ODK 1 Developer Calls

An action item out of the ODK1 Product Strategy Discussion breakout session at the convening-2017 (notes here) was a...

monthly call with developers (facilitated by not @yanokwa)

This is the thread for the organization of the call. Subscribe to and watch this thread if you want to be involved in this.


It was so wonderful to put faces to names at the convening and I think occasional face time would be a great way to stay connected (especially with those who couldn't be there!) and make incremental progress.

Maybe we could start with folks who are interested sharing their timezone and availability (e.g. weekdays after 7pm only, weekends, etc). Would be nice to throw out some potential topics, too. I imagine we'd go into some concrete problem solving that would be a bit technical but anyone would certainly be welcome.

Topic ideas

I'm in PST and can be very flexible.

I would prefer something 09:00-21:00 Eastern time.

My druthers would be early-riser Eastern time, but depending on the frequency I could probably do pretty much anything from 6AM EST to 7PM EST. Topics of largest interest to me are test coverage, refactoring FormEntryActivity (and more MVC-style refactoring in general), and the Aggregate re-write!

I'm on board. I think any time 9-6 pacific, M-F, would work for me. (with enough notice ahead of time)

A call sounds great! Any time 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Eastern Time works well for me.

This sounds really great. Count me in too

Great idea. California waking hours. UTC-8(7).

I'm in too. 9-5 Eastern is best for me.

I know I wasn't supposed to facilitate, but I can't help myself, so here's my proposal.

Date, time, frequency
We should have a monthly developer call from 14-15 UTC (10-11 Eastern time, 7-8 Pacific time) on the first Wednesday of every month.

There must be a call leader and a call note taker for each call.

The call leader will build the agenda from the topics posted to a shared document and will facilitate the discussion. The note taker will take notes on that shared document during the call to document key decision points.

At the end of the call, a new call leader and note taker will be chosen for the next call.

I think we should hold the call using UberConference because I've used it before and it's pretty lovely. I've set it up already at https://www.uberconference.com/opendatakit.

I think the shared document should be Etherpad because it's embeddable in Discourse or other platforms, but I'm open to other ideas. I can commit to setting up whatever infrastructure is needed.

I think the first call should be August 2nd, 2017. I think the first call leader should be @yanokwa and the first note taker will be @LN .

  • I love this and I will be there on August 2nd
  • I love this but this time is impossible for me in general
  • I hate this and I will describe my objections below

0 voters

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@yanokwa referencing your question in another thread about note-taking tools..

What about whatever provides live editing and multiple contributors during the call itself and then just copy/paste the notes (after the call participants have a chance to look them over) into a thread on the forum? Instead of trying to settle on a platform that provides the desired editing features as well as an acceptable storage repository?


This is a reminder that we have a call on August 2nd from 14-15 UTC! My goal for this first call is for everyone to be acquainted and get a sense of the developer community's priorities. Here's my tentative agenda.

  • Introductions
    • Who you are
    • What are you working on
    • What do you want to get out of these calls
  • Tentative priorities for this month
    • Nominees for a technical steering committee
    • Generating a strawman of a roadmap
    • Making ODK Aggregate contributable
    • Adding analytics to Briefcase

Anything you would like to see added?

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It might be nice to hear a quick (dev-centric) recap/plan "on behalf of" the PMC about the changes that were proposed/suggested out of the big meeting in Seattle at the end of June. Would be especially helpful for those who weren't able to attend in-person.

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The big takeaways from the call are:

  • The reason for being on the calls ranges from connecting with other devs to figuring out what is coming next.
  • We need more non-Nafundi people on the call. We'll also need to communicate what attendees get by participating and manually recruit. That's the first step to a technical steering committee.
  • @yanokwa and @ln will put together a strawman roadmap to get conservations started about features.
  • Code review is a bottleneck. @jamesknight will be helping with Collect. @dcbriccetti will be helping with Briefcase.
  • Docs effort is important so we can document architecture, mental models, so others can help with archaeology. https://docs.opendatakit.org is a good start.
  • We need to build more contributor capacity on Aggregate. Perhaps SolDevelo can help based on their Aggregate future plans post.
  • Welcoming and helping folks on the Slack and forum is important and we should do it (Be like @danbjoseph!)
  • Monthly releases still seem like a reasonable approach
  • Ad-hoc meetings work well, but we might also do an office hour

The full notes from the call are here:

The next call is:
September 6, 2017 from 14-15 UTC

Who would like to lead the next call? And who would like to take notes?

