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Surveys on Rails...

Survey is a Rails Engine that brings quizzes, surveys and contests into your Rails application. Survey models were designed to be flexible enough in order to be extended and integrated with your own models. Survey was initially extracted from a real application that handles contests and quizzes.


You can view the Survey documentation in RDoc format here:

Demo App

We have implemented a demo app for you to try out: Demo App

Here is the repository:

Main Features:

  • Surveys can limit the number of attempts for each participant
  • Questions can have multiple answers
  • Answers can have different weights
  • Base Scaffold Support for Active Admin, Rails Admin and default Rails Controllers
  • Base calculation for scores
  • Easy integration with your project


Add survey to your Gemfile:

gem "survey", "~> 0.1"

Then run bundle to install the Gem:

bundle install

Now generate and run migrations:

rails generate survey:install

bundle exec rake db:migrate

Getting started with Survey

Survey inside your models

To make a model aware of you just need to add has_surveys on it:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base

  #... (your code) ...

There is the concept of participant, in our example we choose the User Model. Every participant can respond to surveys and every response is registered as a attempt. By default, survey logic assumes an infinite number of attempts per participant but if your surveys need to have a maximum number of attempts you can pass the attribute attempts_number when creating them.

# Each Participant can respond 4 times this survey => "Star Wars Quiz", :description => "A quiz about Star Wars", :attempts_number => 4)

Surveys used in your controllers

In this example we are using the current_user helper but you can do it in the way you want.

class ContestsController < ApplicationController

  helper_method :survey, :participant

  # create a new attempt to this survey
  def new
    @attempt =
    # build a number of possible answers equal to the number of options
    survey.questions.size.times { }

  # create a new attempt in this survey
  # an attempt needs to have a participant assigned
  def create
    @attempt =[:attempt])
    # ensure that current user is assigned with this attempt
    @attempt.participant = participant
    if @attempt.valid? and
      redirect_to contests_path
      render :action => :new

  def participant
    @participant ||= current_user

  def survey
    @survey ||=

Survey inside your Views

Controlling Survey availability per participant

NOTE: avaliable_for_participant? method has been deprecated. Please use available_for_participant? method instead.

To control which page participants see you can use method available_for_participant? that checks if the participant already spent his attempts.

<% if @survey.available_for_participant?(@participant) %>
  <%= render 'form' %>
<% else %>
  Uupss, <%= %> you have reach the maximum number of
  attempts for <%= %>
<% end %>

<% # in _form.html.erb %>
<%= form_for [:contests, @attempt] do |f| %>
  <%= f.fields_for :answers do |builder| %>
      <% @survey.questions.each do |question| %>
          <p><%= question.text %></p>
          <%= builder.hidden_field :question_id, :value => %>
          <% question.options.each do |option| %>
            <%= builder.check_box :option_id, {},, nil %>
            <%= option.text %> <br/ >
          <% end -%>
      <% end -%>
  <% end -%>
  <%= f.submit "Submit" %>
<% end -%>

Scaffolds and CRUD frameworks

If you are using Rails Admin or Active Admin, you can generate base CRUD screens for Survey with:

rails generate survey active_admin

rails generate survey rails_admin

If you want a simple way to get started you can use the plain option which is a simple Rails scaffold to generate the controller and views related with survey logic. By default when you type rails g survey plain it generates a controller in the admin namespace but you can choose your own namespace as well:

rails generate survey plain namespace:contests

By default when you generates your controllers using the plain command the task generates the associated routes as well. Afterwards if you want to generate more routes, you can using the command:

rails generate survey routes namespace:admin

How to use it

Every user has a collection of attempts for each survey that they can respond to. Is up to you to make averages and collect reports based on that information. What makes Survey useful is that all the logic behind surveys is now abstracted and well integrated, making your job easier.

Hacking with Survey through your Models:

# select the first active Survey
survey =

# select all the attempts from this survey
survey_answers = survey.attempts

# check the highest score for current user
user_highest_score  = survey_answers.for_participant(@user).high_score

#check the highest score made for this survey
global_highest_score = survey_answers.high_score



Survey supports Rails 3 and 4. For use in Rails 4. Rails 4 support is recent, so some minor issues may still be present, please report them.

Active Admin

Only support versions of Active Admin higher than 0.3.1.


  • Add a form builder or a helper to improve the creation of Survey forms.
  • Add polymorphic relations to help the survey be extended with subclasses.
  • Allow adding new fields without breaking the existent logic.


Copyright © 2013 Runtime Revolution, released under the MIT license.