Specification
The Flow Results specification builds on the Data Package specification. Thus a Flow Results Data Package must be a Data Package and conform to the Data Package specification.
Additionally, a Flow Results data package must conform to these additional requirements:

Components

A Flow Results data package consists of one Descriptor, which contains exactly one Resource describing the interaction results.

Descriptor

The Descriptor JSON object must contain the following required metadata properties:
Property
Description
Example
profile
Indicates this package is a Flow Results data package. Must be in the format of the example.
'flow-results-package'
flow_results_specification_version
Indicates the version of this specification the package is compliant with. The Flow Results specification adheres to semantic versioning.
'1.0.0-rc1'
created
The timestamp for when this package was created/published. This must be in the format of RFC 3339, section 5.6, "date-time".
'2017-06-30 15:35:27+00:00'
modified
A version control indicator for the package. Timestamps are used to indicate different versions of a package's schema. This must be in the format of RFC 3339, section 5.6, "date-time". Limited changes are allowed across versions of the same package (i.e.: different versions with the same `id`.). Specifically, new versions of the same package may add additional `questions` within the schema; however, questions may not be removed, and the metadata for existing questions may not be changed. For more information on version support in Flow Results packages, see [Results Versioning](#results-versioning). If this is the original version of the package, `created` and `modified` will be the same.
'2017-06-30 15:38:05+00:00'
id
A property reserved for globally unique identifiers. The Data Packages specification supports any identifiers that are unique including UUIDs and DOIs. Flow Results packages impose the additional requirement that `id`'s are Version 4 UUIDs (RFC 4122). The `id` is a required property, except when a Data Collector uses the Flow Results API to publish a new package to a Data Aggregator. In this case, the `id` may optionally be omitted, and will be assigned by the Data Aggregator and returned. For more information, see the section on API Usage.
"b03ec84-77fd-4270-813b-0c698943f7ce"
The following metadata properties are recommended, consistent with the Data Packages specification:
Property
Description
Example
name
A short url-usable (and preferably human-readable) name of the package. This MUST be lower-case and contain only alphanumeric characters along with ".", "_" or "-" characters. It will function as a unique identifier and therefore SHOULD be unique in relation to any registry in which this package will be deposited (and preferably globally unique).
"flow-results-demo-package"
title
A string providing a title or one-sentence description for this package. This provides suggested human-readable text to display as a label for results/visualization of the entire package.
"March 2017 Malaria Protection Survey"

Resource

The Resource describes the interaction results. The Resource must conform to the Data Package Resource specification. Additionally:
Inline data (data in JSON format within the Descriptor) must not be used. This means that either a file path or api_data_url must be provided for the Resource.
The access_method of the Resource is an optional parameter, and can be either api or file:
  • If the access_method is file, it indicates all responses are available in a static JSON file. (The default if this parameter is not provided is file.) When data is available via file semantics, the Resource path shall be a file reference or URL for the complete response data.
  • If the access_method is api, it indicates the resource can be queried using the API Usage specification, with support for pagination and filtering. The Resource api_data_urlmust be provided with the Responses URL on the API server.
The schema property of the resource must be provided inline, and must not use an external schema file or URL.
The schema property must contain a fields object describing the 6 columns within the Resource data. These fields are common to all Flow Results Packages, but are provided here for compatibility with software designed to dynamically read Tabular Data Resources:
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{
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"fields":[
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{
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"name":"timestamp",
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"title":"Timestamp",
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"type":"datetime"
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},
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{
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"name":"row_id",
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"title":"Row ID",
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"type":"string"
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},
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{
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"name":"contact_id",
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"title":"Contact ID",
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"type":"string"
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},
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{
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"name":"session_id",
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"title":"Session ID",
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"type":"string"
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},
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{
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"name":"question_id",
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"title":"Question ID",
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"type":"string"
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},
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{
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"name":"response",
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"title":"Response",
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"type":"any"
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},
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{
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"name":"response_metadata",
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"title":"Response Metadata",
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"type":"object"
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}
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]
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}
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Question object

