Exploring online research methods - Incorporating TRI-ORM

Technical guide to producing online questionnaires: Resources

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Open/close headingListings of software and services for online questionnaire production

Evans, J. R. and Mathur, A. (2005) The value of online surveys, Internet Research, 15, 2, 195- 219.

An examination of the involvement in online surveys of the largest US-based and global market research firms. Provides an extensive list of the services offered as of late 2004.

The WebSM searchable database
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.websm.org/index.php ?fl=0&p1=1123 &p2=82&p3=1086 &id=1086
Database of online questionnaire software and services which has entries categorised by type, code, cost, language and country.

The Association for Survey Computing searchable software register
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.asc.org.uk/ Register/index.htm
Searchable register which includes information about the software it contains such as listings of the features offered and suppliers.

Web-based survey software
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.web-based-surveys.com/
Directory of software which can be browsed or accessed using the 'software finder' which allows users to specify the features they require.

 

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Open/close headingServices offering software plus hosting

The following examples are chosen as being representative of some of the different types of services available as of December 2005. In each case, a range of comparable options may be available.

Bristol Online Surveys
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.survey.bris.ac.uk/
Targeted at institutions requiring the option to have a number of different surveys and survey administrators. Highly customisable to the style needs of institutions including an option to run surveys on their server with an address that appears to be that of the institution.

Globalpark
[External Link - opens in a new window]http://www.globalpark.com

Provides 'EFS Survey' software which offers relatively advanced features and a high degree of flexibility. Also makes the software available to academic researchers for a nominal fee through [External Link - opens in a new window] unipark providing excellent value for these users where advanced functionality is required.

SurveyConsole/QuestionPro
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.surveyconsole.com/ / [External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.questionpro.com/
Both are divisions of the [External Link - opens in a new window] surveyanalytics company and they use the same software and interface, but with different pricing. May offer sponsored use for academic or not-for-profit projects if certain conditions are met. Also offer a range of free resources such as articles and question templates.

Surveymonkey
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.surveymonkey.com/
Compares well with many of the other available services in terms of features, but is one of the cheapest commercial options.

Surveywriter
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.surveywriter.com/site/
Relatively expensive, but unusual in that charges are not made per period of use, but per completed survey and email invitation with a minimum of 200.

Surveyz!
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.surveyz.com/
A range of relatively sophisticated features. targeted at individual researchers or at institutions. Offers academic pricing and free use for academic projects if certain conditions are met. Also has a range of resources such as articles on online questionnaires and copyable templates of questionnaires and questions.

Websurveyor
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.websurveyor.com/
Relatively expensive, but with a wide range of features. Offers both hosting and software only solutions.

Zoomerang
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://info.zoomerang.com/
Offers pricing for not-for-profit and educational institutions. Also offers a range of research services such as questionnaire administration, panel services and translation.

 

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Open/close headingCommercial questionnaire software

The following are some examples of commercial software for online questionnaires. A range of other options are available.

ProntoSurvey
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.bebosoft.com/
Shareware tool from Bebosoft which can be downloaded for Mac as well as windows. Relatively inexpensive and straightforward to use with clear and extensive documentation and tutorials.

Questionmark Perception
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.questionmark.com/uk/home.htm
An educational assessment tool which offers many of the key features needed to create basic online questionnaires and has some of the more advanced features such as randomisation of questions and conditional branching. Potentially useful option if the software is available through the researcher's institution.

SelectSurveyASP
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.classapps.com
Relatively inexpensive. Offers 'classic' and 'advanced' versions with different levels of features at different prices. Has a working online demo and a useful example survey which includes comments on the features illustrated by particular questions. Offers a free installation service and free technical support.

Snap Surveys
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.snapsurveys.com/
Extensive options for mixed-mode surveys, offering a 'core product', Snap Professional, with add-ons for questionnaires via internet and PDAs, and to allow scanning and multiple data entry. Expensive example of 'high-end' options.

