Deploying form definitions and server datasets

We try as much as possible to illustrate how features, form design strategies, and data collection workflows work through samples you can deploy. These samples can include a form definition and/or server dataset that is ready and available to upload to your server. For example, the computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) starter kit includes a sample form, cases dataset, and sample case data. Read on to learn how to easily deploy these types of files on your SurveyCTO server so that you can start testing and learning.

Order of deployment is important, so please follow the order of this article. You cannot deploy a server dataset that's attached to a form, or has publishing setup from a form, until that form has been deployed.

1. Readying the files

Have the files ready for upload. They can either be files saved on your computer, or files saved in Google Drive.

If the file is read-only and saved in a Google Drive, open it, and it will be the first file listed when you go to upload your files from the SurveyCTO server console (see section 2, step 5 below). This works even if you don't own the file, such as if it is a sample file provided by us at SurveyCTO.

If they are saved in Google Drive, if you prefer, you can download them to your computer. To do so, right-click each file, and click Download. You can also highlight all files, right-click them, and click Download, and the files will be compressed into a .zip file and downloaded.

If the form definition is opened is a Google Spreadsheet, you can download it from FileDownloadMicrosoft Excel (.xlsx). You can also save a copy to your own Google Drive by going to FileMake a copy.

2. Deploy form definitions

For each form definition spreadsheet (there may only be one), follow these steps:

  1. Login to your SurveyCTO server console, and go to the Design tab.
  2. Click on a "+" button on the left.
    1. If you have not yet uploaded any forms, click on Add your first form.
  3. Click on Upload form definition.
  4. If the form definition is saved in Google Drive, click Upload from Google Drive.
  5. Under Please choose a form file to upload (or Select a form file if you are uploading from Google Drive), click +Select file, and pick the spreadsheet file.
  6. If there are form attachments (such as .csv files, images, or field plug-ins, but not server datasets, which we'll get to later), under Select one or more files to upload, click + Add files, and pick the attachment files. If there are multiple attachments, you can highlight multiple files and click Open (or Select). You can also attach them later (see step 8).
  7. Click Upload.
  8. If there are additional files to attach to the form (other than server datasets):
    1. For the form that was just deployed, click Edit.
    2. In the tab that opens, on the top, click Form settings.
    3. Click Edit form settings.
    4. Under Attached files near the bottom, click Attach.
      1. If they are field plug-ins, instead click the Attach button under Attached field plug-ins.
    5. Pick the file(s) you would like to attach to the form.
    6. Click Upload.
    7. Repeat steps d-f for each file you would like to upload.
    8. Click Save on the upper-left.
    9. On the top, click Save, then Save and deploy.

Repeat these steps for each form definition.

3. Deploy server datasets, including cases datasets

If the forms use server datasets (including a cases datasets), upload them after the form definitions have been deployed. Form definitions contain information about which forms they are attached to, as well as how dataset publishing is set up.

  1. Log into your SurveyCTO server console, and go to the Design tab.
  2. Click on a "+" button on the left.
  3. Click on Add server dataset.
  4. Pick the New dataset from definition option.
  5. If the form definition is saved in Google Drive, click Upload from Google Drive.
  6. Click on +Select file, and pick the dataset definition .xml file.
  7. Click on Upload a dataset definition.

Repeat these steps for each dataset definition.

4. Populate the server datasets

When you first upload the server datasets, they will be empty. If the dataset definition came with a data file file, follow these steps to populate the datasets with data.

  1. Log into your SurveyCTO server console, and go to the Design tab.
  2. Under the title of one of the server datasets, click on Upload.
  3. If the form definition is saved in Google Drive, click Upload from Google Drive.
  4. Under File with new dataset contents, click on +Select file, and pick the data file (either a CSV, Excel, or Google Sheets file) that contains the dataset data.
  5. Append, merge, or replace are fine (it doesn't matter when it is empty).
  6. Click on Upload.

Repeat these steps for each server dataset.

Further reading

To learn more, check these links:

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