What's New in Ona: Release Notes


We’re constantly working to improve Ona, but we’ve overlooked letting the world know what’s been updated. To fix this, we’ve added Release Notes to keep track of updates in each release. We’ll also be sending monthly email summaries to those of you on the mailing list. Here’s the latest summary:

Chart Improvements

We’ve added a few things to charts that make them more useful. For starters, you can now group one field by another. This feature is supported for select one category fields. We’ve also added the ability to define custom colors for pie charts and stacked bar charts. This is an extension of the work from last year that allowed specifying colors for responses on the Ona maps. With our new interactive charts it is now also possible to save charts to a dashboard, allowing you to quickly refer to the charts you are most interested in. In addition to these new features, we’ve made performance improvements that should make the charts interface more snappy.

Aggregated Chart

Exports With HXL

We’ve enabled support for HXL-enabled forms on form downloads and exports. Humanitarian Exchange Language (HXL) is a standard for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of data exchange during humanitarian crises.

Coming Soon

We’ll soon be supporting exports to Google Sheets, which will allow users to push data to a spreadsheet Google Drive. Users will be able to authenticate and either send data to an existing sheet or a new sheet. A live update option will ensure that the Google sheet is updated every time the Ona form receives new data.

Working with Data in the Unix Shell


I recently gave a talk at a data science meetup organized by the good people at iHub Research, on using Unix shell tools to work with data. It was primarily a hands-on workshop, but the slides I prepared may be useful to those who couldn’t make it. You can find the presentation embedded below.

Introducing ona.R - Easily use Ona in R


One of the great things about the R programming language is the thousands of packages users have written to solve problems in areas of data import, data wrangling and data visualization.

We’re glad to introduce ona.R, a package that helps you import data from your Ona account into R. This package is a direct fork of Prabhas Pokharel’s awesome formhub.R library. As we work to improve ona.R, we’ll work to ensure it can be easily used with platforms like Formhub.

 Continue reading Introducing ona.R - Easily use Ona in R...

OpenSRP Nairobi technology sprint, take two!


OpenSRP whiteboard notes

In mid-March, Ona hosted the second OpenSRP engineering sprint, bringing engineers from around the world to Ona’s Nairobi office. Engineering partners from SID (Indonesia), mPower (Bangladesh), IHS (Pakistan), OpenMRS, ThoughtWorks and Jembi (South Africa) joined the sprint to enhance the user experience and performance of OpenSRP, an mHealth platform that empowers frontline health workers in developing countries to deliver more effective healthcare. Ona is the technology lead on OpenSRP, coordinating engineering efforts among teams.

 Continue reading OpenSRP Nairobi technology sprint, take two!...

Five additions to the Ona team


Ona in nairobi

Two weeks ago, the entire Ona team was together in Nairobi. It was a great opportunity to take a pic outside our office.

If you look at the photo carefully, you’ll notice we’ve added a few vital roles. A warm welcome to Faith, James, Njagi, Rosalia and Sandra.

Faith is joining our support team to work with customers using data for positive social impact. She has a data analysis background and a BSc. in Mathematics and Computer Science. She is an avid traveler.

James is joining our OpenSRP team as Technical Manager. He will be working with engineers from IRD in Pakistan, SID in Indonesia and mPower in Bangladesh to build a next-gen frontline health worker app. James has contributed to the ROK mobile project and MyFitnessPal, among others, and advocates the KISS principle.

Njagi is joining the Ona platform team as an engineering intern. He is currently at Moi University working towards a Bachelor of Science in Informatics, Computer Software Engineering. He is an avid contributor and developer of free and open source software.

Rosalia is joining Ona as Operations Manager. She has 8+ years’ experience in developing financial systems, implementing internal controls, budget planning, procurement, property management and HR management. Rosalia has an MBA in Finance from U.S. International University, CPA-K and BBA in Finance and Accounting.

Sandra is joining the engineering team as Software Engineer in Test. She will lead the testing and quality assurance effort at Ona. She enjoys mentoring with youth incubation centres to demystify STEM to young girls and was awarded for these efforts as a 2014 TechWomen emerging leader.

Welcome to the team, everyone!