[OPENMRS-DEV] XForms module review

PIH has been using InfoPath (horrible) and moving as quickly as possible away from that.

Here are some impressions from 2 hours of fiddling around with the XForms module:

The things I love about the XForms module: converts an xsn file, handles multiple languages for the form (although it’s not clear if this is fully designed/implemented), it’s not InfoPath and proprietary, provides a simple option for the non-programmer, provides a wysiwyg interface AND communicates with mobile devices and provides an “offline” mode

This is my wish list of improvements:

  • graphical “view” of form from patient dashboard (XForms tab), not list of fields

  • repeat tag

  • layout the form with tables, images, and other html tags

  • css instead or in addition to Layout xml

  • undo / redo buttons

Here are some areas that require documentation, clarification or tweaking:

  • Save as… doesn’t appear to work in the designer

  • Edit of form/encounter on patient dashboard (XForms tab) produces NPE.

  • What is the process for creating a new form? Here’s my guess, but it should be clearly documented:

    1. CREATE NEW FORM: Admin -> Xforms -> Patient Xform design? (design form and then Save as…) NOTE: I assume that you need to save on the local pc, but it doesn’t allow save for me

    2. ADD FORM: Admin -> Form -> Manage form? (upload Xform, but see previous problem)

    3. ADD PATIENT DATA: Form appears in patient dashboard (Xform tab). Asks about “Add an encounter”, but this is really a dropdown of forms, not encounters.

  • Too many options to do the same thing (toolbar, right click, and menu pulldowns)

  • Administration -> Xforms -> Medical history field? How should this work? No documentation

  • Difference between “XForms Designer” and “Patient XForm Design”?

  • By default, the Xforms designer should not replace the browser window. I would have expected it to open a new tab or browser or window.

  • Xforms designer issues

    o Absolute positioning of “widgets” allows for overlapping items. Should be method to permit relative position.

    o Same width / same height make 2 items the same, but not necessarily in the direction you’d want. For example, select 2 items with different width, select “same width” and the 1st one becomes the width of the 2nd.

    o File -> Save as… saves things where? Same for Save and Save as XHTML

    o View -> Shows only “Refresh”. What is that?

    o Help -> “AboutOpenMRS XForms Designer” doesn’t help

    o Model Xml - What is this for?

Overall I am very impressed with XForms module. Kudos to Daniel and team for the hard work.

Full disclosure: PIH has been using htmlforms for the past 4 months. This was developed by Darius. I find it easy to modify the html and specialty tags. It is simple to find/modify everything in one file. It would be great if the best of Xforms and htmlforms were merged into one amazing module.

Ellen Ball

Partners In Health


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ellen Ball eball@pih.org
Date: Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 8:07 PM

Subject: [OPENMRS-DEV] XForms module review
To: openmrs-devel-l@listserv.iupui.edu

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Knut Staring