Showing posts with label InfoPath. Show all posts
Showing posts with label InfoPath. Show all posts


InfoPath 2013 is the last InfoPath!


InfoPath 2013 and InfoPath Forms Services in SharePoint 2013 are at the end of life…

See here:

Supported until 2023, but no new versions.

So what will you use for forms?




Why use InfoPath?


Update 1/31/14: InfoPath 2013 is the last InfoPath!


I'm surprised how often people in my SharePoint end user and developer classes don't know what InfoPath is, or if they do, where it can be used in SharePoint. Any discussion of InfoPath leads to a discussion of the future of InfoPath and if it is going away, what the alternatives are. What follows are some of my class notes…

A brief history of InfoPath

  • Formally named XDocs and NetDocs (*)
  • A patented way of authoring XML using DHTML views and XSLT (*)
  • Released in 2003 as part of Microsoft Office Professional 2003
  • Versions: 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 (matching the releases of Office)
  • Started getting a lot of attention with the release of InfoPath Forms Services with the Enterprise Edition of MOSS 2007


InfoPath can be used:

  • To create custom stand alone forms. InfoPath templates can used as library or Content Type templates. When the user submits the form the data can be saved back to a SharePoint library as an XML file or to other destinations such as email or network shares. In SharePoint, saved data is often then processed using workflows to approve the content or to use the data to update other lists or external systems. (The XML format is easy for developers to work with.)
  • To create custom forms for lists. These forms save their data back into a SharePoint list, not as an XML file, but as a list item with the data saved as item properties/columns.
  • To create workflow forms in both SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio workflows. (But SharePoint 2013 workflows only create ASPX forms.)


Reasons to use InfoPath:

  • Rich editor to create a form that can look like anything you want.
  • Rules based business logic to hide, show, format and validate fields.
  • External connectivity to offer dropdown lists populated from SharePoint lists, SQL server and many other sources.
  • While a forms designer needs a licensed copy of InfoPath, the end user only needs a web browser. Users do not need any InfoPath product or version if the forms are hosted in the Enterprise Edition of SharePoint 2007, 2010 or 2013.
  • Lots of resources are available: classes, books, blog articles, videos
  • No knowledge of JavaScript, jQuery, XML HTML or CSS needed to create custom forms and custom validation.
  • Multiple views of data. Example: A user might see 50 fields when filling out the form. The approvers might see a 10 field summary and after approval or rejection the user might only see 2 fields and a comments field.
  • Optional bidirectional data (edit a property in the InfoPath form and it updates in the library metadata, edit library metadata and it updates in the InfoPath form - great for workflows!)


Reasons not to use InfoPath

  • Yet another tool to learn
  • Unknown future - InfoPath 2013 is largely unchanged from 2010 and SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows only create ASPX forms.
  • There are 3rd party solutions for forms design in SharePoint
  • You must have the Enterprise Edition of SharePoint, otherwise every user must own InfoPath


Benefits unique to developers:

  • Much less work to create Initiation, Association and Task forms for Visual Studio workflows
  • Much less work to customize SharePoint Designer workflow forms
  • Everything is XML!
  • No JavaScript, HTML, etc...


Disadvantages to developers:

  • We like to write code!
  • There's always something that we want to do that InfoPath can't do but we can do by writing more code.
  • Yet another tool to learn.
  • There's always a better tool somewhere.
  • Need to buy at least one copy of InfoPath.


Interesting comments by others…

Andrew Connell says "I do not use InfoPath any more & I do not recommend people use InfoPath going forward." Read all of the comments!

The Office SharePoint blog: "InfoPath is our integrated forms solution for the foreseeable future"
Options to Create Forms in SharePoint 2013 

MSDN: "In this release, InfoPath 2013 has not introduced new functionality or scenarios." 

Glen Furnas at "Simply put, InfoPath is a multi-purpose product that’s been put to use in a wide variety of ways, and no single alternative will ever replace it in all its roles."

Owen Runnals: "In the end I feel custom ASPX pages are the safest bet since they've worked since SharePoint 2007."


Alternatives to InfoPath?

ASPX Forms

maybe Microsoft LightSwitch:

Microsoft Access 2013 / Access Apps (but no workflow support)

Nintex Forms:

K2 smartforms:



SharePoint 2010 Book Recommendations

I have not created a book list in quite a while and needed to put together an updated SharePoint 2010 book list for the folks who attend my classes. This list is not complete and unless otherwise noted only contains books I have personally reviewed.

Let me know of there are any other books you think I should review and possibly add to this list…



Categories of books below:

  • SharePoint 2010- “the big picture” / overview / understanding
  • SharePoint 2010 End Users / Site Owners / Power Users
  • SharePoint 2010 Administrator
  • SharePoint 2010 Developer
  • SharePoint 2010 Governance


SharePoint 2010 - “the big picture” / overview / understanding

Essential SharePoint 2010: Overview, Governance, and Planning (Addison-Wesley Microsoft Technology Series)
This book is for anyone wanting to find out what SharePoint can do. It's sometimes described as the book to give to your manager who knows nothing about SharePoint and wants to know what it can do while not having to learn every detail about how to do it.


SharePoint 2010 End Users / Site Owners / Power Users

SharePoint End User

SharePoint 2010 How-To

Click here for my review of this book.


SharePoint Workflows

SharePoint 2010 Workflows in Action

Includes both SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio workflow topics.


SharePoint Designer

Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 Step by Step (Step by Step (Microsoft))


SharePoint Branding and Customization

My book of course!

