Went on a course today (in Bristol! 3 hours drive! Still, beautiful scenery) to have a look at Snap, a piece of survey (as in questionnaires) software.

It was a good course, and introduced all the various elements pretty quickly. A couple of things annoyed me though. Firstly, the fact that the tutor had to go through the rigmarole of informing us that when using the software, ‘variables’ mean ‘questions’ and ‘code labels’ (or something) mean answers. How ridiculous. Why not just call them questions and answers in the first place? I mean, I know what those names mean, but it doesn’t really matter.

Secondly, it’s the fact that it completely ignores loads of the keyboard shortcuts many of us take for granted. Fair enough, ctrl-c, -x and -v do as you would expect, but then these are almost written in stone. But what about inserting a page-break? Ctrl-enter, as in Word and about a billion other apps? No way. Ctrl-S it is, I think. Barmy. Does Ctrl-A select the whole document? Nope. It inserts a frigging column break! Gah. Delete a whole question? I would go for ctrl-backspace, but no (that doesn’t seem to do anything). Ctrl-Y does the trick. Eh? And while I am at it, while they use the standard Microsoft icon set for the various toolbars, why did they decide to use a green tick sign for save, rather than the little disk everyone else uses?

Overall, though, apart from these things, Snap seems fairly competent. Being survey software, it is effectively a stripped down database attached to a stripped down stats package. But it works.

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