Using XML to make it easier

Dave Winer dave at
Wed Nov 17 03:16:42 GMT 1999

Here's a screen shot of a new application we released earlier this week:

It's a browser-based survey system. Before designing it, we did a prior-art review of other browser-based systems for creating surveys, and found they got bogged down when providing a way to specify a variable number of responses. Forms work well when you know exactly how many of each items are allowed, but when it's variable, you end up putting the user thru a time-consuming and error-prone process. It makes it hard to fix mistakes -- so you end up with lots of mistakes! :-(

I wanted something that would be easier, and XML provided the solution. This is not the usual reputation that XML has -- many people think it makes things more complex, but in this application and a few others we have in the pipe, it actually makes it easier.

If you want to try out the survey editor, all that's required is UserLand.Com membership, which is, of course free and open (takes less than a minute to sign up.) The URL for the survey editor is:

I hope you all check it out!

Dave Winer
UserLand Software

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