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App Overview

CommCare is a powerful data collection platform developed by Dimagi. It is an open-source platform, and is primarily best for mobile case management.

Data Model

CommCare data is primarily stored in forms and cases. Forms are the building blocks of applications and cases are used to track data on objects, usually people. Learn more about CommCare forms and cases at the links below.

Integration Use Cases

Example user stories:

  • As a community health worker I want to store patient data that was collected in rural areas with no internet access in Salesforce so I can better analyze the data being collected and make more informed recommendations.
  • As a teacher I want to set up automatic message alerts to my students in order to increase participation.

APIs & Integration Options

CommCare offers a number of integration options for extracting and/or loading data to and from CommCare HQ.


CommCare has different APIs for reading vs. updating data. Some helpful links:

Webhook: Forward cases and/or forms from CommCare to OpenFn using REST service

See CommCare docs on how to configure this webhook to "push" data to an external system like OpenFn. This option is great for real-time data forwarding.

In order to connect CommCare with OpenFn v2, you'll often need to set up CommCare data forwarding for individual forms, and for specific case types. Let's set up a connection to OpenFn and then see how to do each.

Creating a Connection

  1. Go to "Project Settings".
  2. Click "Connection Settings".
  3. Choose "Add Connection Settings" at the bottom
  4. Give the connection a name, and indicate email address(es) to send failure notifications to. See the CommCare docs for more on this..
  5. Paste the URL of the OpenFn webhook you want to forward data to
  6. If you have [webhook authentication] set up on OpenFn, add the authentication type, the username and password here
  7. You can test the connection, then save it


Forwarding Individual Forms

  1. Click over to "Data Forwarding".
  2. Under "Forward Forms", click "+ Add a service to forward to"
  3. Select the connection to forward the forms to set up following the steps above
  4. Name it
  5. Select "POST" HTTP Request Method
  6. Choose "JSON" as Payload Format
  7. Exclude any (eg. test) users - forms submitted by them won't be forwarded
  8. "XMLNSes of forms to include" lets you select which form(s) to forward by adding the XMLNSes of the required forms. Follow this CommCare guide to find the XMLNS of any form. To add multiple, separate them with commas, spaces or newlines. Leave empty to forward all forms.
  9. Hit "Start Forwarding" to save and activate


Forwarding Specific Case Types

  1. Go to "Data Forwarding".
  2. lick "+ Add a service to forward to" under "Forward Cases"
  3. Select the connection to forward the cases to
  4. Name the forwarder
  5. Select "POST" HTTP Request Method
  6. Choose "JSON" as Payload Format
  7. Select which case type(s) you want to forward, for example "patient"
  8. Exclude any (eg. test) users


Data Forwarding and OpenFn Workflow Design

A clean way and efficient way of designing CommCare webhook workflows on OpenFn v2 is to have a separate workflow handling each form and case type. As each of your OpenFn webhook workflows has a unique URL, you'll need to set up a separate CommCare connection for each, then use that connection to forward the relevant form or case type to OpenFn. So your CommCare Data Forwarding overview might look like this:

Data Forwarding Overview

While on OpenFn, you can set up one or multiple jobs to handle the form or case type received.

Form Workflow

Pulling Data From CommCare

You can also fetch data from CommCare initiated from an OpenFn workflow, by sending a GET request to one of CommCare's data APIs. You could use our http adaptor to achieve this. Fetching can be done on a scheduled basis, as a daily or monthly sync. This design also lends itself well to processing data in bulk.

App Setup & Integration Tips

App installation and configuration

App Versioning

Ensure that you are always using the latest app version when testing, by updating your app and checking that the version matches the latest version in CommCare HQ.

Exporting Metadata

Use this link to export form contents. This will give you access to all the question ids and labels in the CommCare form that are helpful for designing your integration and mapping data elements.

Unique Identifiers

  • As CommCare data is stored in forms and cases, there are two types of UIDs in CommCare: case_id & form id. You can search for a particular case or form submission in CommCare by using the Find Data by ID feature here: For example, if you received a submission in the OpenFn inbox that you would like to find in CommCare, search by form id. If you'd like to find a particular case (i.e. person, event, etc) search by case id.

  • In the OpenFn message: id is the unique identifier for the form submission image

  • case_id is the unique identifier for the case being updated by the form. For example, the case_id can be the UID for a person. image

N.B. Unique identifiers and hidden fields in CommCare forms: Make sure that unique identifiers for forms and objects are always in the form. If the unique identifier isn't relevant for the user, it can be added to the form as a hidden field. Learn more about hidden fields here:

Data Element Mapping Notes

Labels are generally not mapped in an integration because they represent text that is displayed to the CommCare user to facilitate easy use of the application. Ids however, represent actual data that should be mapped.

  • When mapping multiple choice questions, make sure to consider how the answer choices should map to the source/destination system.

CommCare Credentials

To connect to CommCare you'll need a username, password, host URL, and the "appId".

CommCare Credentials Menu

The username is your full email address and the "appId" is the UUID which designates your CommCare project as different from everyone elses. It can be found in the URL of your application when you first enter it from the project screen. I.e., the last part of this URL:

CommCare Cred

The raw JSON of your credential (for use in the CLI or when inspecting state.configuration) is defined in the CommCare Configuration section.

Common Errors

Docs in progress!

OpenFn Adaptors

OpenFn implementations can leverage both the HTTP and CommCare adaptors to connect with the CommCare API.

Implementation Examples