New Feature Update: Split by Message Form

Sept. 7, 2015

RapidPro now supports structured data collection through simple custom SMS message forms. 

Message forms are essentially a sequence of values separated by spaces (“ “) plus signs (“+”), or periods ("."). Our Flow Engine’s unique split functionality allows you to create response rules that evaluate each separated value, assign it a field name, and direct your contacts accordingly.

See it in Action

A team of clinicians working in a maternity clinic has just delivered a child and needs to register her. In this particular use case, they need to record the gender, child’s name, mother’s name, and the mother’s birth year. Using our message form feature, they could report that information in the following format: “birth [gender]+[child’s name]+[mother’s name]+[mother's birth year]”. The keyword “birth” acts as a trigger that notifies RapidPro which flow the message form is intended to interact with.

Let’s say the child is a female, her name is Noel, and her mother, Beverly, was born in 1985. A clinician would send the message “birth f+Noel+Beverly+1985”, which can then be evaluated by RapidPro’s response rules using a series of split steps that will either confirm that each individual value is formatted correctly, or alert the sender that they’ve made a mistake and ask them to resubmit the message form.

From the clinician’s point of view, the exchange will look as simple as this:


To learn more about message forms, review our corresponding documentation.

Adapted from a 14 August 2015 post by Kellan Alexander on TextIt's blog

Posted here with permission.