I’m pretty much a “n00b” when it comes to XML and defining domian specific languages, but I have a problem and I think XML is the right solution. So, I’m writing up my question here on my blog so I can point to this post when I ask people for help. Here it goes …
I want to define a format for a text file that will allow me to quickly create a series of questions for a questionnaire. Once defined I intend to write a program (in Ruby) that will parse my text files and create questionnaires in HTML or PDF. At the most basic level, the text file might look like this:
Start Questionnaire Q: Where were you born? Select one Wiscosnin Outside Wisconsin Unknown Q: Which device(s) do you own? Select all that apply TV Automobile, van, truck or motorcycle Personal computer Home Red plastic dinosaur Q: When do you leave for work? Enter time End Questionnaire
A more XML-esque file might look more like this:
<questionnaire> <question> <question-id>A13C76</> <question-number>1</> <pre-question>Knowing where you were born is important when determining benefits.</> <question-text>Were you born in the United States?</> <answer type="radio" text="Select One"> <answer-option>Yes</> <answer-option>No</> <answer-option>Unknown</> </answer> </question> </questionnaire>
Assume I need to create many dozens of these questionnaires on a regular basis.
My questions to the XML/DSL experts out there are:
- How can I find out if someone has already created a schema for asking questions and providing answer options?
- If I want to parse these text files into HTML forms using Ruby, is XML the way to go?
- Is there a better way to do all of this?
Any answers or thoughts will be greatly appreciated! And, thanks in advance for your help.