StatPac
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.statpac.com/
The online questionnaire software does not include analysis tools, but it can be purchased alongside the statistics tools offered. Has basic statistical tools or an advanced version allowing multivariate statistical techniques. Technical support and updates are available free for three months, but are chargeable via annual support/maintenance agreements thereafter. A fully-functional version of the software can be downloaded and used for free, limited to 35 respondents for each survey. Download includes tutorials and extensive user guide.

 

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Open/close headingOpen-source software

Open/close headingGeneral information

SourceForge.net
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://sourceforge.net
Searchable repository of open source projects.

Freshmeat.net
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://freshmeat.net/
Listing of new software releases.

OSS Watch: Top Tips For Selecting Open Source Software
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.oss-watch.ac.uk/ resources/tips.xml
Page from the website of OSS, a JISC-funded open source advisory service. Offers guidance on selecting open source software.

 

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Open/close headingExamples of questionnaire software

The following are some of the main examples of open source software for online questionnaires (generally the more established and/or sophisticated options). A range of other options may be available.

LE Survey
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://le-survey.sourceforge.net/
Designed as a tool for running questionnaires as part of longitudinal studies. Allows respondents' responses to be matched to responses to previous questionnaires while maintaining confidentiality. In early stages of development at the time of writing.

phpESP
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://phpesp.sourceforge.net/
Well-established software with a working demo available allowing the features and user-interface to be tested.

Lime Survey
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.limesurvey.org/
A range of relatively sophisticated features. Well-established with useful documentation. Working demos are available allowing the features and user-interface to be tested. Offers low cost hosted services.

Mod_Survey
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.modsurvey.org/
Well-established with sophisticated features such as dynamic content generation depending on previous answers. Requires the user to learn to use XML syntax particular to the software.

VTSurvey
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://vtsurvey.sourceforge.net/
Easy to use and particularly useful for straightforward questionnaires as only the four main types of questions are supported (Multiple choice with radio buttons and Check boxes, and short and long text entry boxes).

 

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Open/close headingHTML

Getting started with HTML
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Guide/.
A good basic introduction to HTML from the World Wide Web Consortium. (W3C).

HTML Goodies
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.htmlgoodies.com/.
A range of short tutorials designed to help you with specific aspects of web design.

HTML Reference
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3schools.com/tags/ref_byfunc.asp.
List of HTML tags organised by their function, from W3Schools.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML Validator
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://validator.w3.org/.
Enter a link to your web pages or upload a local file to check that your HTML meets web standards and guidelines.

HTML Tidy
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett/tidy/.
Automatically cleans up HTML to correct any problems caused either by mistakes or automatic production of invalid HTML by web editors.

WC3 Links Checker
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://validator.w3.org/checklink.
Automatically checks for broken links in an HTML document.

 

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Open/close headingCSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Guide/Style.html.
An introduction to Cascading Style Sheets from W3C.

CSS Reference
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3schools.com/cssref/default.asp.
A reference to the properties and possible values that can be applied to different elements of an HTML page from W3Schools. Also offers further information on the use of different properties.

W3Schools CSS Tutorial
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3schools.com /css/default.asp
Tutorials which include examples and quizzes.

The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C)'s CSS page
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/
Offers a wealth of information on CSS.

W3C CSS Validator
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://jigsaw.w3.org/ css-validator/.
Makes it possible to check that your CSS meets web standards and guidelines by entering a link to your CSS file, uploading your file from your computer, or pasting your CSS into a text box on the page.

Writing Efficient CSS
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.communitymx.com/ content/article.cfm?cid=90F55
A useful article by John Gallant and Holly Bergevin on using CSS 'short hand' properties to reduce the size of CSS files and increase efficiency.

 

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Open/close headingJavaScript

JavaScript Primers
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.htmlgoodies.com/primers/jsp/.
30 short JavaScript lessons with learning activities.

JavaScript examples
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://JavaScript.internet.com/.
Over two-thousand examples of JavaScripts organised into sub-sections.

JavaScript use in forms
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.irt.org/ script/form.htm.
A range of JavaScript examples with source code specifically related to web-forms.

 

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Open/close headingAccessibility

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative guidelines (WAI)
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3.org/ WAI/intro/wcag.php
Document which explains how to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities. Includes checkpoints of actions that will improve accessibility and gives each checkpoint a priority rating according to its importance. Also has links to explanations of how the checkpoints can be achieved with HTML and CSS.

Vischeck
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.vischeck.com/vischeck/
A service which simulates the appearance of pages to users with different forms of colour blindness to allow pages to be tested for suitability for colour-blind users.

DEMOS Project - Guide to accessible web pages: User control
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://jarmin.com/demos/ access/control.html
A guide to making changes to the display of web pages in different browsers.

TechDis
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.techdis.ac.uk/.
A Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)-funded advisory service on accessibility issues in education. Contains useful resources and 'how to' guides on accessibility.

Macromedia (now Adobe)'s Accessibility Resource Center
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/.
Offers general guides to accessibility and accessible design as well as specific guidance on how to increase the accessibility of HTML and multi-media produced with Macromedia products such as Dreamweaver and Flash.

 

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Open/close headingDesign issues

Usability news: Wichita State University Software Usability Research Lab
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usability_news.html.
Newsletter providing a range of articles with information on research into software and website design and usability.

Usable Information Technology
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.useit.com/.
Leading site on usability and user studies by Jacob Neilson.

Web-safe colours
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.lynda.com/hex.html.
Offers tables of web-safe colours organised by either hue (colour) or value (lightness). Makes it easier to design appropriate colour schemes.

W3C Browser information
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/default.asp
Information on the main browsers available at the time of writing is available on the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) website along with statistics on the usage levels of each (though it should be noted that the statistics are based on users of the site and should thus be generally considered to be skewed in favour of more technically proficient users).

MOOCK Flash Player Inspector
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://moock.org/web design/flash/detection/moockfpi/
Provides a good explanation of Flash detection (and its limitations) along with free scripts to carry it out.

 

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Open/close headingForm validation

Open/close headingClient-side validation using JavaScript

Form Validation Using Javascript
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.4guysfromrolla.com/webtech/091998-1.shtml
An example of form validation using JavaScript with explanations from the 4guysfromrolla.com site.

Javascript form validation – doing it right
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/webmatters/formval.html
Interesting discussion of validation using JavaScript aiming to point out some of the main pitfalls.

 

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Open/close headingServer-side validation

Depending on the technology used, the following links may provide a useful source of information, tutorials and examples on how to add server-side validation.

Open/close headingPHP/MySQL

Common Form Validations
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.codewalkers.com/c/a/Miscellaneous/Form-and-Spelling-Validation/
A PHP tutorial which covers a range of different validation activities, leading to an example of a complete form validated via PHP.

Books

Coggeshall, J. (2005) PHP Unleashed. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Chapter 4: Working with Forms in PHP.
Chapter 5: Advanced Form Techniques.
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.samspublishing.com/ title/067232511X

Sklar, C. (2004) Learning PHP. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Chapter 6: Making web forms.
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.oreilly.com/ catalog/learnphp5/

Sklar, D. and Trachtenberg, A. (2003) PHP Cookbook. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Chapter 9: Forms.
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.oreilly.com/ catalog/phpckbk/

Zandstra , M. (2005) Teach Yourself PHP in 24 Hours, 2nd Edition. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Chapter 9: Working with Forms (available as a sample chapter)
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.samspublishing.com/ title/0672323117

 

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Open/close headingASP.NET

Microsoft's ASP.NET framework offers a number of ready-made web controls designed to carry out server-side and, where available, client-side validation of web forms. These include controls that check required fields have been completed, that check that data in particular ranges or patterns has been entered (e.g. in the format of a telephone or credit-card number), and that compare data from one form element for consistency with that from another.