The schema property must additionally contain a questions object describing metadata for all the Questions pertaining to Responses in this package. The object identifier (e.g.: 'ae54d3') of questions in this object connects to the Question ID found in each Response row:
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{
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"questions":{
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"ae70d7":{
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"type":"message",
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"label":"Welcome Message",
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"type_options":{},
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},
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"ae54d3":{
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"type":"multiple_choice",
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"label":"Are you male or female?",
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"type_options":{
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"choices":[
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"male",
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"female",
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"not identified"
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]
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},
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"set_contact_property": "gender"
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},
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"ae54d7":{
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"type":"multiple_choice",
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"label":"Favorite ice cream flavor?",
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"type_options":{
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"choices":[
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"chocolate",
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"vanilla",
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"strawberry"
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]
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}
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},
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"ae54d8":{
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"type":"numeric",
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"label":"How much do you weigh, in lbs?",
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"type_options":{
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"range":[1, 350]
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}
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},
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"ae54da":{
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"type":"open",
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"label":"How are you feeling today?",
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"type_options":{
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}
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}
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}
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}
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The following properties are required for each question:
Property
Description
Example
type
Describes the semantic type of the Question, which must be from the following list: multiple_choice_one multiple_choice_many numeric open text image video audio geo_point date time datetime
'type':'multiple_choice_one'
label
A human-readable label that can be used to present and provide context for this Question/Response. This is provided in a single default language; localization is left outside the scope of this specification.
'label':'Are you male or female?'
type_options
Dependent on the `type`, an object representing additional metadata for this Question. Required and optional type_options are listed below under Question Types.
'choices':['male', 'female']
The following properties are optional for each question:
Property
Description
Example
semantic_labels (optional, array of strings)
A user-controlled field that can be used to code the meaning of the data collected by this question in a standard taxonomy or coding system, e.g.: a FHIR ValueSet, an industry-specific coding system like SNOMED CT, or an organization's internal taxonomy service. (e.g. "SNOMEDCT::Gender finding"). Zero, one, or more semantic_labels can be specified per question.
"semantic_labels": ["SNOMEDCT::365873007"]
is_personal_information (optional, boolean)
This field can be used to indicate when responses contain or might contain personal identifying information (PII). Systems exchanging this data should use appropriate protection specific to the privacy and security risks of the data.
"is_personal_information": true
set_contact_property (optional, string)
If present and set, indicates that a response to this question persists a contact property with the name given in the string. The string represents a property key, which could be a property name, ID, or other definition as relevant between systems. The Question type can be any one of the supported Question types.
"set_contact_property": "gender"
set_group_membership (optional, string)
If present and set, indicates that a response to the question represents the updated membership of the contact in a group. The question type must be a compatible type that can be parsed as a boolean (select_one, numeric, or open). The convention is that truthy response values will add the contact to the specified group, falsy response values will remove the contact from the group, and null values will not alter the group membership.
"set_group_membership": "farmers"
The schema property may optionally contain a language property. If provided, this must be in the form of ISO 639-3, describing the language of the labels in the questions object. Localization of these labels is left outside the scope of the Flow Results specification.

Resource Data (found at external path)

