Getting Started

There are several stages to the development of a CommCare application, with important questions to consider at each stage.

  1. What is the context of the project?
    1. Who are the beneficiaries?
    2. Who are the users?
    3. What are the data needs?
  2. Define the structure: menus and forms
    1. What are the major events (i.e. registration, monthly visits, meetings, etc.)?
    2. What is the structure of the community or intervention
    3. How can the structure be optimized for usability/help the mobile user?
  3. Define the content
    1. What will the multimedia content be?
    2. What counseling messages need to be included?
    3. What questions or calculations should be in each form?

Stage 1: Application Purpose and Requirements

When developing an application, the first step is to "define" the application. The worksheet walks through the major questions outlined above and is meant to get the app designer thinking about the possible structure of the app. It also helps to understand how complex the program will be, and what type of resources will be required (i.e. multimedia development, approval of health counseling messages, etc.). 


See this video for more detail on completing the first worksheet:

Stage 2: Defining Your Workflow

In the next stage, it is important to dive into more detail about how to structure your application. Here are some the steps the field team takes at this stage:

Some specific questions for consideration:

Here is an example of a basic workflow mockup with some relevant questions:

See the CommCare General Workflow Suggestions for more detail on some of these issues. Other relevant context in CommCare Fundamentals - Applications and Case Management.

Stage 3: Defining the Application Content

After your overall concept and workflow have been defined, it's time to dive into the content. At this stage you can start to fill in the specific content of each form.

This worksheet can be a good tool for populating all of the information for each form and specifying how it will all link together. This Excel file can be an easy way to iterate on content and structure before starting to build the application.

Application Specifications ("Definitions") for Reference

After a prototype application has been developed form the work sheet, an Excel "definition file" can be exported form CommCare (see Export Form Contents). The definition file is an easy way to quickly iterate on an application, as it is in a familiar format (Excel).

Open Source Application Specs


Workflow Suggestions

Here are some common workflows and suggestions on how you can design an application to support them: