Project Guidance for Youth Center Survey


I am excited to be learning Ruby on Rails!

I have no prior programming knowledge or experience, but I was able to
follow the examples in a couple of books and get most of the same
outcomes that were illustrated...I think the variances were due to
updates of some of the components in addition to my neophyte

I have literally felt my brain ache as I struggle to grasp the larger
concepts of Object Oriented Programming, but I am determined to take
the examples from the books and transition them into a working
knowledge base.

I have a project that I would like to tackle, and I look forward to
anyone recommending specific concepts to review that I can use to
develop my project.

I would like to create a web application that uses MySQL to store
responses to two or three survey questions, and displays results
graphically using AJAX (no page redraws).

I volunteer at an inner-city youth center that works with at-risk
youth to help them stay away from negative influences and peer
pressure. The youth center managers would like to make sure that they
are meeting the needs of the members. A survey engine can be an
objective (and anonymous) resource to receive candid feedback and new
program ideas.

The first survey that I have in mind (working title, "GED Session")
would contain the following questions:

1) Which GED Session do you attend? (Radio or check box options -
Morning - Afternoon - Evening) [Survey will only be made available to
students actually enrolled in the program].

2) Was this GED Session your first choice? (Radio or check box options
- Yes - No). If they select the 'No' answer, some additional survey
questions would appear without a page redraw.

2a) Which GED Session was your first choice? (Radio or check box
options would appear for the two options THAT WERE NOT CHECKED in
Question One - I presume that the application would be looking at the
object 'stored' from Question One response).

2b) Why weren't you able to attend your first choice GED Session?
(Radio or check box options - Session was full - Family obligation
[childcare, care for disabled relative, etc.] - Employment obligation
- Transportation - Other [text area box for this option which won't be
displayed in the public survey results, it will only be available for
survey administrator to print and share with the youth center managers
- the Other choice will be indicated as selected for general survey
responses reflected in the public graphic]).

3) Once you have received your GED certificate, which program will
you sign up for? (Radio or check box options - Trade Apprenticeship
[Carpentry, Masonry, HVAC, Plumbing, Electrician, Telecommunications]
- Cisco Academy - Medical Services)

I know that there are several survey resources available online
already. I want to use this project to 'stretch my brain' more with
Ruby on Rails.

Here's where I need to engage my brain more effectively:

* Each question (five questions in GED Session survey) has several
possible responses associated with the question, but one answer is
generally saved per question. Each answer associated with a specific
question appears to need to be an object that can be tabulated, so I
am presuming that each possible response also needs to be an object.
Am I on target with that understanding, or am I making it too

* The GED Session survey will very likely be taken by more than one
individual using the same computer(s). The survey won't require more
than one web page be displayed. How should I handle sessions after
someone has answered the survey? Is there a way to automatically
erase the session cookie from the user's computer once a survey has
been successfully completed?

For example, a GED student would indicate which GED Session they are
attending for Question One, whether the GED Session was their first
choice for Question Two (if Yes, then answer Question Three [then
clear session cookie] and show tabulated results in a graphical
display (probably horizontal bar and number; if No, then answer
Questions 2a, 2b, and then Question Three [then clear session cookie])

* I realize that I will need to create some administrative interface
as well that allows me to create new surveys and store them in a MySQL
database as well. What would be the proper way to handle future
survey development and management?

I look forward to your collective guidance as I tackle my first

Best Regards,


Suggestion: get a copy of Pine's "Learn to Program".


Hi Faisal,

Thank you for sharing that resource. I will purchase a copy of the

If you have any additional thoughts to share that would guide me in
the process of developing my project, possibly any online tutorial
examples that could start me down the road, I'd greatly appreciate it.