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I really enjoyed the last dev call and can facilitate the next one on Wednesday September 6, 2017 from 14-15UTC. Anyone willing to be the notes point person?

Below are some topic ideas.

Go over status of action items from last meeting:

  • Code review - a lot more eyes on pull requests which is A++, Dave has really gotten things moving on Briefcase
  • Docs website - http://docs.opendatakit.org/ lots of progress; process for deprecating old docs?
  • ODK Aggregate - new README and instructions are being written
  • Technical steering committee - UW survey with call for volunteer closed 8/31
  • Strawman roadmap
  • Google Summer of Code was big success -- @Shobhit_Agarwal do you want to say a few words about your experience?

Possible theme: interacting with data outside the form
This is a big area of feature requests. Implementations and specifications have gotten muddied so there's an opportunity for tightening things by sharing knowledge and ideas.

Knowledge sharing: @dcbriccetti, @martijnr and/or @michal_dudzinski could talk about external secondary instances (XML) and why they matter and also potential extensions to artificial instances and CSV handling. In particularly, why CSV handling is valuable even in a world where pulldata/search/external itemsets exist.

Discussion of needs from external data proposals in Features category. @TomSmyth, maybe you'd like to talk about your proposal?

For those whom I've tagged above, are you interested and available? Anything else that anyone wants to discuss?


Reminder that the dev call will take place tomorrow!

I have spoken with @Shobhit_Agarwal and he will say a few words about his GSoC experience.

@dcbriccetti @martijnr @michal_dudzinski are any of you interested in talking about external secondary instances? @tomsmyth Do you want to talk about some ideas you have for interacting with data outside the form?

Let's do a quick poll to see who will be there

  • I will be on the call Wednesday September 6, 2017 from 14 to 15UTC (see in my timezone)
  • I can't make it this time but am interested in future calls

0 voters

Yes I'm happy to talk about whatever :slight_smile:


Yes, I can talk about external secondary instances.


The developer call is in about 15 minutes. Please join at https://www.uberconference.com/opendatakit

We will use the same notes document here.

Talk to you soon!

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The full (but short) notes from our recent call are here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hszoTRzWG5W04JXgcBzE7BcdEZGB75lA8tftTNZ5lzA5.

For those who just want the highlights:

  • We had about 15 participants from Nafundi, Ona, Enketo, Carter Center, DIAL, Redcross, and of course individual contributors. It's a nice increase over the first call.

  • We covered the status of the action items from the last meeting. We've had big wins in code review and the docs website. Not so big wins on ODK Aggregate and making real progress on the technical steering committee and a technical roadmap. @yanokwa vowed to make progress on those fronts. Of course, he vowed that on the last call, but he was more vowey this time.

  • On the docs front, @adammichaelwood explained the scope of docs.opendatakit.org (anything that has to do with installing, using, developing on ODK) and how developers can contribute (read the docs and file issues).

  • There was great knowledge sharing from @martijnr on the importance of external secondary instances and a good question and answer session about why it was never implemented properly to begin with and how we can prevent that class of mistakes.

  • @Shobhit_Agarwal reported on his Google Summer of Code experienced and said he planned to continue working on ODK.

  • @tomsmyth discussed his feature request of setting arbitrary key-value pairs under the Form Metadata. More at Custom form metadata

The next call is: October 4, 2017 from 14-15 UTC

@ln and @yanokwa will be on a field visit to Somalia(!) during this time. We'll try to join, but there might not be a great connection.

Who would like to lead call? And who would like to take notes?

Some potential topics: