LimeSurvey - online survey system
To conduct surveys online. The need for surveys and a survey system was expressed several times at during the 2020-12-08 workshop.
Summary of your evaluation
Several years ago, I took the liberty of investigating better alternatives to SurveyMonkey. Being the lone Free / Libre Open Source Software zealot on campus, I was specifically looking for applications that played nicely with Linux, Apache and PostgreSQL. I ultimately installed the community edition of LimeSurvey for the research institute at the university where I was working. The system was used by students, faculty and staff and seemed to suit their needs. (At that time, as I recall, there was no distinction between the main offering, and a "community edition".)
LimeSurvey is an online survey system akin to SurveyMonkey. According to the font of all knowledge
"a free and open source on-line statistical survey web app written in PHP based on a MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL or MSSQL database, distributed under the GNU General Public License. As a web server-based software it enables users using a web interface to develop and publish on-line surveys, collect responses, create statistics, and export the resulting data to other applications."
Pros and cons
- open source
- support for multiple database engines
- online manual includes a section on "good survey design" which was sorely lacking for students, faculty and staff using SurveyMonkey. (Our office did a lot of mentoring all three groups regarding the flaws in their designs before trying LimeSurvey.)
- good internationalization
- self-hosted or hosted via commercial services
- PHP can become awfully messy. I happen to think Python-based code that follows the PEP-8 Style Guide recommendations to much better as a language and would have much rather found a Django-based survey system
- for the university's purposes, we ultimately switched to Vanderbilt University's REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) system, because it offered HIPAA compliance, which we really needed. However, despite its nice dovetailing with Linux, etc, it is "is expressly not open source". Other survey systems I evaluated did not offer even a hint of HIPAA compliance.
- the introduction of a "community edition" always worries me, in that features that would have been introduced when the entire project was community-driven now become features that are only available in the non-open version of a product, and the potential for a community to dissolve, leaving the product an orphan.
Indications of maturity level
Again, from the Wikipedia entry has been kicking around since 2003, with Version 3.0 having been released in December 2017.