ASP.NET Quickstart tutorials: Validating Form Input Controls
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.asp.net/ QuickStart/aspnet/ doc/validation/default.aspx
A useful tutorial on how these controls work with code examples.

Form Validation with ASP.NET - It Doesn't Get Any Easier!
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.4guysfromrolla.com/ webtech/090200-1.shtml
Another step-by-step guide.

Books

Mitchell, S. (2003) Teach yourself ASP.NET. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Chapter 12. Validating User Input with Validation Controls.
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.samspublishing.com/ title/0672325438#

Walther, S. (2003) ASP.NET. Unleashed. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Chapter 2: Building Forms with Web Server Controls.
Chapter 3: Performing Form Validation with Validation Controls.
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.samspublishing.com/ title/0672325438#

 

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Open/close headingPERL/CGI

Form Validation with Perl/CGI
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.elated.com/ tutorials/ programming/ perl_cgi/ form_validation/
An introductory tutorial for adding validation using PERL/CGI.

Books

Colburn, R. (2003) Teach yourself CGI. Indianapolis. SAMS.
Chapter 7: Validating user input.
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.samspublishing.com/ title/0672324040

Guelich, S., Gundavaram, S. and Birznieks, G. (2000) CGI Programming with Perl. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.
Chapter 4: Forms and CGI;
Chapter 8: Security (available as a sample chapter).
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.oreilly.com/ catalog/ cgi2/ toc.html

 

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Open/close headingServer-side processing technologies

Open/close headingGeneral

Open/close headingBooks

A good source of information is through the websites of key publishers in the field of web development. These include the following publishers:

O'Reilly
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.oreilly.com/

Peachpit Press
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.peachpit.com/index.asp

SAMS
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.samspublishing.com/index.asp

These sites offer facilities to search for titles related to particular technologies and also offer sample chapters and articles. They also offer access to Safari Bookshelf, which is one of the most convenient access points for books on these technologies online. It offers searchable access to the titles of these and other key publishers in the field for viewing onscreen or for downloading.

Other publishers which are not included in Safari Bookshop offer similar searchable websites and online access to their catalogues, e.g:

WROX
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/

Apress
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.apress.com/

 

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Open/close headingWebsites

W3Schools
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.w3schools.com/
Provides information and tutorials on a range of server-side technologies including ASP, PHP, SQL, and ASP.NET.

Webmonkey
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.webmonkey.com/
General web-design resource. The programming section of the 'How-to library' includes tutorials on ASP, PHP, ColdFusion, and Perl/CGI

 

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Open/close headingPHP/MySQL

Open/close headingBooks

Coggeshall, J. (2005) PHP Unleashed. Indianapolis. SAMS.

Kent, A. and Powers, D. (2004) PHP Web development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004. Berkeley, CA. Apress.

Naramore, E., Gerner, J., Le Scouarnec, Y., Stolz, J. and Glass, M. K. (2005) Beginning PHP5, Apache, and MySQL Web Development. Indianapolis. WROX.

Sklar, D. (2004) Learning PHP. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.

Sklar, D. and Trachtenberg, A. (2003) PHP Cookbook. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.

Ullman, L. (2005) PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites. Berkeley, CA. Peachpit Press.

Welling, L. and Thomson, L. (2004) PHP and MySQL Web Development. Indianapolis. SAMS.

Zandstra , M. (2005) Teach Yourself PHP in 24 Hours, 2nd Edition. Indianapolis. SAMS.

 

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Open/close headingWebsites

Codewalkers
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://codewalkers.com/
Offers a wide range of reources on PHP and MySQL including tutorials

PHP
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://uk.php.net/manual/en/introduction.php
An introduction to PHP from the official website which includes a very useful introductory tutorial.

MySQL Tutorials
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.php-mysql-tutorial.com/
A series of tutorials on how to use PHP and MySQL to create and administer databases.

