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This page will help you to interpret some of the common error messages you find while trying to make builds of your application

Table of Contents

Invalid XML in Form

You have written something invalid into one of your forms. 


3) If you still have not identified the error, go to “Edit Source XML” and copy all the content.  Paste it into the form validator: .  Click “verify” to help identify xml errors.

Blank Form

One of your forms is blank.  If you add a form to your app in the CommCare HQ app builder, you must place  some questions in the form. 

To fix the problem, click on the form or forms that CommCareHQ identifies as blank.  Then either delete the form or create questions in the form.  To delete the form, click the “delete form” link on the top right.  To create form content,  click “create” – this will bring up Vellum, the form designer.  Add questions to create your form, or just click “save” to save a simple working form.

Your app requires numeric passwords but the admin password is not numeric

You need to reset your admin password.


If you would like to have an alphanumeric password (numbers and letters, ie. ict4d) choose the "Password Format" setting on the same screen.

No case detail: uses cases but doesn't have detail screens configured for cases.

You are using cases, but have not configured the case list/detail screens.  Your application will contain a list of cases that the mobile user has registered.   When the user fills out a form that requires a case (a followup form), the user must select a case from the case list before filling out the form.  The user is presented with two views to help select the case:  the Case List view and the Case Detail view.


Click on at least one property to add it to the Case List, and hit save.

No forms:  module has no forms.

You must have at least one form in each module.  Click on the name of each module and make sure you have created at least one form in each module.  Note that it is not enough to click “+” to add a form – you must also click “create” for each form and give the form some content.  Alternatively, you can delete any empty modules.

No case type: module uses cases but doesn't have a  case type defined.

 You have configured case management in at least one of your modules.  In case management, a module contains a case list – a list of whatever you are tracking.  Each module is about one “type” of case that you are tracking.  For example, you might have a “mother” module that tracks mothers, and a “child” module that tracks children.  All the forms in the “mother” module will apply to mothers ,and all the forms in the “child” module will apply to children.

You need to specify this case type by clicking on the module and writing one descriptive word in the field “case type”.

Form error:  one or more forms are invalid: check all your forms for error messages.

CommCareHQ tries to identify errors in your forms before you put the app on the phone.  One or more of your forms contain errors.  If you click on a form, you should see any errors we've found come up in a red box at the top.  Right now we expose as much information as possible - but for most users, only the first red box at the very top of the page will be helpful.

Missing languages

CommCare apps are multilingual – meaning you can specify each question’s text in several different languages.  CommCare needs to know which languages you’re using, so it can try to find the right default translations for the menu buttons and error messages.  If you saw this error, it’s because your application does not have any languages specified.


To change this language or add more languages, click on the name of your application and scroll down to the “Languages” section and start typing the name of your language.  It will autocomplete to the language code that CommCare understands.  If CommCare does not have your language code, it’s OK to make up a new 3-letter code.

Case Update uses reserved word     

There are certain words you cannot use as a case property name.  If you see this error, it means you have used one of these “reserved” words.  Here’s a list of all the “reserved” words you cannot user as case property names:

  • "actions"

  • "case_name"

  • "case_type"

  • "case_type_id"

  • "closed"

  • "closed_on"

  • "date_opened"

  • "external-id"

  • "date"

  • "doc_type"

  • "domain"

  • "indices"

  • "index"

  • "modified_on"

  • "opened_on"

  • "referrals"

  • "server_modified_on"

  • "status"

  • "type"

  • "user_id"

  • "userid"

  • "version"

  • "xform_id"

  • "xform_ids"

Case Update.  [some word] should start with a letter and only contain letters, numbers, '-', and '_'

You have used illegal characters in one or more of your case property names.  Your case property names must start with a letter and can only contain letters, numbers, -, and _.  Note that your case property names cannot contain spaces or punctuation, and cannot start with a number.

The case configuration in form [some form]  contains the invalid path [some path]

If you see this error, it means that you’re trying to save from or load into a question in your form that no longer exists or has been moved.   This can happen if you move, delete, or rename question that you were using in your case configuration.  Click on the form and you should see [?] next to the case properties that refer to invalid questions.  To fix the issue, re-select the correct question from the dropdown and hit “save”.

Empty language: one of your languages is empty.

In order for your application to work properly, you must have specified some text for every question in the app’s default language.  If you see this error, it means the display text of at least one question is missing in your default language.  Go through your forms and make sure you have written something for each question.

The Form Designer sets some default text for each question in each language, to help ensure that you don’t get this error!

Dependency cycles amongst the xpath expressions in relevant/calculate

In your form, the display or calculate logic in a question references itself.  This is normally caused by using a "." in the display logic or calculate logic for a question.  Please check the logic in the questions listed at the bottom of the error. 

Validation Error: For input string: "GPS"

The property /data/GPS is set to take default value 'GPS', but this is not a valid value for this question type. Remove the default value.

Case sharing for web users

When case sharing is turned on, it will often break when you attempt to preview a form because a web user cannot be in a case sharing group. The error message will look like:

"Logic references instance(groups)/groups/group/@id which is not a valid question or value"