Try WQ: the kitchen sink demo for the citizen science infrastructure provided by wq ( Try WQ leverages the ERAV data model to provide an offline-capable web-based "form-builder", supporting arbitrary user-defined data collection campaigns.
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Try WQ!

This is the source code for Try WQ, the "kitchen sync" demo for the wq Framework as well as the vera data model. If you are new to wq, you can visit the Try WQ site online to experiment with it and see how everything works together.

If you are implementing your own wq-powered site, you will want to start by determining which data model to use. If you are using wq for the first time, we recommend using a simple relational model like that provided Species Tracker, rather the relatively complex ERAV model utilized by Try WQ. wq's data model documentation includes instructions for defining arbitrary relational models using the XLSForm and/or Django syntax. Once your data model is defined, wq start can automatically create templates for listing, displaying, and editing your data.

On the other hand, if you are interested in building your own "form-builder" or "campaign" based site with an ERAV-powered database structure, the source code here (and for vera) should be helpful as a starting point.

Implementation Details

The campaign edit screen incorporates a nested serializer to make it possible to manage parameter definitions together with the campaign (see the serializer code). The campaign edit template utilizes the wq/patterns.js plugin to append new parameter forms on the fly.

The observation edit screen also references the Parameter model, as part of the EAV structure provided by vera. To facilitate this, the Parameter model is registered as a primary model in addition to its nested registration under the campaign model. This dual registration is not officially supported by wq (see nested forms), so trywq/main.js includes an additional bit of JavaScript to ensure the parameter model is synced after any campaign edit.

Per the ERAV recommendations, observation editing is split across vera's Report/Event models, rather than a single Observation model. This makes a number of things more complicated, but is necessary to support the multiple-provenance capabilities of ERAV. The basic rule of thumb is that data entry uses the Report and Result models, while data analysis uses the Event and EventResult models. Every incoming report is automatically associated with a corresponding Event, which is created on the fly if necessary. The event fields are designated by a three-part natural key, which is referenced in the report edit template via HTML JSON forms-style field names:


In a typical vera implementation, the Site model is managed separately, with the assumption that the same locations will be visited several times to build up a time series of observations. To facilitate this, event[site][slug] is usually defined in the report edit template as a <select> foreign key lookup. For this demo, however, a wq/locate.js widget is used instead to request the latitude and longitude with each observation. The server automatically creates new sites on the fly as needed in a custom report serializer.

To implement a simple EAV structure for observation editing (i.e. without vera), you could forgo the natural key requirement by defining all of the necessary fields (including location attributes) directly on an Observation model, which is essentially how Species Tracker works (though Species Tracker is not EAV). Then, you can follow the instructions to define and register a custom EAV structure.

A number of important configuration options are set when each model is registered in vera automatically registers its associated models with wq.db's router, even if the models have been extended with custom versions. For that reason, Try WQ's includes a number of calls to update_config() and related methods rather than to register_model(). If you weren't using vera, these could be regular calls to router.register_model().

The report/event distinction is used in Try WQ to support a common use case: making it so a user can edit their own records when offline, but can also view records by other people when online. In Try WQ, the Event model is configured in such a way to make sure that it is always rendered on the server, to avoid taking up offline storage space. By contrast, the Report model is configured to download and persist records entered by the user in offline storage, while also allowing for viewing Reports from other users (by going to an Event and then clicking one of the associated Reports. The Report model templates are also set up to use background syncing via the outbox, versus the Campaign model which is explicitly set to sync in the foreground more like a traditional <form>.

This workflow could be implemented in a combined Observation model by configuring it like the Report model is configured in Try WQ: JSON version only includes user's data; HTML (server-rendered) version includes everyones data. The main trick would be getting the observations/ screen to show all entered records, since by default it would be rendered on the client and only show the user's locally stored records. One trick would be to append a short meaningless parameter to the URL (e.g. observations/?_=1 to trick wq/app.js into thinking it doesn't know how to handle the page (in which case it will automatically fall back to loading it from the server). The index template might then look something like this:

<ul data-role="listview">
    <a href="/observations/">View My Observations</a>
    <a href="/observations/?_=1">View All Observations</a>