ODK Central v1.3

We are excited to announce a new release of ODK Central, the ODK server.

If you haven't used Central, the easiest way to get started is with ODK Cloud. Our cloud hosting provides Central servers with automatic updates, daily backups, uptime guarantees, and fast support.

If you are technical and prefer to self-host and rely on community support, start with our installation docs.

If you are using ODK Cloud, we’ll be rolling out these updates in the coming days. If you are not using ODK Cloud, follow the upgrade instructions for upgrading to ODK Central v1.3.

:warning: Managed backups include all of your collected data but do not include sufficient information to re-establish the same Web Form links. If you use managed backups and Web Form links, read this. :warning:

Release Overview

Version 1.3 of ODK Central fixes a number of bugs and adds granular Submission edit history, as well as opt-in usage reporting to the Central team.

Submission Edit History

Now in the Submission Detail page (you can find this by clicking on More on any row in the Submissions table), you will find a detailed description about each data edit. You can see which fields were changed, and how. Please note that while Central will show you the differences between two versions of a Submission, it can't know the exact steps you took to make those changes. In some cases, especially with repeat groups, the exact actions and the displayed information won't exactly match. The edited information will always be exactly as you have given it.

Anonymized Usage Information

Central now gives you the option to opt in to usage reporting to the Central team. By default, no usage information will be sent at all. But we can't make the right decisions to support our community unless we know how ODK, and Central, are being used. You can choose to anonymously report your usage of Central to the team in the System tab of Central, under Usage Reporting. You will be able to see exactly the information we would like to collect before it is sent, and we will never send your actual collected data.

Other Highlights

Thanks in part to feedback from our users, we have made a number of additional improvements.

  • The Server Audit Log will now log additional actions: the Audit Log will indicate when a user logs in and when a user downloads all Submissions from the Submissions page.
  • Add the ability to preview Markdown when commenting on a Submission.
  • Central is now available in Italian. A big thank-you to @aurdipas and @Gianfrancesco_Ferra1 for contributing these translations! If your language is missing from Central, please contribute it.
  • Add the ability to filter OData by the Submission update timestamp over the API.
  • Include all groups in OData, even if they are not relevant. Thanks to @vlehn for reporting this issue!
  • In v1.2, when the version name of a Draft Form was changed as the Draft was published, the XLSForm would not be saved. This has been fixed.
  • Allow downloads to have Unicode filenames. Thanks to @mdrudi for reporting this issue!
  • Export a decrypted client audit log when downloading the Submissions of an encrypted Form. Thanks to @Thalie for reporting this issue!
  • Fix an issue where the server could hang after an incorrect passphrase was provided for decryption. Thanks to @Thalie and @Florian_May for reporting this issue!
  • Whenever the server is upgraded, Central will now show a message in the browser recommending a page refresh. We have also clarified a related error message. Thanks to @Thalie for reporting this issue!
  • Show a more informative error message when a search() appearance is invalid in a Form. Thanks to @coenecorys for reporting this issue!
  • Add options for connecting to a custom database server. Thanks to @Jan_Vrana and @Florian_May for reporting this issue!
  • Server logs will now be rotated to clear up disk space. This should not affect most users, but administrators who rely on the logs should be aware that we will now only retain the most recent 30 log files.
  • When uploading forms, reduce warnings when using unlabeled groups and warn when sheet names are likely misspelled
  • Add support for last-saved while adding or editing forms in web browser.
  • Upgrade dependencies.

As always, we have updated our User Documentation and API Documentation for the latest changes.

More notes about changes to the API for v1.3 can be found in the API Changelog, which lists additions, breaking changes, and other things of note for each major release.

What’s Next

To learn more about the roadmap for Central, read What’s coming in Central over the next few years.


ODK Central v1.3.1 is now available. It fixes an issue related to certbot that prevented users from completing a new installation of Central.


ODK Central v1.3.2 is now available. It includes the following changes:

  • When downloading a file in Chrome in earlier versions of v1.3, the file name would contain filename_=UTF-8''. This has been fixed.
  • Strip XML prefix from field names in Submission edit history
  • Export the Submissions CSV with the same number of columns in each row
  • Allow a Submission’s client audit log to have a variable number of columns
  • Add tag of the central repository to version.txt
  • Update translations
  • Update Enketo
    • New browser submissions with defaults in URL query string are now accepted.
    • Media files with spaces in their file name now load in the browser.
    • Form loading in Firefox's private browsing mode now works.
  • Update pyxform
    • Forms can use the allow-mock-accuracy parameter to allow external GPS to report accuracy.

ODK Central v1.3.3 is now available. It includes the following changes:

  • Fix LetsEncrypt renewal failures
  • Remove warning message from odk-cmd command line tool
  • Update Enketo
    • Public Access Links with media and Forms with non-ASCII Form IDs now load as expected