Keeping Track of "begin group" and "end group"

I am fairly new to XLSForm, but I have found three things help me to keep track of what I am doing.

  1. I create a column A called comments. In this columns I write notes to explain to myself what I am doing. Useful when I come back a few days later!

  2. I keep a counter in my comments columns to make sure the number of "begin groups" matches the number of "end groups." I was getting lost when I needed to create complex nesting.

The formula (in Excel) for counting instances of begin and end groups in Column B (my type column) looks like this:

=COUNTIF(B1:B352,"begin group")
=COUNTIF(B1:B352,"end group")

If the number does not match, I know I am going to have a problem.

  1. I have also taken to using the (unneeded) name in my "end group." I simply find it easier to track that way.

I know these are tips from a novice, and there may be a better way, but all these things have helped me. I hope someone finds them useful too -- or can suggest a better way of doing things.


1 Like

Thanks for sharing these tips, @lbiggie! I like to do the following:

  1. Make sure to name both the begin group and end group
  2. Use Excel's background colors to color coordinate them
  3. Use filters to only show groups to make sure I'm not missing any.

Probably the biggest tip I can share is to do the form design incrementally. I do one small section of the form, convert and test on a device, then continue to another section.

If you are comfortable on the command line, you can use pyxform and adb to do this really quickly. The pyxform section at the bottom of should help!

Thank you so much for the response.

I think I am at the point where I think I do need to move to a real language that gives me more control.