I’m proud to announce that we are days away from the release of a totally revamped version of our J2ME application that is being used for Disaster Management with Catholic Relief Services in India. We have been working closely with the OpenRosa consortium (specifically on their JavaRosa code base, which is an open source platform for developing data collection applications on J2ME enabled cell phones).
For any of you who are developing applications for mobile data collection, I highly recommend getting in touch with these folks. They do a beautiful job of abstracting out the different parts of collecting and transmitting data, and I was very easily able to create customized UI functions, data parsing, and SMS protocols.
On the subject of our earlier post regarding design tradeoffs and data compression for this application, we decided to go with sending multiple SMS messages (with our system we get about 6-8 SMS messages for a fully filled-out form. We chose to do this because we wanted to allow the user to not be limited with regards to how many digits they could type for answers or how long they could make string values. Instead, we made an efficient XHTML form and used customized message parsing and SMS splitting in JavaRosa to reliably transmit bigger message payloads to Twitter and then subsequently to a server.
Happy holidays to everyone, and lets keep giving the gift of technology to those who need it most!
For more information on OpenRosa and the JavaRosa code base, please check out: