ODK Central v0.7

Each Central release is an opportunity to get community feedback on ongoing work, so check out the introduction and follow the instructions to try it out on our sandbox or your own machine!

Central is production ready!

You'll notice that we've removed the Beta tag from this release. We've also updated the who should use ODK Central? section in the introductory documentation for Central. We are still moving things around, we are still missing some features you may be used to from Aggregate, and some things like installation are still a little trickier than we would like, but we feel good about the reliability and integrity of your data in Central (as long as you enable backups, which you should always do in any system).

We also think Central packs some pretty compelling features: Projects, granular permissioning, managed encryption, OData access, native XLSForm imports (yes! see below), and more.

With that done, here are the usual release highlights.

Direct XLSForm Import

Thanks in large part to contributor Alex Patow, you can now directly import an XLSForm .xls or .xlsx file into Central when creating a new Form. Central will do the conversion for you using pyxform, and if anything goes wrong during that process you'll be able to see the error and warning messages.

Hopefully, this saves a lot of people some time and extra clicks.

Permissions: Set Form access per App User

Using the new Form Access tab in each Project, you can now control each App User's access to each Form individually. This way, you can hide Forms from users who do not need them. And when you are testing a new Form, you can ensure that only your test account has access to it until you are ready to roll it out.

We also moved the Form State selection (Open, Closing, Closed) to the same page, so you can see on a single screen all the settings controlling Form access for an entire Project at once.

You can read more about the Form Access tab (and see some screenshots) here.

Permissions: Project Viewer

Now, in addition to Project Manager, we offer the ability to make any user a Project Viewer. Viewers can only see the list of Forms, and see the Submissions for each Form, and nothing more. They can still export the submission data and access it over OData, but they cannot see or change any Project or Form settings.

Other Highlights

Thanks in part to feedback from our users and contributions from community developers, we have made the following improvements:

  • If you are using the client audits feature to log enumerator behaviour, Central will now glue all the individual submissions' client audit data files together into a single audit.csv file, just like Briefcase.
  • We relaxed Project Archival in general. Now, all it will do is sort archived Projects to the bottom of the Project list. You will still be able to use the Project as if it were not archived.
  • We fixed a number of stability and performance issues:
    • Forms with many repeats could sometimes hang on .csv.zip export. This should no longer happen. (reported by @dr_michaelmarks)
    • Forms with attachments would sometimes fail to export on .csv.zip export on 1GB machines. In many cases, this should no longer happen. If it still does, we have provided new instructions on how to reconfigure your server to improve this situation.
    • Larger Media File attachments should no longer get corrupted upon upload from the web interface (#99, reported by @Hayden_Boyd).
  • You can now export polylines and polygons (geotraces and geoshapes) in WKT format over OData (#232, reported by @Florian_May).

As always, we have updated our User Documentation and API Documentation for the latest changes. More notes about changes to the API for v0.7 can be found in the Changelog, which lists additions, breaking changes, and other things of note for each major release.

What's Next

Our next release, Central v0.8, will let you add/remove questions from a live form and enable easier testing of draft forms! For a longer term roadmap, read what's coming in Central over the next few years.