Get started with App development

DHIS2 Webapps

Mark Polak

  • Netherlands
  • Master student
  • Front-end Developer

Things to talk about

  • Apps
  • Webapp manifest
  • Authentication
  • Storage
  • Sql views
  • Code?!

When to build an App?

  • DHIS2 frontend already has Webapps
    • Event capture
    • Tracker capture
    • Pivot
    • GIS
    • Event reports
  • Any case where you need functionality that is not possible with the current apps or extending current functionality (Multiple entry form)

Managing apps

App Manager

  • Install apps
  • Remove apps
  • App related settings
    • Disk location
    • URL

What is a DHIS2 webapp?

  • Webapp manifest (Describes the app to the system)
  • HTML and CSS (Layout)
  • Javascript (Client side code, api communication)
  • Zip file containing the app files


JSON Structure

Open Web App (Mozilla)

Firefox OS

Firefox for android

Firefox Browser


What is the manifest for?

  • Describes your application to DHIS2
  • What icon and name to use for the menu?
  • How to start the app?
    • ​Which html page
  • Locate the base url of the instance


  "version": "0.0.1",
  "name": "tech-session1",
  "description": "The minimalist tech session 1 app!",
  "icons": {
    "48": "tech-session1.gif"
  "developer": {
    "url": "",
    "name": "Mark"
  "launch_path": "index.html",
  "default_locale": "en",
  "activities": {
    "dhis": {
      "href": "*"



Server modifies the special property

            "href": "*"

Manifest in app startup

  • App startup loads the manifest
  • Extract base url from the manifest to locate the api
  • Use base url to load any serverside assets
fetch('manifest.webapp', {credentials: 'same-origin'})
  .then(function (response) { return response.json(); })
  .then(function (manifest) {
    var baseUrl = manifest.activities.dhis.href;
    var apiUrl = [baseUrl + 'api'].join('/');

    //Start your app here
    //Add the baseUrl to your app (Load any core assets if required)
  .catch(function () {
    console.log('Failed to load manifest');


  • Basic authentication - (I.e. CURL requests)
  • OAuth2 - When building external apps
  • When installing into the system the current user session will work for most cases
  • Apps can be served through the API

Depends on what kind of app (or script)



  • On the server
    • api/systemSettings
    • api/userSettings
    • General data store (Soon :))
  • On the client machine
    • IndexDB
    • Session storage
    • Local storage

SQL Views

  • Useful is some cases where you need specific joins
  • Should be used with care (No ACL)
  • Could be used in combination with `normal` api requests to apply ACL

Browsing the web api

Chrome apps for JSON Views with style


A lot of endpoints can be found through



Code stuff!

INF5750 Apps

By markpolak

INF5750 Apps

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