Automated Exports

Hi,

For the past year the organisation which I work for has been using ODK
Briefcase in combination with some Qlik software to automate all of our
data exports.
It has been really fantastic and changed the way we collect and analyse
data. The solution was quite a simple one but unfortunately reliant on
software which is not open source or free.
Therefore this system is not useful for sharing with other organisations.

What it has done is provided a great proof of concept for all of the
features which automated data exports needs.
We now understand the challenges of different platforms (ODK aggregate,
Ona, Kobo etc.) as well as alphabets (Latin, Arabic etc.) and form types
(Encrypted, with Media etc.).
The system we have used can send data to different locations based on the
form and its topic or based on the individual field and the sensitivity of
the data contained.

During the coming months I plan to start working with developers to create
a new product which has the same features and stability but which can be
made open source.
If possible I would like that this work can be a contribution to the
overall ODK project and that this functionality would eventually become a
part of ODK Briefcase.

If you would be interested in discussing this project, feel free to get in
touch.

Noel

Hi Noel,

Thanks for your email and your desire to contribute! We'd love to work
with you to make something that'll be broadly useful to the community.

Can you describe at a high level what functionality your product will
provide? Will it live server side or on the desktop?

Yaw

··· On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 5:35 AM, Noel O Boyle wrote: > > Hi, > > For the past year the organisation which I work for has been using ODK > Briefcase in combination with some Qlik software to automate all of our data > exports. > It has been really fantastic and changed the way we collect and analyse > data. The solution was quite a simple one but unfortunately reliant on > software which is not open source or free. > Therefore this system is not useful for sharing with other organisations. > > What it has done is provided a great proof of concept for all of the > features which automated data exports needs. > We now understand the challenges of different platforms (ODK aggregate, Ona, > Kobo etc.) as well as alphabets (Latin, Arabic etc.) and form types > (Encrypted, with Media etc.). > The system we have used can send data to different locations based on the > form and its topic or based on the individual field and the sensitivity of > the data contained. > > During the coming months I plan to start working with developers to create a > new product which has the same features and stability but which can be made > open source. > If possible I would like that this work can be a contribution to the overall > ODK project and that this functionality would eventually become a part of > ODK Briefcase. > > If you would be interested in discussing this project, feel free to get in > touch. > > Noel > > -- > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups > "ODK Developers" group. > To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an > email to opendatakit-developers+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. > For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

Hi Yaw,

Sorry for the delayed reply. While at Medair we run these processes on the
server side, I would prefer to design this functionality for desktop use as
this will make it accessible to more of the community. If designed for
desktop, then it could of course function on a server as well in a similar
way to which ODK briefcase currently does.

At the highest level the data extraction would function in the same way as
the ODK Briefcase currently does, however it would be scheduled to occur
automatically based on a timer, and each form could be sent to a different
location.
The different destinations for the data would enable distribution of
information to different user groups based on their access requirements.

There are one or two other little automations that we have found useful but
the above functionality is the basis. There have been two main benefits.
The first is that when we send the data nightly to locations which Health
and Wash staff can access, then they never need to make data requests, it
is always available and up to date. The second benefit is that it has
allowed us to create automated dashboards which use these CSV exports as a
data source and update with the same frequency.

The software would need to store the desired location for the export of
each form's data and to start a series of data exports automatically on a
regular basis.
We are currently achieving this simply by automatically calling ODK
briefcase from the CLI, with the various parameters as variables, and in
this way changing the script with each command line statement in accordance
with the needs of each form. It is not the most elegant solution but as I
am not from a software development background it was the easiest way to
improve this process and has been working successfully in many countries
for over a year now.

Please let me know if you have further questions about the intended
functionality. Would it be possible to discuss on Skype? I would be
interested in knowing more about how Nafundi can collaborate with NGOs in
the development process.

Best regards,

Noel

··· On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 10:37 PM, Yaw Anokwa wrote:

Hi Noel,

Thanks for your email and your desire to contribute! We'd love to work
with you to make something that'll be broadly useful to the community.

Can you describe at a high level what functionality your product will
provide? Will it live server side or on the desktop?

Yaw

On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 5:35 AM, Noel O Boyle noeloboyle88@gmail.com wrote:

Hi,

For the past year the organisation which I work for has been using ODK
Briefcase in combination with some Qlik software to automate all of our
data
exports.
It has been really fantastic and changed the way we collect and analyse
data. The solution was quite a simple one but unfortunately reliant on
software which is not open source or free.
Therefore this system is not useful for sharing with other organisations.

What it has done is provided a great proof of concept for all of the
features which automated data exports needs.
We now understand the challenges of different platforms (ODK aggregate,
Ona,
Kobo etc.) as well as alphabets (Latin, Arabic etc.) and form types
(Encrypted, with Media etc.).
The system we have used can send data to different locations based on the
form and its topic or based on the individual field and the sensitivity
of
the data contained.

During the coming months I plan to start working with developers to
create a
new product which has the same features and stability but which can be
made
open source.
If possible I would like that this work can be a contribution to the
overall
ODK project and that this functionality would eventually become a part of
ODK Briefcase.

If you would be interested in discussing this project, feel free to get
in
touch.

Noel

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Hi Noel,

Thank you for this additional detail! I understand that Skype would be
a little faster, but I think it's important to have this conversation
in public because then everyone can see and participate in the
discussion. It's also important because these discussions are nice for
the folks who might end up building this feature to refer to.

As far as the process, it's not Nafundi's, it's the ODK community's
and https://github.com/opendatakit/governance/blob/master/GOVERNANCE.md
has an overview.

Basically, for each feature you'd like to add to the project, you file
a feature request that details the problem you are trying to solve at
https://github.com/opendatakit/briefcase/issues/new. The project
committers will review that feature, make sure it's in line with the
goals of the project, try to build consensus around an approach, and
then someone (e.g., a volunteer from the community, a hired developer)
can take on that feature and build it. The code is then reviewed,
tested, and then merged by committers. ODK is a meritocracy, so
committers are chosen by the quality of their work.

The important part of this process is first trying to understand the
problem and building consensus around an approach. Without that, it's
hard for the code to be accepted into the project. So with that
context in mind, I wanted to ask about two issues you raised:
scheduling and writing exports to separate locations.

Briefcase's CLI mode can be run on a timer using cron (macOS, Linux)
and Task Scheduler (Windows). Were you aware of this? If not, I wonder
if we could make that functionality more obvious to users. Or perhaps
we provide a GUI to help generate the needed scripts? Something like
this: https://www.econtechnologies.com/images/cs/any-time1114.jpg

And the CLI mode can also write those exports to whatever locations
you specify in the CLI interface. Or rather, we can write to whatever
location on the file system you'd like. This works well if you have a
Dropbox folder or Google Drive folder already mounted with the
appropriate permissions for different groups of users. Is that what
you mean by distributing to different users?

Thanks,

Yaw

··· On Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 6:23 AM, Noel O Boyle wrote: > Hi Yaw, > > Sorry for the delayed reply. While at Medair we run these processes on the > server side, I would prefer to design this functionality for desktop use as > this will make it accessible to more of the community. If designed for > desktop, then it could of course function on a server as well in a similar > way to which ODK briefcase currently does. > > At the highest level the data extraction would function in the same way as > the ODK Briefcase currently does, however it would be scheduled to occur > automatically based on a timer, and each form could be sent to a different > location. > The different destinations for the data would enable distribution of > information to different user groups based on their access requirements. > > There are one or two other little automations that we have found useful but > the above functionality is the basis. There have been two main benefits. > The first is that when we send the data nightly to locations which Health > and Wash staff can access, then they never need to make data requests, it is > always available and up to date. The second benefit is that it has allowed > us to create automated dashboards which use these CSV exports as a data > source and update with the same frequency. > > The software would need to store the desired location for the export of each > form's data and to start a series of data exports automatically on a regular > basis. > We are currently achieving this simply by automatically calling ODK > briefcase from the CLI, with the various parameters as variables, and in > this way changing the script with each command line statement in accordance > with the needs of each form. It is not the most elegant solution but as I > am not from a software development background it was the easiest way to > improve this process and has been working successfully in many countries for > over a year now. > > Please let me know if you have further questions about the intended > functionality. Would it be possible to discuss on Skype? I would be > interested in knowing more about how Nafundi can collaborate with NGOs in > the development process. > > Best regards, > > Noel > > > On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 10:37 PM, Yaw Anokwa wrote: >> >> Hi Noel, >> >> Thanks for your email and your desire to contribute! We'd love to work >> with you to make something that'll be broadly useful to the community. >> >> Can you describe at a high level what functionality your product will >> provide? Will it live server side or on the desktop? >> >> Yaw >> >> On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 5:35 AM, Noel O Boyle wrote: >> > >> > Hi, >> > >> > For the past year the organisation which I work for has been using ODK >> > Briefcase in combination with some Qlik software to automate all of our >> > data >> > exports. >> > It has been really fantastic and changed the way we collect and analyse >> > data. The solution was quite a simple one but unfortunately reliant on >> > software which is not open source or free. >> > Therefore this system is not useful for sharing with other >> > organisations. >> > >> > What it has done is provided a great proof of concept for all of the >> > features which automated data exports needs. >> > We now understand the challenges of different platforms (ODK aggregate, >> > Ona, >> > Kobo etc.) as well as alphabets (Latin, Arabic etc.) and form types >> > (Encrypted, with Media etc.). >> > The system we have used can send data to different locations based on >> > the >> > form and its topic or based on the individual field and the sensitivity >> > of >> > the data contained. >> > >> > During the coming months I plan to start working with developers to >> > create a >> > new product which has the same features and stability but which can be >> > made >> > open source. >> > If possible I would like that this work can be a contribution to the >> > overall >> > ODK project and that this functionality would eventually become a part >> > of >> > ODK Briefcase. >> > >> > If you would be interested in discussing this project, feel free to get >> > in >> > touch. >> > >> > Noel >> > >> > -- >> > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google >> > Groups >> > "ODK Developers" group. >> > To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send >> > an >> > email to opendatakit-developers+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. >> > For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout. >> >> -- >> You received this message because you are subscribed to a topic in the >> Google Groups "ODK Developers" group. >> To unsubscribe from this topic, visit >> https://groups.google.com/d/topic/opendatakit-developers/9I5LDSo_Phk/unsubscribe. >> To unsubscribe from this group and all its topics, send an email to >> opendatakit-developers+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. >> For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout. > > > -- > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups > "ODK Developers" group. > To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an > email to opendatakit-developers+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. > For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