The Resource path file (or the api_data_url endpoint) must provide the Response data in JSON "row array" format, as shown in the following example:
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[
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[ "2017-05-23T13:34:48.325-04:00", 20394823948, 923842093, 10499221, "ae70d7", "1", {"delivery_status": "CONSUMED"} ],
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[ "2017-05-23T13:35:37.119-04:00", 20394823948, 923842093, 10499221, "ae54d3", "female", {"option_order": ["male","female"]} ],
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[ "2017-05-23T13:35:47.822-04:00", 20394823950, 923842093, 10499221, "ae54d7", "chocolate", null ]
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]
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The Resource must be valid JSON according to RFC 7159. No enhancements or constraints are added beyond the JSON specification.
Each row array shall provide exactly 7 elements ("columns") describing a single Response from a Contact. In order, the columns represent:
#
Column
Description
Examples
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Timestamp
The date and time the response was given by the contact. The timestamp must be formatted according to RFC 3339, section 5.6, `date-time`, and must indicate the timezone offset of the timestamp. An example is the following format: `2017-05-23T13:35:37-04:00`. If the timestamp is in UTC, the timezone offset of +00:00 shall be used, instead of the `Z` extension. Consistent with RFC 3339, the seconds field may include a decimal point with up to six trailing digits to indicate sub-second precision (e.g. milliseconds or microseconds), such as `2017-05-23T13:35:37.011208-04:00`. Systems are recommended to preserve as much precision as is available in the original timestamp.
2017-05-23T13:35:37.291-04:00
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Row ID
A unique value identifying an individual Response within the Flow Results package. The value must be unique across all Responses within the entire package. Row IDs may be an integer or a string. (The purpose of Row IDs is for systems offering paginated access to Responses within a Package. Although the rows may not be ordered by Row ID, software hosting data at paginated URLs must maintain an internal ordering based on Row IDs, such that it is possible to return the next X rows after a given Row ID.) Row IDs are compared for uniqueness as strings.
20394823948 '6085f5f2-80a2-423a-9f66-be3b3d777eea'
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Contact ID
A unique value identifying the Contact that submitted the Response. Contact IDs must be unique for all separate Contacts within a Flow Results Package, and may provide additional meaning between vendor platforms across Packages. Contact IDs may be an integer or a string.
923842093 '43979e6c-6b59-4ccf-a260-4361ebbc3264'
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Session ID
A unique value identifying a "session" or meaningful group of interactions during which the Contact submitted the Response. For example, a Session ID could link a group of responses from one phone call, one extended SMS conversation, or one ODK form submission. Session IDs may be an integer or a string.
10499221
5
Question ID
A unique value identifying the Question that this Response is for. This connects Response rows to the Question metadata in the Descriptor.
'ae54d3'
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Response
The actual value of the Response provided by the Contact. The format of the Response is determined by nature of the Question (see below).
'female'
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Response Metadata
For any Question type, there might be additional metadata describing the Response which varies for each row. This metadata might be required or optional, depending on the Question type. For example, for a multiple choice question, an optional metadata property is the `choice_order` that the multiple choice options were presented in.
{'choice_order': ['male', 'female'] }

Results Versioning

A common occurrence for users is to make minor changes to an underlying flow that has already started collecting data, and to desire for data collected under new and old versions to be reported/aggregated together. (Examples of these minor changes include adding a new question to a flow, or removing a question.) The Flow Results specification provides vendor-optional support for limited changes to flow versions. Implementations may choose to support this functionality or not.

Option 1: No version aggregation under a Package id; each change to a flow creates a new package

Implementations may choose this approach if they do not want to implement any aggregation of responses across multiple versions of a flow, and prefer to leave this aggregation as the responsibility of client software. In this approach, any changes to the schema of a flow (e.g.: adding, removing, or changing questions) would create a new Package with a new independent id. The implementation would serve separate results for different package ids. Client software or external services could examine the Descriptor of each Package and determine, with additional user information, how to aggregate the responses together.

Option 2: Limited changes supported under a Package id; changes to a flow create new versions under the same id

Implementations that wish to provide aggregation of responses across multiple versions of a flow may serve results from multiple versions under a single package id, according to the following constraints. Specifically, newer versions of the same package id may add additional questions within the schema; however, questions may not be removed, and the metadata for existing questions may not be changed. This implies that if a newer version of a flow removes a question from a previous version, the old question will continue to be listed in the schema for the new version. (This ensures that the schema of the most recent version contains a complete set of questions describing all responses in the aggregated resource data, including responses collected under older verions.) The modified timestamp is used as a version control indicator for the Package.
In this case, the response data includes responses collected under multiple versions. API access may implement the filter parameters min-version and max-version to allow clients to selectively retrieve responses from specific versions. (If a client has cached a version of the schema from a Package descriptor, it is recommended to supply the Package's modified descriptor as the max-version when querying the API for responses, to ensure it does not receive responses from newer versions without a corresponding question in the cached schema.)
For changes to flows that go beyond the restrictions above, new Packages with independent ids are required; external clients are responsible for more advanced forms of aggregation across versions of flows.