 

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Open/close headingASP.NET / ASP

The resources below refer to ASP.NET which has been designed to supercede ASP. However, at the time of writing ASP remains a commonly-used server-side technology and a wide range of resources are available offering information and tutorials in its use.

Open/close headingBooks

Duthie, G. A. and MacDonald, M. (2003) ASP.NET in a Nutshell. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.

Hart, C., Kauffman, J., Sussman, D. and Ullman, C. (2005) Beginning ASP.NET 2.0. Indianapolis. WROX.

Kittel, M. A. and LeBlond, G. T. (2004) ASP.NET Cookbook. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.

Martinez, J. and Parnell, R. (2003) ASP.NET Development with Dreamweaver MX. Berkeley, CA. Peachpit Press.

Mitchell, S. (2003) Teach yourself ASP.NET. Indianapolis. SAMS.

Walther, S. (2003) ASP.NET. Unleashed. Indianapolis. SAMS.

 

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Open/close headingWebsites

ASP.NET Quickstart Tutorial
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.asp.net/ QuickStart/aspnet/ Default.aspx
Detailed tutorials on using ASP.NET including information on how ASP.NET controls are used with code examples.

4 Guys from Rolla
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.4guysfromrolla.com/
Searchable resource with articles and tutorials on specific aspects of ASP.NET.

 

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Open/close headingCGI/PERL

Open/close headingBooks

Colburn, R. (2003) Teach yourself CGI. Indianapolis. SAMS.

Guelich, S., Gundavaram, S. and Birznieks, G. (2000) CGI Programming with Perl. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.

 

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Open/close headingWebsites

CGI Programming 101
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.cgi101.com/
Tutorials aimed at beginners with information on how to set up a development environment using CGI/PERL and how to process forms and write data to files.

CGI Made Really Easy - or, Writing CGI scripts to process Web forms
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.jmarshall.com/easy/cgi/
Basic introduction to collecting and formatting information from forms.

Elated
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.elated.com/tutorials/ programming/perl_cgi/
Tutorials covering a basic introduction to CGI programming with PERL along with issues such as validation and emailing.

 

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Open/close headingColdFusion

Open/close headingBooks

Brooks-Bilson, R. (2003) Programming ColdFusion MX. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.

Camden, R., Chalnick, L., Buraglia, A. C. and Forta, B. (2005) Macromedia ColdFusion MX 7 Web Application Construction Kit. Berkeley, CA. Macromedia Press.

DeHaan, J. (2004) ColdFusion Web Development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004. Berkeley, CA. Apress.

Mohnike, C. (2003) Teach Yourself Macromedia ColdFusion in 21 Days. Indianapolis. SAMS.

 

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Open/close headingWebsites

Macromedia's Support Centre for ColdFusion - Tutorials
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.macromedia.com/ support/coldfusion/ tutorial_index.html
A wide range of tutorials. Part of the ColdFusion Support Center which includes resources, technical notes and a forum.

EasyCFM Tutorials
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.easycfm.com/tutorials/ index.cfm?dirView=True
A comprehensive range of ColdFusion tutorials.

 

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Open/close headingJSP

Open/close headingBooks

Bergsten, H. (2003) JavaServer Pages, Third Edition. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.

Brunner, R. (2003) JSP: A Practical Guide for Programmers. San Fransisco, CA. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

Holzner, S. (2002) Teach Yourself JavaServer Pages in 21 Days. Indianapolis. SAMS.

Perry, B. W. (2004) Java Servlet & JSP Cookbook. Sebastapol, CA. O'Reilly.

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Open/close headingWebsites

Caucho JSP Tutorials
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.caucho.com/resin-3.0/ jsp/tutorial/index.xtp
Covers topics including form processing and emailing form contents.

JSP Tutorial
[External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.jsptut.com/
Series of tutorials covering the basics of JSP and dealing with forms processing, databases and emailing. States that users should have a knowledge of HTML and Java.

 

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