Hi Yaw,

Yes I am aware of the possibility of using Task Scheduler, however because
its not included in the interface many organisations where technical skills
are limited, will not use this feature.
Your description of the user groups is exactly as envisaged yes. Most of
the functionality described is already possible to achieve but not easy to
manage with large numbers of forms.
For large numbers of forms I think it is necessary to have an overview
screen where passwords, URLs, destination folders, Private Key locations
and other variables can be reviewed and modified together.

In Medair we used an Excel table which is read and provides all the
"instructions" needed for ODK Briefcase to update a large number of forms
in different countries according to the requirements of each one.
While a table format has proved very user friendly, typing these inputs
into excel is of course extremely limiting and there are no checks on
correct file paths etc.
We also made some additions to the export process, like changing the
character codes so that Arabic and other non-Latin alphabets display
correctly when the CSV file is opened in excel.

[image: Inline image 2]

What I would like to do next is some wider market research. This would
give an idea of how widely such features would be used.
Would the github group you have mentioned be likely to provide this
feedback or do people use their own contacts in the NGO world to get
feedback on new ideas?

Many thanks,

Noel

··· On Sat, Apr 22, 2017 at 3:47 AM, Yaw Anokwa wrote:

Hi Noel,

Thank you for this additional detail! I understand that Skype would be
a little faster, but I think it's important to have this conversation
in public because then everyone can see and participate in the
discussion. It's also important because these discussions are nice for
the folks who might end up building this feature to refer to.

As far as the process, it's not Nafundi's, it's the ODK community's
and https://github.com/opendatakit/governance/blob/master/GOVERNANCE.md
has an overview.

Basically, for each feature you'd like to add to the project, you file
a feature request that details the problem you are trying to solve at
https://github.com/opendatakit/briefcase/issues/new. The project
committers will review that feature, make sure it's in line with the
goals of the project, try to build consensus around an approach, and
then someone (e.g., a volunteer from the community, a hired developer)
can take on that feature and build it. The code is then reviewed,
tested, and then merged by committers. ODK is a meritocracy, so
committers are chosen by the quality of their work.

The important part of this process is first trying to understand the
problem and building consensus around an approach. Without that, it's
hard for the code to be accepted into the project. So with that
context in mind, I wanted to ask about two issues you raised:
scheduling and writing exports to separate locations.

Briefcase's CLI mode can be run on a timer using cron (macOS, Linux)
and Task Scheduler (Windows). Were you aware of this? If not, I wonder
if we could make that functionality more obvious to users. Or perhaps
we provide a GUI to help generate the needed scripts? Something like
this: https://www.econtechnologies.com/images/cs/any-time1114.jpg

And the CLI mode can also write those exports to whatever locations
you specify in the CLI interface. Or rather, we can write to whatever
location on the file system you'd like. This works well if you have a
Dropbox folder or Google Drive folder already mounted with the
appropriate permissions for different groups of users. Is that what
you mean by distributing to different users?

Thanks,

Yaw

On Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 6:23 AM, Noel O Boyle noeloboyle88@gmail.com wrote:

Hi Yaw,

Sorry for the delayed reply. While at Medair we run these processes on
the
server side, I would prefer to design this functionality for desktop use
as
this will make it accessible to more of the community. If designed for
desktop, then it could of course function on a server as well in a
similar
way to which ODK briefcase currently does.