Question Types

The following Question Types describe the nature of possible Responses. This section lists the required and optional parameters within the schema metadata, and within the Response Metadata for each row:

message

Represents the receipt or consumption of an informational message.

Response Format

The Response must be a number: 0, 1, or a fractional value in between.
How much we know about the consumption of a message depends on the channel capabilities, for example:
  • SMS without delivery reports: All we could know is the message was sent
  • SMS with delivery reports: We can know if the message was delivered (but not if it was read)
  • Social Messaging (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.): We can often know if the message was "read"
  • IVR: We know if the message was listened to, and additionally how much of the message was listened to.
Therefore, the Response value column is proposed to be a numeric column with a boolean interpretation, applicable across channel capabilities:
  • A value of 0 is not received
  • A value of 1 means received
  • When channels can measure partial receipt, a value between 0 and 1 indicates percentage receipt. (For example, an IVR message that the contact listened to 71% of the duration can be represented as 0.71).

Type Options (type_options)

None

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
delivery_status
Recommended
Provides additional details on the delivery status of the message, as relevant to the channel. Values must be one of: SENT (dispatched to delivery service), DELIVERED (received on the device), CONSUMED (read or listened to by the recipient), SEND_FAILED (failure at sending), or DELIVERY_FAILED (failure at delivery)
"delivery_status": "CONSUMED"
sent_at
Optional
Timestamp when the message was sent, for systems that are interested in tracking times between sending, delivering, and being consumed by contacts.
"sent_at": "2021-03-19T08:08:24+00:00"
delivered_at
Optional
Timestamp when the message was delivered, if applicable.
"delivered_at": "2021-03-19T08:08:30+00:00"
consumed_at
Optional
Timestamp when the message was consumed, if applicable.
"consumed_at": "2021-03-19T08:10:37+00:00"
send_failed_at
Optional
Timestamp when the message failed to send, if applicable.
"send_failed_at": "2021-03-19T08:08:25+00:00"
delivery_failed_at
Optional
Timestamp when the message failed to be delivered, if applicable.
"delivery_failed_at": "2021-03-19T08:08:31+00:00"

select_one

Represents a selection of one choice from a set of discrete choices. (This is a classic multiple-choice question.)

Response format

The Response must be a string; it must be one from the set of choices.

Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example
choices
Yes
Array of choices presented to the Contact
{'choices': ['male', 'female'] }

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
choice_order
Recommended
When choices might be presented in random order across Contacts, should indicate the order the choices were presented in.
{"choice_order": ["female", "male"] }

select_many

Represents a selection of one or more choices from a set of discrete choices. (This is a multiple-choice question where the Contact can choose more than one option.)

Response format

The Response must be an array of strings, one for each choice selected by the Contact. Each string must be one from the set of choices:
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["education", "roads"]
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example
`choices`
Yes
Array of choices presented to the Contact
{'choices': ['roads', 'healthcare', 'education', 'jobs'] }

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
`choice_order`
Recommended
When choices might be presented in random order across Contacts, should indicate the order the choices were presented in.
{"choice_order": ["healthcare", "education", "jobs", "roads"] }

numeric

Represents a numeric response; a measurement of a single number.

Response format

An integer or floating-point number:
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35
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example
`range`
Optional
When the responses are to be visualized on a scale, provides the minimum and maximum relevant values of the range.
{'range':[0,10]}

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example

open

Represents a Response that might be in one of several formats. This Question type is useful for representing open-ended Responses to Flows that run over multiple channels (IVR, SMS, social media) and allow the Contact to submit an audio message, image, video, or text response.

Response format

Response must be in the format required for the Question type of each row (where type is identified within the response metadata.)

Type options (type_options)

None used at theschema level. (Refer to the type_options within each row.)

