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Zen Cart External Polling

Zen Cart External Polling

External Polling is a Zen Cart™ contribution which allows a shopowner to present polls (and optionally, their results) to customers.

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Relevance: Zen Cart™ 1.3.0 - 1.3.9, 1.5.x

Location: Zen Cart Plugins, under Sideboxes.

Download: Download External Polling contribution from Zen Cart Plugins

Current Version: 1.0 (version history)

Support Thread: External Polling Contribution Support Thread


This contribution allows you to easily add and change polls in your Zen Cart. You must first create an account with a hosted polling service, such as Survey Monkey. (I have no connection to Survey Monkey; I just think they offer a good product. You may use whichever hosted polling service you prefer.)

The following options are provided by the External Polling Contribution:
  • URL of poll
  • Whether to open poll in a new browser window
  • URL of poll result
  • Whether to open poll result in a new browser window
  • Whether to allow guests to take polls
Switching from one poll to another is as simple as modifying these admin settings; no code changes are required.


Q: What's the difference between the External Polling Contribution and Poll Manager?
A: Poll Manager allows you to design simple polls and host them on your own site. It is available here.

The External Polling Contribution depends on an external system for poll hosting. Because of this, it is much smaller and easier to install.

Q: What are my options for hosted survey providers?
A: A quick Google search for "hosted web polls" or "hosted web surveys" will give you some ideas. Many providers are out there. Typically providers offering "free" polls will serve up advertising with your poll; it's up to you as to whether this is acceptable. I thought SurveyMonkey offered a good balance between ease-of-use and price. Another moderately priced, feature rich product is SurveyMethods.com. In the free space, I liked Zoho Polls, but it is more limited than either SurveyMonkey or SurveyMethods.

Q: I'd like to use a JavaScript based tool like MicroPoll that would run in a page on my site. Can I do this with the External Poll Contribution?
A: Services like MicroPoll give you a bunch of code (typically JavaScript) instead of a single URL. So it would be possible, but it would be more work, and you would lose the ability to change the poll simply through the admin panel; changing the poll would involve programming.

The steps you would need to take would be:
  • Grab the About Us Contribution, and use it to create a page to contain the poll. Let's say you call the page poll (instead of about_us).
  • Your poll code would go in the file includes/templates/custom/templates/tpl_poll_default.php (which was tpl_about_us_default.php)
  • In Admin > Configuration > External Poll URL, enter the value index.php?main_page=poll
  • Repeat these steps if result presentation is desired.
  • To change the poll at a later date, paste the new JavaScript/PHP into tpl_poll_default.php.