Add-on (Paid) - I am inviting quotes for a survey system

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
I would like to get quotes for the development of surveys for Xenforo. The user (with usergroup permissions) would be able to create quite sophisticated surveys which would work in an identical way to polls.
I propose to pay for the development of the Survey resource which would then be available to purchase from the Xenforo Resources area. I propose the developer and I split the revenue for as long as the developer commits to maintaining the resource in his/her own time. If the developer is unable to provide support then I will retain the full revenue in order to be able to work out an arrangement with an alternative developer going forward.
Rather than provide a detailed specification document, if I say that we want to replicate the functionality of minus the redundant design elements (like uploading a logo etc.), is that sufficient for coders to be able to provide a quote for the work?
I don't even look in this forum to be honest. PM is usually best if you want my attention, and I think it is the same for other developers. I should have some time coming up in a month or so, although I wouldn't be interested in any revenue-sharing agreement (since all my add-ons are released free for non-commercial use).
I'm not interested in you funding the entire project yourself but I am interested in making this add on. May I ask what you expect the price for a license to be? Just curious the level of interest in the community along with the expected pricing to make sure it's feasible.

It won't be ready for a little bit. My ad manager still has priority, but I like to work on multiple things at once to keep me from getting burned out on one script.
Judging the prices of licenses on Xenforo is a tricky business.
I find that most of the community here have ridiculous expectations on the cost of addons.
The ability to have competitions, for example, is worth more than £1,000 to me. And the development of an addon like that would cost more than £1,000 easily. And we'd recoup that cost over time through a cut of the addon sales and because commercial organisations would pay us to have competitions which gather marketing data.
Yet the community balk at a £25 asking price for the addon.

I think the problem is that people can't try before they buy. What's needed with addons is the ability to have a free trial period beyond which the addon disables itself. Then a proper, secure method of activating it following payment.
But that's a different matter.

So how much would I pay to have a surveys addon which does everything I want it to? Over £1,000, but I would want to recoup that investment by having a cut of the addon sales.
How much do I think the license cost should be on Xenforo? If you want to sell any to the community, it will have to be ridiculously cheap like £25 or something.

For our ad manager, by the way, we use Google DFP. And then it's a simple case of sending DFP information about where the ad is being displayed and who is viewing it.
Same here. A good survey system is worth good money to me. The pricing of such addon greatly depends upon the richness of the addon. If you create a full surveymonkey clone with statistics, analytics, widgets and integration with all of XF functions then 100-200 plus 50 per year is not unreasonable per license. If that's the optimal price for optimal revenue is a different question. I think that the topic of optimal addon pricing is something to research.
It's a difficult one as for some people, who are paying £1000s a month for their hosting, etc., a few £100 for an addon is nothing. For others, who run their forums on shared hosting costing £10 a month, that'd be almost their annual budget.
Right. This migration to Xenforo has cost us well over £70,000 already.

Yikes. Not surprised but that's still a lot. On the plus side I guess you're making enough to be able to afford that.

I imagine DigitalPoint is along similar lines if you factor in the amount of time Shawn's worked on developing his own code.

The fact you're both giving back to the community is amazing and I can see it's frustrating when some people complain that a £20 license is "too expensive".
If I go with this, would you want to have:
  • a new node type (survey). In this node when a user creates a thread they get a title input, a description input, and then a link to "add question". Clicking add question will fade in "question", "answer type" (string, number, input box, textarea), "required" (yes/no). They can click "add question" as many times as they want. Surveys would be listed in a node like threads are, clicking them will present the survey (unless you're the author, then it'll be tabbed: [survey] [responses]) there will be no reply (unless you want to have a discussion tab also?)
  • new route with a navigation tab, basically functions the same way they're just not threads (although, could include a discussion feature).
If it's possible to have an option to have a survey as a node, then that would satisfy other peoples' needs and help sell the addon. Personally I would want to have surveys as separate elements the same way as competitions and showcases are. And then, an associated discussion thread for each survey in a chosen forum which is relevant to the survey (so if it's a survey about TVs, then the discussion thread would be in the TVs forum).

Writing a proper specification for a survey system would take quite a few hours, which is why it's easier to point to surveymonkey. I would expect the right developer to know what is required and deliver it.

A lot of the survey functionality would benefit from copying what our competitions addon does. Like permissions, alerts and open/close, publish/unpublish methodology.

