Inconsistent behavior for text + multiline, on Collect vs Enketo

1. What is the issue? Please be detailed.

I ran across a reference in the forums, stating that the appearance "multiline" was supported by mainline ODK. I created a form to test this, and tried with both Enketo and Collect.

I note that "multiline" is indeed in some degree supported, but there are significant inconsistencies in behavior between Collect and Enketo.

Via Enketo: (via the UI from Central)

  • widget is displayed multiple lines tall
  • widget has a resizing handle (vertical change only)
  • trailing empty lines are trimmed from the saved data

Via Collect: (on a 10" android tablet)

  • widget is displayed a single line tall, until pressing ENTER causes additional lines to be added
  • widget does not display any kind of resizing handle
  • trailing empty lines are preserved within the saved data

If there is a formal specification for the intended behavior, I have not found it thus far.
Absent such a specification, it seems like the desired behavior would be:

  • Consistent across Enketo + Collect in regards to what data is saved
  • Consistent across Enketo + Collect in GUI behavior, possibly with variances due to different screen sizes, platform expectations, and the like


  • The widget should be initially displayed with a multi-line appearance (2 or 3 lines tall)
  • Regarding data handling such as (trim leading blank lines, condense internal multiple consecutive blank lines, trim trailing blank lines), all clients should have identical behavior.

2. What steps can we take to reproduce this issue?

  • Create a form with a text field with appearance = multiline, and test on Enketo and Collect (via making submissions, and downloading submissions data to compare).

3. What have you tried to fix the issue?

(Pending some additional testing to nail down the exact behavior with leading / trailing / multiple consecutive blank lines.)

4. Upload any test forms or screenshots below.