft SurveyWin's electronic entry UFIll). A word processor emphasizes word placement; EZSurvey is a database, so it can provide for question or variable types and their later results.

* Forms are text format so translating/importing existing forms is fast and easy.

* The EZSurvey forms can translate into SurveyWin's form design for use with SurveyWin's runtime module UFill (giving data entry access by additional distribution methods such as diskettes, notebook entry, network pop-up, touchscreen and call-out scripts).

* The quick form designer also can create paper output of the survey or form as well as web or email, for projects involving multiple data entry methods. An EZSurvey form can convert to PDF format and print out.

* We have been interested in results distribution with EZSurvey. The analysis can convert to PDF for a display of results on a Web page. The new version of EZSurvey provides for interactive reports so that results can be viewed in real time.

* The one-time cost of $399 is highly affordable in terms of the values of typical web collection applications. The Return on Investment is very high.