Small Android self-survey app

For some time I had this annoying itch of wanting to be able to quantify some basic life stuff: time spent sleeping, sports, etc. This is in the spirit of the Quantified Self movement. However I hadn’t found a simple app that would allow me to customize the Q&A format I wanted.

A few months ago I switched to an Android smartphone, and I figured it’d be a great opportunity to play with Android development. I spent two days or so coding this “self-survey” app to fill the basic need. Based on a flat-file question specification format I defined, I can create new surveys quite simply, but of course it’s not that user-friendly 🙂 However it’s very efficient to use and the data is then easily usable in a sort-of-CSV format I can simply grab from the internal storage.

The format allows for 4 types of questions: checkbox, multiple choice answers, free text, and something I call “button array” which is handy for entering time spent on something like sleep at various points in the day.

I don’t want to take the time to polish & publish it on the appstore. Anyway at this point it’s not that user-friendly; it’s best used by programmers. It would take much more time to add the survey-creation, graphs etc. that a full app of this kind needs. As I like to deal with raw data and use existing tools for graphing, I personally don’t mind. Don’t hesitate to fork and add that kind of functionality, though!

Code on github.

(EDIT: as I mention in a comment below, to run the app you need to compile it. My logic here was that the app didn’t have much use to non-programmers anyway, as so many bits are missing)

I still need to add comments and documentation. This is a work in progress.

6 Comments

  1. zaki:

    Could you please let me know how i run it as it is now?
    because i could not run it
    looking forward to hearing from you.

  2. Francois:

    Hi zaki,

    You need to realize I’ve published this mostly if other programmers want to use it as a starting point for their own application. It’s not user-friendly at all.

    To run it, you need to compile it. Have you written Android applications before? If not, then you’ll probably want to use another application, as it’s much harder to “install” than a typical Play Store app.

    Also to edit surveys you need to edit flat files (like a database program would do), which is again not user friendly. And to gather statistics you need to write scripts that parse the outputted flat files (for some types of questions a spreadsheet would do, though).

    I realize I’m not being a very good salesman here… 😉

    But maybe you knew all that, tried compiling, and it didn’t work? In that case could you give me more detail about what went wrong? If it’s a bug in my code I’d at least want to correct it.

  3. steve@stevenrutledge.com:

    I am looking for a application like this; any idea if anyone took it an ran with it laughing all the way to the app store?

  4. Francois:

    Hi Steve,

    No I don’t think anyone did that, and if anyone did, they wouldn’t be laughing all that long, trust me. It’s not for the faint hearted, in its current state: you’ve got to manually edit files with a specific format for each survey, then you’ve got to get the data from the internal card to parse it (CSV files).

    In order to make a user-friendly app out of this, more GUI work would be required. I did the bare-bones version, which is enough for my needs, and posted it here since other people who don’t mind flat files could be interested. But then every time I do that I realize there actually aren’t that many people apparently 😉

    Anyway thanks for stopping by and sorry if it’s not all that useful without an appstore version.

  5. serg:

    @steve, I have made a similar app couple of months ago, it’s available on play store :

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.omplusm.selfsurveyFREE

    let me know what do you think.

  6. someguy:

    I have an app called ‘KeepTrack Pro’
    may be you are looking for that?

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