InfoPath continues to be fully supported by Microsoft. There is a new version of the product, InfoPath 2013 for SharePoint Server 2013. What’s different for SharePoint Server 2013 is the availability of alternative methods of building forms, as our instructor noted in the first video tutorial in this set.
InfoPath’s strengths focus around its usefulness to build methods (forms) to collect unstructured data from web browsers, email conversations, Microsoft’s Outlook product, and mobile devices. At the same time, the same methods can be used with hosted form solutions.
Of course, at one level all of the data reposed in SharePoint is, by definition, unstructured data. Certainly the native publishing form for the data (the file type) can be structured, but once the information is stored in SharePoint Server 2013 and served up as web page information, then the data can truly be called unstructured. So InfoPath, and the other methods of publishing forms should be of interest to users in need of an information gathering tool not only capable of collecting information for specific business processes, but more broadly, for business intelligence (BI) efforts.
Another very useful benefit of InfoPath, as a method of building business forms, is its “very tight integration with SharePoint form libraries” (quoted from Darvish Shadravan’s presentation in this video tutorial). This tight integration also provides InfoPath designers with access to SharePoint’s workflow engine. This last benefit supports efforts by personnel otherwise untrained in computer programming to use “no-code” methods of building forms. Of course, Line of Business (LoB) units far removed from central IT organizations will often lack internal software development expertise. So building forms with no-code, workflow methods, can be a means of hastening SharePoint adoption by these very same LoBs who can directly participate in the decision-making required to build electronic forms for their own business processes.
The remainder of this video tutorial is taken up with a demonstration of building a form with InfoPath 2013.
© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved