LimeSurvey Version 2.5 RC released!

The LimeSurvey team is proud to present you the LimeSurvey 2.5 Release Candidate!
Click here to download it!

1. Presentation

LimeSurvey 2.5 is based on the good old LimeSurvey 2 code, but using the famous front-end framework Bootstrap to render its admin interface. So now, you'll enjoy a modern and responsive admin interface to build your survey. If you're a loyal LimeSurvey user, you will not get lost, and you'll still find all the functionalities you care and love.
The development of the new admin interface pursued four goals:
  • Offer a modern graphical experience
  • Respect the habits of loyal LimeSurvey users and the global ergonomy of LimeSurvey 2
  • Easy to use for new users, thanks to an alert info system providing tips and tricks.
  • Keep as much as possible of the LimeSurvey 2 core code to get LimeSurvey 2.5 working as soon as possible 
Soon, we'll also develop a bootstrap responsive template for surveys.
So, LimeSurvey 2.5 is fully compatible with LimeSurvey 2, and you'll can update to it simply using the brand new ComfortUpdate we just released a few weeks ago...

[widgetkit id="4" name="LimeSurvey 2.5 compared to LS20"]

2. Tour

LimeSurvey 2.5 still has a few ergonomic differences compared to LimeSurvey 2. Most of them were inspired by user requests. Let's have a look at these changes.

2a. Landing page

After a fresh installation on LimeSurvey 2.0, the landing page was an info page presenting some “piece-of-cake steps to create your very own first survey”. Once a survey had been created, the surveys list was shown after login.
In LimeSurvey 2.5, the home page is based on a design of six quick buttons, linking to the most used items. A link to the last survey/last question visited is on top of those boxes for a quick navigation. To come back to this home page, just click on the logo on the top right corner.

LimeSurvey 2.5 Home PageLimeSurvey 2.5 Home Page

If you disagree with the choice of the buttons, and want to change them, you can do it from global settings → Home page. In this page, you can change the title of a box, its link, its description, and its picture. It's still very basic and will be improved in the future (like adding as many boxes as you want, or linking to an external page, selecting a custome picture in a list, etc.)

You can edit boxes from global settingsYou can edit boxes from global settings

A fresh LimeSurvey installation with no survey shows a modal box displaying the 'piece-of-cake' steps on this home page :

LimeSurvey 2.5 welcome modale on fresh installationLimeSurvey 2.5 welcome modale on fresh installation

If the user clicks on “Create a new survey”, some new tips and tricks alert information will help him until the user created his first question.

2b. Admin menu

In LS2, the main menu bar hosted the links to the pages concerning the global system: Manage administrators, user groups, global settings, label sets, etc. It also provided the possibility to list the surveys in a select box, to go to the surveys list, to create a new survey, and to log out:

Admin menu in LimeSurvey 2.xAdmin menu in LimeSurvey 2.x

All those links have been kept in LimeSurvey 2.5 admin menu, but reorganized in 3 categories :
  1. Configuration: for anything related to the global system
  2. Surveys: for anything related to survey
  3. User menu: for anything related to logged in user.
We also added a notification system (only for update for now).

Admin menu in LimeSurvey 2.5
Admin menu in LimeSurvey 2.5

The configuration menu provides all the links concerning the global system, and a system overview similar to the system overview which was displayed in the first tab of global settings in LS 2.0:

Configuration submenus in LimeSurvey 2.5Configuration submenus in LimeSurvey 2.5

Also, if you have active surveys, a link to those active surveys will be shown :

Surveys menu and link to active surveys

Surveys menu and link to active surveys

2c. Layout types, menu types and save buttons

There are two kinds of layout in LimeSurvey 2.5: the full page layout, and the survey layout with a side menu and a sticky contextual menu bar.
The full page layout is used for the global system pages (the ones you can access from the main menu), like Global Settings. Its content takes all the width of the page, and its actions buttons are directly placed on top of the content:

Full page layout Full page layout for system pages :  Content take 100% of the width, action buttons are placed on top of content

The survey layout has a side menu and a sticky contextual menu bar. This layout is used for any page related to a survey (like survey summary, edit question, tokens, etc).

Survey LayoutSurvey Layout : - The content is surrounded by a side bar on its left, a title bar on top, and a top sticky menu for actions

The top menu bar is sticky, so Save/cancel buttons are now always easy to reach – even when scrolling down,

2d. Side bar and question explorer

In LimeSurvey 2.0, the menu bars was stacked the one of top of others. So everything was reachable on a single click, but also, the interface was crowded of buttons, links, forms, select box, actions buttons. It was hard to understand and visually exhausting. Some of the functionalities were logical but counter-intuitive (like adding a new question from the question-group bar), and sometimes, it was just impossible to come back to some pages (like coming back to the survey summary after a group has been selected).
For example, the 'Edit subquestions' page in LimeSurvey 2.0

A typical admin view in ls20A typical admin view in LimeSurvey 2.0 : many menus, submenus, icons, buttons, tabs, etc.

In LimeSurvey 2.5, the side menu resolves this problem. The main idea is this one : only one menu bar is shown at the same time, and each menu bar is accessible via the side menu (see the example of edition mode at the end of this section).

The side bar
The side bar

So if you click on the survey menu, the top menu will correspond to the usual survey menu bar. If you click on 'token management', the top menu will correspond to the usual token management menu bar. If you click on a question in the explorer, the top menu bar will correspond to the usual question bar, etc. etc.

question summaryWe selected a question in the question explorer in the side bar, so the top menu is the usual question menu bar.

Also, when editing an element (most of the time by clicking on a button on the top menu bar, like 'edit survey settings'), only the action buttons of this edition will be shown on the top menu bar, and the left bar will be closed. Those action buttons are in the sticky bar, so its easy to reach them (for example when scrolling down):

edition modeSurvey page in edition mode : the side bar is closed, only the save buttons are shown, the menu bar stick to the top, so if you scroll down the page they are still reachable

See here “Edit subquestions” page in LimeSurvey 2.5 (the very same one than show at the beginning of the paragraph ):

edit question
A typical admin view in LimeSurvey 2.5: simple, clean, easy to understand

One of the great advantages of the old LimeSurvey 2.0 design, is that it was easy to reach any question inside the current group. Thanks to the question explorer inside the side bar, it's even more easy in LimeSurvey 2.5. Just open it to explore the different groups and to open the wanted question. You even can add question directly to any group inside it!

side bar
The question explorer, to quickly navigate between questions, or quickly add a question to a group

2c. Surveys, question groups, and questions lists

The surveys list, so as the questions list and the question groups list, are now using the Yii Grid view system with dataprovider. In short : it provides pagination, search box, filters, and it will only load the item for the current page (so you will no more experience very slow loading for huge list of surveys or questions) :

Surveys list in LimeSurvey 25Surveys list in LimeSurvey 2.5

The question groups list provides three buttons for quick action such as “add add a question to this group”, or “edit text elements”, and of course, access to question/question group summary (with question group menu bar):

Question group listQuestion group list: search box, pagination, add a question to this group, edit text elements, reach question group summary

The questions list provides a filter to select the group of the questions, a button to preview the question, one to directly edit it, and another one to reach its summary page (with the question menu bar).

Questions listQuestions list : search box, group filter, preview button, edit text element button, reach question summary

Of course, in the future, we could add more action buttons in those lists, and give user the possibility to activate/unactivate them.

2d. Graph rendering in statistics

Now, LimeSurvey uses the chart.js engine to render the graphs of statistics. So you can use bar charts, pie charts, radar charts, line charts, polar charts, dougnuts charts :
[widgetkit id="2" widget="switcher" panel=1]


The transition from LimeSurvey 2.0 to LimeSurvey 2.5 should be very easy for most users. We tested the interface with existing users of LimeSurvey, and usually they quickly got used to it.
Also, new users should understand it quickly, thanks to the tips and tricks, but also thanks to a familiar interface. The main menu, the menu bars behavior, the sticky save buttons, the side bar, and the different lists are very common today, used in many web applications or CMS. So it's more intuitive than the ergonomy of LimeSurvey 2.0 which was so specific and unusual. Also, the question explorer keeps the advantage of the fast navigation of the old interface.
Using more deeply Yii functionalities (such as the grid, or the asset manager), Bootstrap, and chart.js, the LimeSurvey admin interface is now much more modern. It can still evolve, and users are welcome to ask for new interface functionalities (like adding new boxes in front page, link in side menu, buttons in list, etc). Soon, we'll start the same kind of work for the survey template, and LimeSurvey 2.5 will then be completed.

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