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
`type`
Yes
Must be one of the other supported question types (e.g., `text`, `audio`, `image`, etc.)
'text' 'image'
`type_options`
Yes
Includes the schema metadata (normally found in the schema) that would be used for that response row.
{} {'format':'png'}
For additional response metadata, refer to the details for each respective question type.

text

Represents any arbitrary text response.

Response format

A string:
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"I am learning this specification."
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
`language`
Optional
The ISO 639-3 code for the language of the response, if known.
{'language':'eng'}

image

Represents a picture submitted by the Contact.

Response format

A string with the URL where the image can be retrieved. (TODO: Do we want to support inline image data?)
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"https://myexampleflowserver.com/resources/image/23429837433.png"
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
`format`
Recommended.
The mime type of the image. If not provided, the format may be guessed from the extension or the Content-Type header of the resource.
"image/png"
`dimensions`
Recommended
The pixel dimensions of the image, if known. If provided, this must be an array of integers, `[width, height]`.
"dimensions": [128, 128]
`file_size_mb`
Recommended
The total file size, if known. If provided, this must be a number in megabytes (MB).
"file_size_mb": 38.35

video

Represents a video submitted by the Contact

Response format

A string with the URL where the video can be retrieved.
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"https://myexampleflowserver.com/resources/videos/23429837434.mp4"
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
`format`
Recommended
The mime type of the video. If not provided, the format may be guessed from the extension or the Content-Type header of the resource.
"video/mp4"
`language`
Optional
The ISO 639-3 code for the language of the response, if known.
{'language':'eng'}
`dimensions`
Recommended
The pixel dimensions of the video, if known. If provided, this must be an array of integers, `[width, height]`.
"dimensions": [480, 360]
`file_size_mb`
Recommended
The total file size, if known. If provided, this must be a number in megabytes (MB).
"file_size_mb": 38.35
`duration_s`
Recommended
The duration of the recording, if known. If provided, this must be a number in seconds (s).
"duration_s": 16.54

audio

Represents an audio recording submitted by the Contact

Response format

A string with the URL where the audio can be retrieved. (TODO: Do we want to support inline audio data?)
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"https://myexampleflowserver.com/resources/audio/23429837435.ogg"
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
`format`
Recommended.
The mime type of the audio. If not provided, the format may be guessed from the extension or the Content-Type header of the resource.
"audio/wav"
`language`
Optional
The ISO 639-3 code for the language of the response, if known.
{'language':'eng'}
`file_size_mb`
Recommended
The total file size, if known. If provided, this must be a number in megabytes (MB).
"file_size_mb": 38.35
`duration_s`
Recommended
The duration of the recording, if known. If provided, this must be a number in seconds (s).
"duration_s": 16.54

geo_point

Represents a geospatial coordinate on the surface of the earth.

Response format

Response must be either:
  • An array of two floating point numbers with the latitude and longitude: [lat, long]
  • An array of three floating point numbers: latitude, longitude, elevation (in meters): [lat, long, elevation]
  • An array of four floating point numbers: latitude, longitude, elevation, and accuracy (in meters): [lat, long, elevation, accuracy]
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[52.0835780,-106.6104880]
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
`address`
Optional
TODO: is this useful?
"Plot 41, Kotei Residential Rd, Kotei, Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana"

datetime

Represents a timestamp with both date and time

Response format

A string containing the date and time in the RFC 3339 date-time format with timezone extension:
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"2017-06-30T13:45:58+05:30"
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example

date

Represents a date. We caution that dates are ambiguous without times and timezone offsets. Interpretation of the date is left to the publishing and consuming platforms. For example, this could be the date of the start of a pregnancy, in an implied local timezone.

Response format

A string containing the date in the format:
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"2017-06-30"
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example

time

Represents a time. We caution that times are ambiguous without dates and timezone offsets. Interpretation of the date is left to the publishing and consuming platforms. For example, this could be the time of day a Contact would like to receive messages, in an implied local timezone..

Response format

A string containing the time in the 24h format:
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"14:58:35"
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Type options (type_options)

Object
Required
Details
Example

Response Metadata

Object
Required
Details
Example
Last modified 3mo ago