At the highest level the data extraction would function in the same way
as
the ODK Briefcase currently does, however it would be scheduled to occur
automatically based on a timer, and each form could be sent to a
different
location.
The different destinations for the data would enable distribution of
information to different user groups based on their access requirements.

There are one or two other little automations that we have found useful
but
the above functionality is the basis. There have been two main benefits.
The first is that when we send the data nightly to locations which Health
and Wash staff can access, then they never need to make data requests,
it is
always available and up to date. The second benefit is that it has
allowed
us to create automated dashboards which use these CSV exports as a data
source and update with the same frequency.

The software would need to store the desired location for the export of
each
form's data and to start a series of data exports automatically on a
regular
basis.
We are currently achieving this simply by automatically calling ODK
briefcase from the CLI, with the various parameters as variables, and in
this way changing the script with each command line statement in
accordance
with the needs of each form. It is not the most elegant solution but as
I
am not from a software development background it was the easiest way to
improve this process and has been working successfully in many countries
for
over a year now.

Please let me know if you have further questions about the intended
functionality. Would it be possible to discuss on Skype? I would be
interested in knowing more about how Nafundi can collaborate with NGOs in
the development process.

Best regards,

Noel

On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 10:37 PM, Yaw Anokwa yanokwa@nafundi.com wrote:

Hi Noel,

Thanks for your email and your desire to contribute! We'd love to work
with you to make something that'll be broadly useful to the community.

Can you describe at a high level what functionality your product will
provide? Will it live server side or on the desktop?

Yaw

On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 5:35 AM, Noel O Boyle noeloboyle88@gmail.com wrote:

Hi,

For the past year the organisation which I work for has been using ODK
Briefcase in combination with some Qlik software to automate all of
our

data
exports.
It has been really fantastic and changed the way we collect and
analyse

data. The solution was quite a simple one but unfortunately reliant
on

software which is not open source or free.
Therefore this system is not useful for sharing with other
organisations.

What it has done is provided a great proof of concept for all of the
features which automated data exports needs.
We now understand the challenges of different platforms (ODK
aggregate,

Ona,
Kobo etc.) as well as alphabets (Latin, Arabic etc.) and form types
(Encrypted, with Media etc.).
The system we have used can send data to different locations based on
the
form and its topic or based on the individual field and the
sensitivity

of
the data contained.

During the coming months I plan to start working with developers to
create a
new product which has the same features and stability but which can be
made
open source.
If possible I would like that this work can be a contribution to the
overall
ODK project and that this functionality would eventually become a part
of
ODK Briefcase.

If you would be interested in discussing this project, feel free to
get

in
touch.

Noel

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Groups
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Hi Noel,

Asking the community lists/forum is always a good idea. And once you have a
sense of what they needs are, go from there. From what you've described,
this sounds like a nice addition to ODK Briefcase.

As to the additions to the export process, that sounds like a great
contribution. Please file an issue describing the problem at
https://github.com/opendatakit/briefcase/issues, then send in a pull
request with your code changes.

I'll be happy to review it and get it merged.

Yaw

··· On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 10:47 PM, Noel O Boyle wrote:

Hi Yaw,

Yes I am aware of the possibility of using Task Scheduler, however because
its not included in the interface many organisations where technical skills
are limited, will not use this feature.
Your description of the user groups is exactly as envisaged yes. Most of
the functionality described is already possible to achieve but not easy to
manage with large numbers of forms.
For large numbers of forms I think it is necessary to have an overview
screen where passwords, URLs, destination folders, Private Key locations
and other variables can be reviewed and modified together.

In Medair we used an Excel table which is read and provides all the
"instructions" needed for ODK Briefcase to update a large number of forms
in different countries according to the requirements of each one.
While a table format has proved very user friendly, typing these inputs
into excel is of course extremely limiting and there are no checks on
correct file paths etc.
We also made some additions to the export process, like changing the
character codes so that Arabic and other non-Latin alphabets display
correctly when the CSV file is opened in excel.

[image: Inline image 2]

What I would like to do next is some wider market research. This would
give an idea of how widely such features would be used.
Would the github group you have mentioned be likely to provide this
feedback or do people use their own contacts in the NGO world to get
feedback on new ideas?

Many thanks,

Noel

On Sat, Apr 22, 2017 at 3:47 AM, Yaw Anokwa yanokwa@nafundi.com wrote:

Hi Noel,

Thank you for this additional detail! I understand that Skype would be
a little faster, but I think it's important to have this conversation
in public because then everyone can see and participate in the
discussion. It's also important because these discussions are nice for
the folks who might end up building this feature to refer to.

