(Please note that older articles might not render correctly in mobile view.)
- Basic Set Up
- Dispatch Data
- Use Case: Dispatch a Link to the Data Record Document
- Use Case: Dispatching to Different Forms Based on an Answer
The Dispatch Data Destination takes selected data from one form and automatically dispatches it to a user through another form. This process is useful for a number of business functions, but is most commonly used for manager approvals of forms that users have submitted.
This destination streamlines workflows by allowing forms to be dispatched to users on-the-go from a mobile device. While saving administrators time by minimizing the need to access the web administration portal on a frequent basis, this data destination is also incredibly user-friendly, with no .csv files to download and upload.
The Dispatch Data Destination is best paired with a User Data Source. This data source provides a list of users to choose from; no maintenance of the list is required, as it updates immediately and automatically when any changes are made in the web portal. To learn more about what data types are supported for dispatch, please look at this help article: Data Formats and Supported Question and Data Types for Dispatching.
Create the data destination, selecting Dispatch Data Destination as the type.
- Name the destination, and link forms to it.
- Optionally configure Filtering.
- Configure Dispatch Data:
When the data destination executes, the Target Form will be dispatched to the selected user. Ensure the target form is set up to allow dispatching in the Form Properties tab of the form builder.
Select a user to receive the target form with dispatched data.
- Type in a username to always send to the same user
- Use data record expression language to send to a user chosen in the form. For example, a question labeled "Dispatch To" could contain a list of possible users populated by a User Data Source. To send to the chosen user, enter %a[Dispatch To].
- Dispatch to multiple users by separating usernames/DREL expressions with a comma or semi-colon. E.g. %a[Dispatch To]; firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: If using DREL, keep in mind that this field is looking for the username. Consequently, the answer to the "Dispatch To" field must exactly match a username -- not their user ID, Display Name, etc. If a value other than a username is found in the "Dispatch To" question, the dispatch will fail. When referencing the User Data Source in the form, be sure to either:
- Choose "Username" as the Display Column, and leave the Data Column empty, or;
- Choose any other column as the Display Column, and choose "Username" as the Data Column.
Note: %u[username] should be specified under "target username" in the dispatch destination to send the dispatch to a user, or use a static username value. This prevents errors should a user not have a display name on their user account.
Dispatch metadata gives your users key information about their assigned jobs, including notes, priority, due dates, and locations. This information can be forwarded on from the original dispatched form to the Dispatch Destination.
For information on what dispatch metadata is and how to use it, please read: Dispatch Metadata and Inbox Views
- Automatically carry forward metadata from the source form: This will ensure that any notes, priority, due date, or location information from the original form submission will be copied to the subsequent dispatch.
- Manually defining metadata to dispatch will overwrite that field's contents from the original form submission.
- You can either define static values (High priority, as in the screenshot below), or
- Use DREL to reference questions or answers in the source form submission to fill out Notes or Location (if appropriately formatted) in the dispatch metadata.
- For example: %a[Customer Name] - %a[ProblemDescription] in the Notes would place the answers to those questions into the dispatched form.
- Using a Due Date from the originating form submission requires any Date/Time question, and would be referenced using %a[Unique IDl].
- Using Location data from the originating form submission requires the use of %a[Unique ID][coordinates] from an appropriate Geostamp or Geo Location question.
Choose which data to send through the target form.
- Optionally check off "Automatically dispatch to questions with matching labels." This will take data from the dispatching form and automatically route it to questions in the Target Form with corresponding labels.
- Select questions in the Target Form to populate with data from the dispatching form.
*NOTE: If you are using conditional logic to "Set" an answer on a question, we highly recommend NOT dispatching to this question. The conditional logic and dispatched data may conflict and produce inconsistent results.
Files can be dispatched between questions of the following question types: camera, sketch pad, and signature. This can be useful for images that are specific to a job, like a site-specific floor plan, a chart for the mobile user to reference, or a sketch produced in a form from an earlier site visit or job estimate. A photo collected from a Camera control can be dispatched to a Sketch Pad control, and vice versa.
As with all control types, checking "Automatically dispatch to questions with matching label" will take data from the dispatching form and automatically route it to fields in the Target Form with corresponding Unique IDs. Read more about Unique IDs here.
To manually configure dispatching images from the dispatching form to the target form, configure as shown below. The Data Expression for answers that are images must be formatted as <contentType>|<bytes>. Please note that, unlike dispatching to simple text data types, static text cannot be included in the data expression when dispatching files. For more information, please see: Supported Question Types for Dispatching: Attachment Format.
The below example shows a photo collected by a question with the unique ID "Photo" that is configured to dispatch to a field with the unique ID "Photo1" in the Target Form.
There is no difference in the data expression formatting between camera, sketch pad, or signature controls; simply use the correct unique ID.
Dispatching Static Images
Rather than collecting an image from the dispatching form to dispatch, the Dispatch Data Destination can dispatch a static image to the Target Form. When dispatching images through this method, images must be Base64 encoded. Base64 encoding is typically done programmatically, but can also be done with an online tool like http://www.base64-image.de/. Images must be formatted as image/jpg(or png)|<base64 string here>.
Note: The Data Expression field is limited to 4000 characters, which is not enough to accomodate most Base64 strings. Consequently, static image dispatching is not recommended under most circumstances.
In cases where the recipient of a dispatch needs to view data record document of the dispatching form, the URL can be dispatched to them along with other data. This URL can then be launched from directly within the form using the data type launcher functionality. In this sample we will dispatch a web portal link to the data record .PDF.
In the Form Builder:
- Open the Target Form in the form builder.
- Add a URL control type (Text-> URL-> Textbox).
- Mouse over the question and Edit Properties.
- Enter the URL Properties tab and check off both "Allow the user to click the address to open the link" and "Open the link in the user's external browser".
- Save and close.
Data Destination Configuration:
- Edit the Data Destination. Enter the Dispatch Data tab.
- Enter the unique ID of the URL control type on the left hand side.
- On the right side, enter the URL as follows: " https://live.prontoforms.com/data/%r[id].pdf ". This will collect the data record reference ID of the data record that initiated the dispatch, and insert it to complete the link.
When configured as above, the recipient of the dispatch will receive a link to the completed data record, which they can then tap on to launch on their browser.
It is possible to use one "Dispatching Form" to dispatch data to a number of different forms. The dispatching form can be simple, with a few questions containing customer contact information, or it can be complex, making use of skip logic to hide questions not applicable to what the user has selected as a target form. In either case, a separate Dispatch Data Destination is required for each Target Form.
- In the Form Builder, create a dropdown question where a user can select a form name (from a data source or otherwise). For the purposes of this example, the unique IDl is "TargetForm", and one of the answers is "Work Order."
- Create a Dispatch Data Destination, and select "Work Order" as the Target Form.
- In the Data Destination Filtering tab, configure as shown below. The data destination for the "Work Order" form will only execute and dispatch to a user if "Work Order" is selected. Configure other data destinations for the other target forms similarly.