Raosoft boosts support for World Wide Web-based surveys

Raosoft Inc. has released the second version of its EZSurvey software, a data-collection program used by several government agencies to conduct surveys and analyze the results.

EZSurvey 98 for the Internet, which began shipping earlier this month, adds a host of Internet functionality, including the ability to post a survey and its results at a World Wide Web site, said Catherine McDole Rao, president of Seattle-based Raosoft.

The new version of EZSurvey also supports more applications for distributing a survey over an intranet and by e-mail.

While previous versions were limited to Microsoft Corp.'s Exchange, the new release adds supports for Lotus Development Corp.'s Notes, cc:Mail and Eudora, as well as the Internet e-mail applications POP3 and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, Rao said. "This is especially made for Internet, e-mail or Web sites," she said.

With EZSurvey, a user sends out questionnaires in text formats or posts them on the Web. When surveys come back in, the software automatically saves the data in a database. Users then can port the data to other reporting software packages or use EZSurvey using pre-configured statistical templates to summarize results in charts, graphs and other formats.

Posting Results

The new EZSurvey release makes it possible to post results of a survey at a Web site in a portable document format file for viewing with an Adobe Systems Inc. Acrobat reader. It also includes a summary that displays results of a completed , and it offers the ability to reveal results of an ongoing survey at a Web site.

The new release also adds security and customization features for agencies using Common Gateway Interface scripts, Rao said.

CGI is a specification for transferring information from a Web server to a program that conforms to the CGI specification. CGI programs are used to process the form's data after it is submitted.

The program also has an improved ability to analyze, search and count the number of words in a written response.

Among the agencies that use EZSurvey are the Army, the Air Force, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Department of Health and Human Services, the company said.

EPA Showcase

At the EPA, EZSurvey was used to evaluate a Technology Showcase Day that the EPA sponsored at the agency's headquarters, said Denise Cunningham-Abney, an information management specialist at the EPA and the team leader of the Office of Pesticide Programs.

The survey gave the committee instant pie charts and other feedback on the event, which was designed to give employees a chance to demonstrate applications they had written, Cunningham-Abney said. She said she now plans to use EZSurvey to enhance a poll she conducts of the 900 employees of the Office of Pesticide Programs to find ways to improve operations at the help desk she runs.

EZSurvey 98 for the Internet, priced at $399, can be used only with Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems. It is a stand-alone product, but it can be used with Rao's SurveyWin statistical analysis package if users need to do more advanced analysis, the company said.

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