Some survey systems have admin pre-defined question and answer types.
Yes/No/I don't know

So the user could select these predefined question types as well as define their own from the various form element types available.

Country might be one which is automatically completed using GeoIP for PHP if it's installed.

We would need conditionals. e.g. if to this question, someone gives this answer, ask this additional question(s).
E.g. when someone selects 'Other' from a choice, you then ask for details in a text box.

Pagination is how some survey systems achieve the conditionals, but it might be easier to use the nice jQuery method of making elements appear/disappear as standard in Xenforo.
Although pagination is a useful tool to make surveys appear less scary.
And having a % complete bar helps people as well.

Same as competitions, surveys should have an open/closed state and published/unpublished state and not be publicly viewable until published.

Permissions (the competitions system is a good basis):
Surveys - User Permissions
View published surveys
Enter survey

Surveys - Staff Permissions
View all surveys
View survey archive
Create survey
Publish survey by self
Publish survey by anyone
Open survey by self
Open survey by anyone
Edit survey by self
Edit survey by anyone
Delete survey by self
Delete survey by anyone
Download survey results by self
Download survey results by anyone
Manage survey rules, terms and conditions

Surveys need a start date upon which they are automatically published if open. Surveys need to close on either/both of
  • a particular end date
  • after a number of completed entries
Reward users for completing surveys by automatically awarding them a like/chosen post rating.

Surveys results need to be downloadable as a CSV.

This is just a snippet of points off the top of my head.
Before anyone starts this addon, I would suggest getting a very detailed specification put together.
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Very helpful it's own route like competitions is probably better.

I messaged you, I do have interest in this project if you are currently wanting to fund it still. I know that I originally said I wasn't interested in that but I talked it over with the person that will be helping me and we decided we'd rather have guaranteed funds than just taking a chance with it. Plus we like your model for sales to the community, we think that's definitely fair for both sides. The only thing we need to decide upon is the exact feature set (although what you just posted is a good start) and the exact pricing.

If you're wanting this started let me know.
Some more input of the top of my head:

  • The same / similar analysis functionality as surveymonkey. Our surveys are frequently for academic research and researchers need to be able to import the results into their statistical software. Formats are csv, xls and SPSS.
  • Allow researchers to buy a survey. (pay before posting one) This will also allow webmasters to ear back on the software purchase price. Integration with paygates would be nice.
  • It should be easy to expand the survey system. I am particularly interested to fetch survey statistics and to reuse these in forum by bbcode and other addons like vaultwiki.
  • Public surveys would be very useful, so that each submission is publicly visible and can be discussed.
  • XF Likes on public survey submissions.
  • Graphs & analytics on individual public survey submissions.
  • Allow us to set up specific nodes for dedicated surveys. (1 public survey per node) Display the entries similar to forum view. A sidebar widget with statistics for the node would be nice.
  • Support for the XF resource manager (a tab with surveys from a survey category or entries from a public survey)
  • Support for XF trophies / user criteria. User has completed X surveys. User has posted X surveys.
  • Likert scale answers.
  • Preset answer values.
  • Preset fields for locations, maps, valuta, date picker, time, weight, gender,
  • Usergroup setting to add preset answer values to a question group.
  • Dropdown selectable questions. Lets say the site is about cars, then this function allows the participant to select the car of his choice and then answer the survey questions in relation to that car. The submission needs to be attributed to a report for that car.
  • Survey categories to allow users to browse large numbers of surveys.
  • Result dependent actions after survey is done. i.e. if survey result is X show page Y. If user has answered question X with Y then show page Z.
  • Attachments as an answer type.
  • Guest submissions and limitations (one submission per IP / cookie)
  • Widget to display specific statistics.
  • Cross analyze values and results from different surveys.
  • Show new surveys on 'new posts' with a tab like this.
  • Analysis value: Most frequent answer. If more than X% of users answer the question with the same value, then display this value in the analysis report.
  • Analysis / report value: frequent answer. If more than X users answer the question with the same value than display this value in the analysis report. Example: 'favorite cars mentioned are: volvo, audi, bmw, jaguar.'
  • It should be easy for the user to see where he is in the survey and what steps are next.
  • Use of formulas in the statistics: AnswerA minus AnswerB multiplied by answerC
  • Option to show Results per location on maps / geocharts.
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