SMERF GUI Form Designer

I’m toying with the idea of developing a GUI form designer for SMERF. Initially the GUI would load and create the YAML form definition files so there would be no need for someone to manually code the YAML files.

I would like to get your feedback to see if this is really needed and if I did create it that people would actually use it. I would also like to get ideas on what people would like to see, so if you have any ideas please let me know.

My current thinking is that I would use Adobe Flex for the GUI with RESTFul Rails as the backend all packages as a Rails engine.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

15 Responses to “SMERF GUI Form Designer”

  1. 1 Greg Haygood

    Hey, I’ve only used SMERF a couple times, but the forms were long enough that coding them in YAML was really tedious. And I’m looking at another project that would be a good fit for SMERF, if Rails is supported by the client’s hosting provider. The form would need to be somewhat maintainable by the client, so an administrative GUI will be a must.

    So yeah, I think it’s a good idea. :)

  2. 2 Maciej Litwiniuk

    Well, I totally need such tool. I’m going to write one and the easiest way to do this, that came to my mind, is to load form schema from DB (so it could be maintained easily via ActiveRecord).
    If you have starded writing this tool, I will be probably able to help you.

  3. 3 Brett Higgins

    Same here; I was planning to write a GUI survey designer if I end up using SMERF in my current project. It’s a good idea. :-)

  4. 4 Philippe

    Hi Etienne,
    I’m planning to use smerf if there is a GUI. When do you think it will be done ?

  5. 5 Hans Czajkowski Jørgensen

    This would indeed be a godsend for the project I’m currently working on.

    The involved survey designers are far from being IT-savvy. They would be a lot less scared by a GUI. And more importantly: The work of designing the forms could be put in their hands, where it belongs, instead of having to be misunderstood and mistyped by YAML-savvy nerds like me and mine :)

  6. 6 David

    Like to say this is an excellent work. I do have a question though, how do I go by showing the result?

    For instance:

    1. I’d like to show the result of the age selected by all the users?
    2. I’d like to show just the result for a particular user?

    Apparently there is no documentation in this if anyone could explain how to go about this that would be great. Thanks!

  7. 7 etienne

    Hi David,

    I’m glad you found the plugin useful. The processing of the results is left up to you as it is application specific. If you like I can send you an example of an export I did some time ago.

  8. 8 Chris Kilmer

    I was just sitting here thinking, “man, I really need to write a GUI for this”. I’m a developer but the person who would be building the surveys has no coding expertise.

    Besides, I need to extend the functionality to include credits for a complete form. The easiest way seems to be via active record.

    I’d be more than willing to help design/code. Drop me a line if you are interested.

  9. 9 Eric

    I’m looking around for a good survey plugin to use to build our own system around. We are wanting to build surveys for beta testers that will be presented at certain points and at the end of their beta testing.SMERF looks promising.

    The GUI would be very useful though for our needs, a straight up CRUD would fit our tool-set better…but any GUI would be nice since non-techs are running the beta process and creating the surveys.

    What state is this potential project in currently?

  10. 10 etienne

    Hi Chris and Eric,

    Sorry for not getting your comments up earlier but I’ve been away on holidays for the past month.

    I’ve not had a lot of spare time lately and have not had the time that I was hoping to devote to this project so it has not progressed very far, sorry.

  11. 11 Mike

    I would love a GUI for SMERF otherwise im planning on using it and creating my own.

  12. 12 Francisco R. Santos

    I’ve found SMERF looking around for a questionnaires plugin for rails, and I think this is the perfect plugin I was looking for.

    However, I miss two key features: I18N and a GUI. Are you still planning the GUI? Do you think is it very complicate to add I18N so that all texts can be stored in BBDD as well as the questions and answers?

  13. 13 etienne

    Hi Francisco,

    On both counts I just have not had the time to devote to the project to add I18N or produce a GUI. I18N would be the easier of the two but at the moment all messages are hard coded so they will have to be extracted and the I18N code would need to be added.



  14. 14 Bryan

    Hi there,

    Very nice plugin, but I still miss 1 important feature though and that is an easy display of the “real question to answer mapping” .

    I saw in one of the comments that this is application specific, but I don’t really see why … ? Doesn’t a RealQuestionQuestionCode mapping table or plain file solve this problem ?



  15. 15 Bryan

    Link should of course be:

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