Monthly Archives: October 2015

Version 15.10


Save edited forms in XLS

The Smap online editor is still under development however there are some edits you can currently do. These include:

  • Adding images, audio and video to questions and choices
  • Adding CSV files to look up values for choices
  • Modify appearance
  • Changing the question text
  • Change the form’s display name
  • Change the project that the form belongs to

It si not recommended that you add questions, as the online editor is a long way from being mature. It is recommended that you do any edits other than media, and appearance in the xlsForm editor.

If you make changes in the online editor you can now download this changed form as an xlsForm by selecting the download button next to the form name on the admin page.  Then select “Edited XLS Form”.   You can still get the original xlsForm that you uploaded, complete with any annotations and formatting, by selecting “XLS Form”.

The downloaded form will be in Microsoft Excel xlsx format.

Change the Instance Name

This has been added to the online editor.  When you complete a form in fieldTask it creates a new instance which is shown in the task list.  The name of this instance can be created from answers in the survey.  So for example you could see your instances in the fieldTask main screen with the name of the householder that you are interviewing.  This can be useful if you have to stop an interview part way through and then resume it later.  For this example the instance name might look like this:


You can specify the instance name in the settings worksheet of your xlsForm, however if you want to change it after loading the form then you can now:

  • Open the form in the online editor by clicking on its name
  • Select “File” from the menut and then “Settings”
  • Update the instance name and Save

Paging in Web Forms and Zarkman Mobile

Using the magic of Enketo you can now view your question on pages like in fieldTask. The difference is:

  • With fieldTask, by default there is one question per page but if you group some questions using the appearance “field-list” then these will be shown on the one page
  • With webForms and ZM, be default all the questions are on a single page but if you group some question, again using the appearance “field-list” then these will also be shown together on a separate page.

Another difference is that with WebForms and ZM this only works in the top level form and not in sub-forms.

If you specify pages in your form then “Prev” and “Next” buttons will be added to the bottom of each page.


Bug Fixes

  • If you were loading choices from a CSV file and you specified a search in the appearance column of a form, but you also specified another appearance value first, then the csv file would have caused this problem: “quick search(‘locdetails’, ‘matches’, ‘domain’,’locTypes’)”. It sets an appearance of “quick” so that as soon as the user select a “choice” the next question will be shown.  It also specifies the search that will retrieve the choices from a CSV file.   This now works.  Thanks to Grable Services for finding this bug.

Installing your own server

The updated server is now available for download from


Version 15.10.02

  • Fixed issue with duplicate instance names being created in the database if you specify an instance name in the settings dialog of an xlsForm.  This is a critical issue that will stop data being loaded into the results table and if you have version 15.10.01 you should upgrade to 15.10.02
  • Back up smap.conf and smap-ssl.conf apache configuration files before overwriting them.  This overwriting happens when upgrading to version 15.09 so it could happen, which would be a little annoying, if you delete the “smap_version” text file in the home directory of your installation.  In version 15.10.02 you will be able to recover any customisations you may have made to these two files.

Version 15.10.03

  • Fixed some issues with instance name creation.  This was failing if there were no spaces around a reference to a question.  Ie “concat(‘Householder: ‘, ${name})” used to fail because there is no space after the closing curly bracket.

Version 15.10.04

  • Fixed issue where duplicates can be created under certain circumstances.

Version 15.10.05

  • Fixed issue where child records in a form could not be marked as bad.

Zarkman Mobile for Android, iPhone and iPad

Zarkman Mobile is now in the google play store and Apple App store (search for zarkman) .



An Android phone with Android 2.3.3 or greater.

You need a hosted Smap Server that has version 15.09 or later.

Getting Connected

By default ZM is configured to connect to the Zarkman application server.  To connect to a Smap server you need to:

  • Select the menu. This is the button with 3 horizontal lines at the top left of the app.
  • Select “Settings”
  • Enable diagnostic mode.  (I need to change this label, its not just for diagnostics, although this is how I switch to my development server for testing).
  • Enter the name of the server into the “Test Server” box.   To use sg, just enter “sg”
  • Select change server
  • You will then need to logon
  • If you don’t have a user account on the sg server you can use:
  •     user: zm_test
  •    password: zm_test

Synchronising with the server

Either drag down on the forms screen or press Menu | Refresh

This will get new forms from the server and submit finished results.