SharePoint 2007 and 2010 Customization for the Site Owner

This book is designed to get you started in customizing your SharePoint site with the tools you have readily at hand. This book has complete copy and paste solutions, and it also shows how each solution was crafted and how it works. After working through a few of the customizations and picking up some basic skills, you can start to figure out how SharePoint has been put together and start creating your own customizations.

SharePoint 2010 branding in practice: a guide for web developers

Click here for my review of this book.


SharePoint and InfoPath

Designing Forms for SharePoint and InfoPath: Using InfoPath Designer 2010 (2nd Edition) (Microsoft .NET Development Series)


SharePoint 2010 Administrator

These include books for everyday use and for certification prep.

(1) = I supply this book with my “SharePoint 2010 Certification Bootcamp for Administrators” class.

SharePoint Administration

Mastering Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 (1)

Click here for my review of this book.

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Administrator's Companion (1)

Essential SharePoint 2010: Overview, Governance, and Planning (Addison-Wesley Microsoft Technology Series)  (1)
This book is for anyone wanting to find out what SharePoint can do. It's sometimes described as the book to give to your manager who knows nothing about SharePoint and wants to know what it can do while not having to learn every detail about how to do it.


SharePoint and PowerShell

Automating SharePoint 2010 with Windows PowerShell 2.0

Excellent book! Over 700 pages on both PowerShell for SharePoint and "got to knows" about administration. If you are building multiple farms, finding yourself doing the same thing over and over again, or creating a scripts for a disaster recovery plan, then you need this book!



SharePoint 2010 Developer

These include books for everyday use and for certification prep.

(2) = I supply this book with my “SharePoint 2010 Certification Bootcamp for Developers” class.

SharePoint Development

SharePoint 2010 Development with Visual Studio 2010 (Microsoft .NET Development Series) (2)

Professional SharePoint 2010 Development (Wrox Programmer to Programmer) (2)

Inside Microsoft SharePoint 2010 (2)


SharePoint Workflows

SharePoint 2010 Workflows in Action (2)

Includes both SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio workflow topics.

SharePoint Governance

SharePoint Deployment and Governance Using COBIT 4.1: A Practical Approach

Click here to read an excerpt of this book on TechNet.



InfoPath 2010: "The following url is not valid"


There are bugs, and then there are DUMB bugs!


When you try to publish an InfoPath 2010 form to SharePoint, InfoPath may display this error: “The following url is not valid”, even if the URL is valid. The cause?  This Microsoft article says its because InfoPath ignores your URL and instead checks to see if there is a root level site collection. In other words, if you entered http://yourserver/sites/site1, InfoPath checks to see if http://yourserver is a valid site collection. There’s no “rule” that says you must have a root level site collection in SharePoint.

The fix, according to Microsoft… create a root site collection! 




Did it work? Yes, and the odd thing is I created a site collection without granting the users access permissions and InfoPath was now happy in spite of permissions.


For more info see:



And while talking about DUMB bugs…

How about this one… try to publish from InfoPath to a server that requires authentication… you get a popup for the username and password with a popup about “Getting site content types”.  You can’t authenticate without cancelling the “getting” of content types. You can’t get content types without authenticating.


Actually this is dumb, but unlikely. In this example the user was in the Member group, but was not a site owner. The first time the wizard asked for credentials it was to confirm that the site existed. The second time was because the user did not have rights to publish. Still… it’s a dumb bug.






Exam Discounts

This is a note for people who have attended my classes. (Everyone else go see their own MCT!)

If you are thinking about Microsoft certification, check with me before signing up for an exam. I can usually get you a discount on both the exam and on practice exams.


  • 10% off of the exam
  • 40% on any MeasureUp 60 Day Online Practice Test

Not all exams qualify, but most MCP exams do. MeasureUp does not have a practice test of every Microsoft exam.

If you would like a discount voucher, email me at the email address I gave you during class or just call MAX Technical Training.


Know any college or tech school students? They can 55% off of exams here:



InfoPath: Forcing a form to open from SharePoint into a browser

If you are using MOSS Enterprise Edition or you have installed InfoPath Forms Server with your WSS 3.0 or MOSS Standard Edition then your users can fill out InfoPath forms using a browser... IF... they have do not have the InfoPath program installed on their local PC.

If they do have InfoPath installed then SharePoint will open the form in InfoPath. (How does it know? See here.) Of course before any browser related features will work, you must set the correct options in InfoPath when you design and publish the form:
  • Select: Tools, Form Options, Compatibility, Design a form template that can be opened in a browser or InfoPath
  • And when you publish: you must checkmark "Enable this form to be filled out by using a browser"

Microsoft has an MSDN article on this topic. Three of their examples are for opening an existing form and one is for creating a new form, but I had to make one change to make it work.

Here is their article: How to: Use Query Parameters to Invoke Browser-Enabled InfoPath Forms

Here is their example (scroll down to "Using a URL with the XsnLocation, SaveLocation, and Source parameters"):


(replace servername, sitecollection and formlibrary with your path to the library with the form)

This example just prompted me to save or open (in InfoPath) the form. To get it to open in a browser you must add &OpenIn=Browser to the end of the URL. Here is what I got to work:


Now only two problems to solve:
1) The NEW menu still opens the form in InfoPath. I have to list the above link somewhere on the site so users can always create a form in their browser.
2) This only seems to work on form templates stored in a forms library and not with a form published as a Content Type.


InfoPath Links - Forums, Tutorials, Downloads

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