8.2.4 Modifiying and redeploying a form
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Type of change
How to adapt your already deployed form or Basics steps to adapt an already depoyed form
- (Specific to major change) Create a copy of your project and rename it
- Modify your form
- Send your already collected data to the server
- Deploy your adapted form
- Upload your adapted form to the smartphone/tablet
Modifiying and redeploying a form that is already ongoing in the field – although often easier than it used to be seeing how technology has evolved - should not be taken lightly, as the risks of losing data can still be there. You should therefore first of course save a dataset of existing data and then consider the impact of the change you want to make. For what we call “major changes”, we recommend a specific procedure be followed to protect you from any data loss. On this point, the tables on type of change will help you determine what can be considered a major change and what would be more minor.
|Type of change in the form||Example|
|Modify the question’s label*||You are not satisfied with question A2.1’s label, and thus want to modify it.|
|Modify the list of choices||You want to add “Do not know” to a Yes or No type of question.|
|Modify a constraint or constraint message||You want to avoid having a “-1” answer to the question about the number of household members and thus modify the question’s constraint to avoid any negative numbers.|
|Modify the “required” column||You want to make questions A1, A2 and A5 mandatory.|
|Modify the “relevant” column||You want question B2.2 to appear only if the answer to B2.1 is “yes”.|
|Modify the “calculation” column||You want to modify a question sum calculation to a percentage calculation (Keep in mind however that this will create an inconsistency in your dataset)|
If you want a clarification on the difference between a question name and label in a form, you can also consult section 5.5.2 Naming variables and options.
|Type of change in the form||Example||Risk incurred|
|Change the type of question||You want to change the question type of a question from select_one to select_multiple.||The whole database might crash and you might thus lose all the data already collected.|
|Change the name* of question||You want to change “gender” to “sex” (as a name) for a specific question||Lose data and previously submitted forms.|
|Delete a question/several questions||You realize that question C4 was relevant in village A, but not in village B. You thus decide to delete this question completely.||Data collected in village A from question C4 will be lost; The whole database might crash and you might thus lose all the data already collected.|
|Remove group||You no longer find the need to have questions grouped||Affects the data structure|
|Add group||If old data were not in a group||Affects the way the data exports are presented and the data structure|
On the “Project” page of KoBoToolbox, click on “Clone” on the line of your project. The server will then ask you to rename it: rename it by giving it another version (for example V2 as the initial project is V1, or V3 if the previous version was V2).
Your newly created project will be found in the “Draft” section of the server.
You have two ways to modify your form and both have different prerequisites:
- Modify your form on XLSForm – prerequisite: have a fairly good knowledge of XLSForm (and sufficient internet connexion to download the XLSForm if you started your project in KoBoToolbox and reupload it to KoBoToolbox after the modifications).
- Modify your form online (on KoBoToolbox) – prerequisite: have a good Internet connection.
If you do so, do not forget to reload your form on the server before proceeding to the next step.
Have a look to section 5.6.2 Getting started with the form builder - How to adapt an existing XLSForm that provides some best practices for adapting an existing XLSForm.
Some important aspects to keep in mind:
- Create a second version of your form and save it to your files (versioning 1 ). Versioning will help you avoid any confusion as to which form you used for which data collection (or which part of a data collection), which is the most up-to-date etc.
- When satisfied enough with your modifications, do not forget to extensively test the form to make sure that everything is correct and works well. In Mobile Data Collection, testing is key to a successful and smooth data collection, cleaning and analysis!
In order to modify your form on KoBoToolbox , select the project and click on “Edit”.
You can then modify your form directly online.
Feel free to use the tutorials in section 5.6 Building your form starting with 126.96.36.199 Getting started with the form builder - i. Starting with KoBoToolbox online form builder – Basic User.
Do not forget to regularly save your modifications by clicking on “Save” in order to avoid losing your modifications and having to start all over again because of connection problems.
Also, make sure to regularly test your form by clicking on “Preview” to verify that the form has been correctly modified. Finally, make sure to download the finalised XLSForm from the KoBoToolbox Form builder by clicking on “Download XLS” and to save it in your files for back-up purposes (i.e. in case you unwillingly delete the whole project from KoBoToolbox).
When you are fully satisfied with the modifications brought to your form, you have to send all the data that you have already collected from the smartphone/tablet to the server.
Check that all the forms are already finalized on your smartphone/tablet.
Go to “Edit Saved Form” and click on all the forms that have a “Saved” status. For each one of them, go to the end of the form, tick the “Mark form as finalized” box and click on “Save Form and Exit”.
Send all the finalized forms to the server. Go to “Send Finalized Form”, tick all the forms and click on “Send Selected”.
What happens if you forget to first send the collected data to the server? In order to be able to send the collected data to the server, ODK/Kobo Collect on your smartphone/tablet needs to know the exact location to which it needs to send it. When you modify your already deployed form, even slightly, the server will replace the initial version of the form by the modified one. The initial version of the form to which the already collected data relates to will not be visible on the server anymore. Thus, the smartphone/tablet will try to send the collected data to the server through a link that might be not valid anymore (the initial form doesn’t exist anymore).
When you have uploaded a new version of your XLSForm, it will appear in the “Current version” (undeployed) section. In order to make the form public and visible on the smartphone/tablet, you will need to deploy it by clicking on “Redeploy”. The system will then inform you that it will have to “overwrite the existing deployment” in order to do so. As you have already sent the already collected data through the existing deployment, you acknowledge it by clicking on “OK”. Your form is now redeployed and ready to be uploaded on the smartphones/tablets.
Your new form and project have been automatically put in “Draft version” format and are not visible for the smartphone/tablet yet. In order to make them public and visible on the smartphone/tablet, you will need to deploy it by clicking on “Deploy”.
Your form is now deployed (along with your previous version) and ready to be uploaded on the smartphone/tablet.
Delete previous forms on the smartphone/tablet. Before uploading the new form and in order to avoid confusion among enumerators as to which form to use on the survey, you have to first delete the initial form on your smartphone/tablet. By doing so, go to “Delete Saved Form”, “Blank Forms” select the form to be deleted (here “My survey_V2”) and click on “Delete Selected”.
Warning: Make sure you followed the sending steps (check that all the forms are already finalised and sent to the server) beforehand as otherwise you won’t be able anymore.
Upload your adapted form on the smartphone/tablet. You can now upload your new form by going to “Get Blank Form”, selecting your new form and clicking on “Get Selected”. In case of minor change, it will be the same form “My survey_V2””:
In case of major change, it will be a new form “My survey_V3””:
You can now have access to your adapted form through the “Fill Blank Form” option. In case of minor change, it will be the same form “My survey_V2”:
In case of major change, it will be a new form “My survey_V3”:
Warning: At this stage, if you are still able to see the old form, it means that you haven’t followed deployement step correctly.