Other Actions

  •  Select a form to complete it.
  • Select the records tab to view completed forms
  • Swipe left on the records tab to make a completed form into a template

Version 15.09

Finally version 15.09 is available.  The last release was 15.04 way back in April.  The reason for the long delay has been the development of the hybrid iOS / Android app Zarkman Mobile.  Hence the other changes to the system are relatively minor.

Zarkman Mobile

Zarkman Mobile is available for download from google play store and Apple app store.

Zarkman Mobile can only be used with Zarkman servers and hosted Smap servers. A “hosted Smap server” is one that is installed by Smap and has a domain name ending in  Ie

Other Features


Hindi has been added as a language on the server thanks to a contribution from SDRC.  Unfortunately I haven’t made available any more pages for translations so there is still a lot of English text.  In fact the server may have gone backwards a little in this respect.

Loading templates with data

More details in This requires the latest version of fieldTask which is included in this release and is in Google Play Store.  This feature allows you to do “red-lining” that is mark up an image by drawing on it as the answer to a question.

Data Cleaning – Set codes

You can now update any text question based on the results in another text question.   This allows you to set codes to correspond to arbitrary text. For example if you have 10 rows where the value of a text questions is:  “two wheeled vehicle”. Then you can set a code in another question for that answer.

Formatting of PDF export of templates

The formattng has been improved and there are a number of appearance options you can specify to change the columns, background colours and sizes of the table cells.

Appearance Result Comments
pdfno Question will not be included in a PDF download Available version 15.09
pdflabelw_## Set the width of the question label.  Replace “##” with a number from 0 to 10. Available version 15.09

Setting the width to 10 will make the question answer appear on the next line.

pdfheight_## Set the height of the box allowed for the question answer.  This is in points. Available version 15.09


This value only applies when exporting a blank template.  If there is data in the export then the size of the data will determine the height of the box.  A value of 150 would be roughly 10 rows.

pdfcols_##_##_##…. Each ## is a column.  Replace each one with a number indicating the width of the column, all of these numbers should add up to 10.  Hence the maximum number of columns is 10. Available version 15.09


For example:


3 columns



Two equal sized columns


Single column

The column settings apply to the question that you add the appearance to, and all subsequent questions until it is overridden by another pdfcols appearance.

pdflabelbg_##_##_## Sets the background color for the label.  Use Hex RGB values Available version 15.09


For example:


Set the background to red.

pdfvaluebg_##_##_## Sets the background color for the value.  Use Hex RGB values Available version 15.09


For example:


Set the background to red.

pdfspace_## Insert a gap in the table before this question. The spacing is in points. 1/72 of an inch.
pdfnewpage Start the question on a new page  
pdflabelcaps Put the label in capitals  
pdflabelbold Make the label bold  
pdfaddto_xxxxx replace xxxxx with the name of another question.  The answer to the question that has this appearance will be appended to the answer of the specified question. Answers from different question are comma separated.  Commonly you would use this on an “other please specify” question and you would also set the appearance “pdfno” so that the other response appears with the select question.

Bugs Fixed

  • If you attempt to export a survey with a “#” in its name then the export will fail. The # will now be replaced by an underscore.
  • There was no validation on “from” and “to” dates in the settings dialog in analysis.  These are now validated and you can select the date from a calendar.
  • If you used placement-map as an appearance option for a geopoing question then the map was not being shown. The google maps now works.
  • The word “null” will no longer appear as its name when you temporarily save a form.  This name can be set from the answers to questions in the survey, this feature is set up in the “settings” tab of the xls form.  However if you don’t specify the instance_name there then the name shown in fieldTask will now be set to the name of the form.
  • Added filtering on “whole of survey” table panels.  Previously date filtering only worked when querying on a specific question.  Now you can view results for a date range or a data value.

Installing your own server

Version 15.09 is available for download from

Apache Web Server version 2.2 is no longer supported.  You should install Apache version 2.4 prior to upgrading to Smap 15.09.  There have also been changes to the way the Apache web server configuration is set up.  Please check the readme file included in the tar file.

Note initially version 15.09.03 was made available for download.  This has now been updated to 15.09.04.  The most significant issue was in the smap.conf which is the apache2 configuration for accessing the sever without encryption.  If you installed the older version and you arn’t using https then send an email to the smap-suite google group and I will send you the updated configuration file. This update also fixes a bug with creating new organisations.