Launching External Apps¶
Launching external apps to populate single fields¶
ODK Collect can launch external applications using the
ex:intentAction(intentExtras) appearance on string, integer or decimal fields. The application launched could be one that the enumerator uses and quits without Collect needing any data from it. For example, a form could configure the Maps.me application to provide directions to a destination and not need any information back from the app. An external application could also be used to populate the string, integer or decimal field that launched it. In order to populate a field, the app that is launched must be designed to returned a value as described in the external app design section below.
This feature configures an Android intent. Intents are messaging objects used to request an action from another app component. Learn more in the Android docs.
Collect builds the action using the text immediately after
ex: and before an opening parenthesis (if it exists). For example, in the string
ex:org.opendatakit.counter(intentExtras), the action name is
org.opendatakit.counter. An action name must include a namespace, such as
com.google. For example,
ex:org.opendatakit.counter is valid but
ex:counter is not.
The parameters defined in the optional parentheses represent extended data ("extras") to be added to the intent. Extras are specified by a comma-delimited list of
name=value pairs. The text to the left of the equals sign represents the extra name and may require a namespace. The text to the right of the equals sign represents the extra value.
The values of extras can be:
- XPath expressions referring to other fields and including function calls
- String literals defined in single quotes
- Raw integers or decimals
An extra named
value that holds the current value for the current field is always passed with the intent. Since v1.4.3, additional parameters with user-defined names can be specified. There are two reserved names:
Since Collect v1.16.0, the data that the intent operates on can be set by using the reserved uri_data parameter. This is particularly useful for implicit intents such as
|integer||counter||Click launch to start the counter app||ex:org.opendatakit.counter(form_id='counter-form', form_name='Counter Form', question_id='1', question_name='Counter')|
In the examples above, the extras specified have names
Designing an external app to return a single value to Collect¶
When an activity that is launched returns to Collect, Collect will look for an intent extra named
value and use its value to populate the field that triggered the application launch. See a counter app to see an example of how this is done.
Launching external apps to populate multiple fields¶
Since v1.4.3, a
field-list group can have an
intent attribute that allows an external application to populate it. Notice that the
ex: prefix used when populating a single field is not included to populate multiple fields.
|begin_group||mygroup||Fields to populate||field-list||org.mycompany.myapp(my_text='Some text', uuid=/myform/meta/instanceID)|
<group ref="/myform/mygroup" appearance="field-list" intent="org.mycompany.myapp(my_text='Some text', uuid=/myform/meta/instanceID)"> <label>Fields to populate</label> <input ref="/myform/mygroup/sometext"> <label>Some text</label> </input> <input ref="/myform/mygroup/someinteger"> <label>Some integer</label> </input> </group>
intent attribute is only used when the group has an
field-list. The format and the functionality of the
intent value is the same as above. If the bundle of values returned by the external application contains values with keys that match the type and the name of the sub-fields, then the values from the bundle overwrite the current values of those sub-fields.
The external app is launched with the parameters that are defined in the intent string plus the values of all the sub-fields that are either text, decimal, or integer. Any other sub-field is invisible to the external app.
Specifying a URI as intent data¶
Since Collect v1.16.0, the value for the reserved parameter name
uri_data is converted to a URI and used as the data for the intent. The intent data determines which application to launch when using implicit intents such as SENDTO. For example:
- Launches a new message in an SMS app with the destination number set to
5555555and the message body set to the contents of the
- Launches a new message in an email app with destination address set to
firstname.lastname@example.org, the subject set to the contents of the
subjectfield and the body set to the contents of the
- Launches a phone dialer with the number
5555555as the number to dial.
Notice that the URI must include a scheme, such as