HTML —this is a plain text file but it must have an extension of .htm or .html–e.g., MyWebPage.htm You can make it in a plain text editor (e.g., NotePad) or fancy Web page editor.

Basic to Web research. See Birnbaum (2001), Chapters 2, 3, 4.

Free. Many free Websites with good summaries and tutorials.

Presents and formats text, pictures, graphics, sounds, video, media.

Simple "programming" effects can be created by design of hyperlinks. For example, if you have different surveys for men and women, smokers and nonsmokers, etc.

HTML Forms–this technique is really part of HTML, but deserves special emphasis here. The free programs, SurveyWiz and FactorWiz create Web pages containing HTML forms which send the data to a CGI script to save the data sent via the form.

See Birnbaum (2001), Chapter 5. See also the connection to Schmidt’s Perl script that emulates the generic script used by Birnbaum. Billy’s script is called, but it works with any of the HTML forms in Birnbaum’s (2001) book.

SurveyWiz, FactorWiz–these are free programs that allow you to make a simple questionnaire or factorial experiment quickly. They are Web pages that make web pages that run experiments and surveys on the Web.

See Birnbaum (2000). These are easy to learn and use. They are relatively restricted in what you can do. Can blend with HTML graphics to put almost any paper-and-pencil study on the Web.

Java–free programming language. Runs on client side. Neither you nor participant need buy anything. Participant must have it installed and turned on, which is true for most users. To put something on the Web, you must have at minimum two files…HTML that calls the applet, and the applet’s MyApplet.class file.

Very powerful programming language. "Object oriented programming language". Can be used to make stand-alone programs or web "applets" as shown by Gary. Has other uses as well. Precise control and measurement of graphics and "events" on the screen, such as the position of the mouse.

JavaScript–free. Runs on client side. Neither you nor the participant (client) needs to buy anything. Participant must not have turned it off. Most people have it turned on. Can include it in the Web page or "hide" it. Advantage: open source for scientific sharing.

From here down: a possible disadvantage is that JavaScript, Java, Authorware Player, and other media players are not installed for some people.

Powerful language. Can add little bits to Web pages to add functionality. Can make programs, including ones to control experiments, manipulate sequence, randomize, time, measure time, etc. etc.

See Birnbaum (2001), Chapters 17-19; Birnbaum’s examples and Gary’s JavaScript examples


Server Software–Apache server is free!

Billy and Anja explain how to install this powerful program, which allows you to manage and run your own Web site(s). This gives you control over your experiments and data.

Running your own server might be an extra burden on your time and energy. For example, you may need to restart your machine, may be difficult if you travel a lot.

Server-Side Programming. Run your own Web server, or at least, get someone to install your CGI scripts to save data. You need a script somewhere to save your data. Options: (1) Birnbaum’s default uses a generic script saves to server, or to his site, but data are public. Install Billy’s script on your server to save to a secure location. This works for all people.

Billy described the installation of the free Apache Web server and the free CGI, server-side programming language of Perl. You get them both free and there are free tutorials on the Web. See Billy’s examples and materials. You must use this technique to save data to your server, but it can also be used to do certain other tasks (e.g., random assignment to conditions) that can be done by other methods.

PERL–Perl is a free programming language. It can be used to write CGI scripts that handle server-side programming. For example, to save data from your survey or experiment on your server.

A chapter on Perl and a tutorial on Perl will be handed out. Billy Schmidt will discuss Perl examples.

PHP–This is another method for server-side programming. This is also free

Anja will introduce this technique, which is quickly becoming a favorite technique. Anja and Billy will discuss pros and cons of Perl versus PHP, which can do many of the same tasks.

MySQL–this is a package for managing databases, which can be dynamically linked to Web content. For example, one could compute statistics from a study and program the results to automatically update online as more people participate.

This package is also free! Anja will discuss how to install and how to use it. For some applications, you will want just a simple save the data script. However, for many dynamic tasks, the database can provide the answer. One can keep track of people who come and go to the site, remind them what they have and have not finished, etc.



Authorware Experiments. This approach is expensive, but it has great power in creating experiments with control of timing, randomization, detection of screen events, insertion of media, and many other features. The participant must have installed the Authorware Player for the experiments to work. Best in the lab, or with an Online Panel of participants who have agreed to participate (e.g., they are paid) and have installed the player.

See links by John Williams and Ken McGraw. This technique can do many of the same things as Java, but uses a graphic user interface with icons to control the experiment. The OleMiss site uses this method for its main power, but this approach uses HTML and JavaScript as well as server-side programming, Excel Macros, and other techniques. Study the manuals that come with Authorware program and the CD of tutorials that you received.

WWW-SA–Survey Assistant Software.

Free software, written by Billy Schmidt, is more powerful than SurveyWiz, but it can do more. Creates both the HTML and the Perl Scripts to make computations on the data as well as save them.

See Links by Billy Schmidt, which describe comparisons of this free software against commercial products.

WEXTOR. This is a free program that creates the files needed for all sorts of experimental designs, especially between-subjects designs that use different Web pages for different parts of the study. Advantage of breaking up the pieces: you can study dropout in detail. Creates visual display of design and skeleton of the Web pages.

See Articles and materials by Ulf.

LogAnalyzer–Program to analyze log files; fits well with WEXTOR approach, in that one can study all of the requests for files and places where dropouts occur. Dropouts are a very important subject.

Image Creation and Manipulation. To create an image, scan a photo or graphic, or use a digital camera. Many programs, including ImageJ can be used to edit, manipulate, and save image files in .bmp, .jpg, .gif, and other formats.

See John Krantz’s readings, links, and materials. Also, Birnbaum (2001), Chapter 14 discusses some of the issues of sound compression (MP3, and RealAudio, etc.).