How to install apps in DHIS 2

The DHIS 2 platform can be customized and extended with apps. You can create your own apps or use apps found in the DHIS 2 app store. Read more to understand how you can create, find and install apps in DHIS 2.

What is a DHIS 2 app?

An app is an extension of the user interface and functionality of DHIS 2. The fact that DHIS 2 makes it easy to plug in custom apps means that you can easily extend the system to meet your own needs. In other words, if DHIS 2 meets 80% percent of your requirements, you can develop apps to take you the last mile. Technically speaking, an app is made up of HTML5, Javascript and CSS and is based on the Open Web App specification from Mozilla.

Where can I find apps?

You can find apps in the DHIS 2 app store. In the app store we have collected apps which are general, re-usable and available for anyone. Apps can be made in order to solve specific problems and use-cases. In some scenarios it makes sense to create a specific solution for your system. In other situations it is feasible to make an app general, in the sense that it can be used potentially by anyone for any instance of DHIS 2.

How can I create apps?

Mozilla has written a nice quick-start article which explains the basics. The apps chapter in the DHIS 2 documentation explains how you can create and configure apps for DHIS 2. An app in its basic sense has a "manifest.webapp" file in its root folder, and is otherwise comprised of several Javascript, HTML and CSS files. The app should communicate with the DHIS 2 instance through the Web API. The app could send, retrieve and manipulate data through any of the available Web API resources. The app files should be compressed into a ZIP archive in which the manifest.webapp file should be at the root.

How can I install apps in DHIS 2?

Before installing apps for the first time you will have to set some configuration from Apps > App Management > Settings. Simply click "Set to default" and then "Save".

Next step is to upload your app under Apps > App Management > Installed Apps. Start by clicking "Choose File". If all goes well you will see a message saying "App installed successfully". A common mistake is not to place the manifest.webapp file at the root of the ZIP app archive. After the web page is reloaded you should see your app in the Apps menu.

Made a cool app? Let us know at post@dhis2.org and we can make it available in the app store.