They say a picture is worth 1,000 words.
That also applies to photos of devices in your commissioning project.
Commissioning forms contain a lot of numeric data, checklists, and the like
Commissioning forms can be very technical. For example, a transmitter calibration form might contain input and output signal values for 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% for rising and falling tests in As-Found and As-Left states. This is difficult to explain with just words (which is a classic example of a picture being worth 1K words), so here’s a screenshot of this:
But sometimes, you need pictures too
While hard data makes up the vast majority of commissioning information, sometimes you need a picture or two to clarify.
So we made it super easy to take pictures right from within your commissioning input forms and punchlist forms. We also made it ridiculously simple to view these pictures from the Cx dashboard. And we also made it fairly simple to consume these pictures via the XForms APIs. So you could, for example, take photos of a device, and have those photos make their way into your cloud storage account (e.g., OneDrive, DropBox, Box, Sharefile), Sharepoint, or other internal tool automatically, with no human involvement.
How’s that for nifty?
Let’s walk through the different aspects of XForms Cx’s photo features:
Image controls that let you customize your user’s photo capture experience
Right out of the box, XForms can drive your device camera (even laptop cameras), select images from your photo gallery, and draw on top of your images. But you can also customize some attributes of the image control, right from the Form Template Designer tool. These customizable attributes includes:
- The maximum number of images that a user can attach to a form. The default value is 5 images, but you can increase or decrease this. Just be careful….allowing a user to attach 100 pictures to a form is not recommended…
- The minimun munber of images. The default value is 0, meaning there is no minimum and the user can skip this field. But if you want to require a user to take a picture, just change that value to the # of photos you want to force your users to take.
- The maximum size of the image. The default value is 1080 pixel height, which is generally large enough for most use cases…large enough to view the photo well, and small enough that it won’t make the system sluggish. Please note that today’s phones have amazing cameras, and by default a single photo in full resoltuion can be upwards of 2.5MB. So if you allow a user to upload 10 pictures at full resolution, that’s 25MB of data attached to the form. So if your user is in an area with crappy internet (maybe 2 bars), it will take some time to upload those photos. By contrast, at 1080px (the default), a 2.5MB photo will be automatically reduced to about 200KB, which is significant when you are working in the field and have poor connectivity.
- Save the photos to the device’s gallery. By default, this is set to off. But if you want, you can flip the “save to gallery” switch to “on” and then each time your users take photos within the mobile app, the photos are attached to the Cx form and also saved to the device’s photo gallery.
Here’s a screenshot of the Form Template Designer’s Image control attributes.
Simple to use in the field…
The photo field’s user interface is simple…anyone can figure it out. Just scroll down to the image field, and tap on the “take picture” or “pick from gallery” buttons. As a field user, you can also do the following things:
- Add a caption to the photo
- Draw on top of the photo and mark it up
Here’s a short video of what this looks like
And simple to view from the reporting dashboard
Photos captured in the field are easily viewed right from the Completions > Forms screen. Just click on the green camera icon, and your photos will appear right there in a popup window. If more than one photo was taken, they will appear as thumbnails at the bottom center of the screen. Click on one to view it in full screen. Right click on it to download/save to your computer.
You can also extract the photos in an automatic way via an integration
XForms Cx includes open APIs that let you interact with the system in a number of ways. This includes the ability to download images directly from the system and insertion into any other software tool you use, automatically, with no human involvement. For example, you could create an Integromat (Make) or Zapier integration that authenticates into your XForms account, pulls photos out of it, and inserts them into Microsoft OneDrive,, Sharepoint, Slack, or any number of other tools. This is not difficult or costly to do. Your company’s IT folks can easily do this. Or we can do it for you. Either way, it’s not a big lift.
Basic API documentation can be found at https://api.xformsweb.com
Want to give it a go?
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