Launching External Apps from Collect Forms

Launching external apps to populate single fields

ODK Collect can launch external applications to populate string, integer or decimal fields using the ex:intentString appearance. A value parameter that holds the current value for that field is passed to the application. Since v1.4.3, additional parameters can be specified. The names of these parameters are user defined and value is the only reserved name.


type name label appearance
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’)


<input appearance="ex:org.opendatakit.counter(form_id='counter-form', form_name='Counter Form', question_id='1', question_name='Counter')" ref="/counter/counter">
    <label>Click launch to start the counter app</label>

In the examples above, the parameters specified are form_id, form_name, question_id and question_name. Any number of extra parameters can be specified. The parameter values can be:

  • XPath expressions referring to other fields and including function calls
  • String literals defined in single quotes
  • Raw integers or decimals

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.


type name label appearance body::intent
begin_group mygroup Fields to populate field-list org.mycompany.myapp(my_text=’Some text’, uuid=/myform/meta/instanceID)
text sometext Some text    
integer someinteger Some integer    
<group ref="/myform/mygroup" appearance="field-list"
        intent="org.mycompany.myapp(my_text='Some text',
  <label>Fields to populate</label>
  <input ref="/myform/mygroup/sometext">
    <label>Some text</label>
  <input ref="/myform/mygroup/someinteger">
    <label>Some integer</label>

The intent attribute is only used when the group has an appearance of field-list. The format and the functionality of the intent value is the same as above. If bundle of values returned by the external application contains values whose keys match the type and the name of the sub-fields, then these values 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.