As far as the process, it's not Nafundi's, it's the ODK community's
and https://github.com/opendatakit/governance/blob/master/GOVERNANCE.md
has an overview.

Basically, for each feature you'd like to add to the project, you file
a feature request that details the problem you are trying to solve at
https://github.com/opendatakit/briefcase/issues/new. The project
committers will review that feature, make sure it's in line with the
goals of the project, try to build consensus around an approach, and
then someone (e.g., a volunteer from the community, a hired developer)
can take on that feature and build it. The code is then reviewed,
tested, and then merged by committers. ODK is a meritocracy, so
committers are chosen by the quality of their work.

The important part of this process is first trying to understand the
problem and building consensus around an approach. Without that, it's
hard for the code to be accepted into the project. So with that
context in mind, I wanted to ask about two issues you raised:
scheduling and writing exports to separate locations.

Briefcase's CLI mode can be run on a timer using cron (macOS, Linux)
and Task Scheduler (Windows). Were you aware of this? If not, I wonder
if we could make that functionality more obvious to users. Or perhaps
we provide a GUI to help generate the needed scripts? Something like
this: https://www.econtechnologies.com/images/cs/any-time1114.jpg

And the CLI mode can also write those exports to whatever locations
you specify in the CLI interface. Or rather, we can write to whatever
location on the file system you'd like. This works well if you have a
Dropbox folder or Google Drive folder already mounted with the
appropriate permissions for different groups of users. Is that what
you mean by distributing to different users?

Thanks,

Yaw

On Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 6:23 AM, Noel O Boyle noeloboyle88@gmail.com wrote:

Hi Yaw,

Sorry for the delayed reply. While at Medair we run these processes on
the
server side, I would prefer to design this functionality for desktop
use as
this will make it accessible to more of the community. If designed for
desktop, then it could of course function on a server as well in a
similar
way to which ODK briefcase currently does.

At the highest level the data extraction would function in the same way
as
the ODK Briefcase currently does, however it would be scheduled to occur
automatically based on a timer, and each form could be sent to a
different
location.
The different destinations for the data would enable distribution of
information to different user groups based on their access requirements.

There are one or two other little automations that we have found useful
but
the above functionality is the basis. There have been two main
benefits.
The first is that when we send the data nightly to locations which
Health
and Wash staff can access, then they never need to make data requests,
it is
always available and up to date. The second benefit is that it has
allowed
us to create automated dashboards which use these CSV exports as a data
source and update with the same frequency.

The software would need to store the desired location for the export of
each
form's data and to start a series of data exports automatically on a
regular
basis.
We are currently achieving this simply by automatically calling ODK
briefcase from the CLI, with the various parameters as variables, and in
this way changing the script with each command line statement in
accordance
with the needs of each form. It is not the most elegant solution but
as I
am not from a software development background it was the easiest way to
improve this process and has been working successfully in many
countries for
over a year now.

Please let me know if you have further questions about the intended
functionality. Would it be possible to discuss on Skype? I would be
interested in knowing more about how Nafundi can collaborate with NGOs
in
the development process.

Best regards,

Noel

On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 10:37 PM, Yaw Anokwa yanokwa@nafundi.com wrote:

Hi Noel,

Thanks for your email and your desire to contribute! We'd love to work
with you to make something that'll be broadly useful to the community.

Can you describe at a high level what functionality your product will
provide? Will it live server side or on the desktop?

Yaw

On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 5:35 AM, Noel O Boyle noeloboyle88@gmail.com wrote:

Hi,

For the past year the organisation which I work for has been using
ODK

Briefcase in combination with some Qlik software to automate all of
our

data
exports.
It has been really fantastic and changed the way we collect and
analyse

data. The solution was quite a simple one but unfortunately reliant
on

software which is not open source or free.
Therefore this system is not useful for sharing with other
organisations.

What it has done is provided a great proof of concept for all of the
features which automated data exports needs.
We now understand the challenges of different platforms (ODK
aggregate,

Ona,
Kobo etc.) as well as alphabets (Latin, Arabic etc.) and form types
(Encrypted, with Media etc.).
The system we have used can send data to different locations based on
the
form and its topic or based on the individual field and the
sensitivity

of
the data contained.

During the coming months I plan to start working with developers to
create a
new product which has the same features and stability but which can
be

made
open source.
If possible I would like that this work can be a contribution to the
overall
ODK project and that this functionality would eventually become a
part

of
ODK Briefcase.

If you would be interested in discussing this project, feel free to
get

in
touch.

Noel

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