Clayton's SharePoint Madness

All About SharePoint, InfoPath, and SharePoint Designer!

InfoPath 2010 Rules!

Posted by Clayton Cobb on July 16, 2009


I am EXTREMELY excited by some of the new features.  The Infopath Team just announced some new features on their blog as you can see here:

What’s New in InfoPath 2010?

I do 95% of my InfoPath work with SharePoint, so I am big-time stoked about the new SP integration features.  Look at some of these things that we will be able to do that plagued us previously:

  • Modify list and library forms (new, edit, display) from IP instead of having to use the cumbersome SPD interface!! I’ve done this already for both regular list forms AND for InfoPath 2010 – Designing External List Forms
  • Rules manager for copying and pasting rules.  You can actually re-use your rules, and you can use the same conditions for a data validation, conditional formatting, or rule all on one field at the same time (not separate buttons to push anymore). You can also copy/paste entire rule sets at once. A bonus point for everyone here is that you can use the InfoPath 2010 Designer to design your 2003 and 2007 forms!!  I’m doing this exclusively now, because the interface improvements make it much faster to build forms.
  • We will now be able to use these previously-missing features in our browser forms: FILTERING!!!!, Mult-select list box, combo box, choice groups/sections.  Sweet!!  I’ve already built a browser form with cascading dropdowns (filtering) and will have a blost entry posted on the topic soon.
  • The contact Selector is now included by default in the Controls gallery (nice!).  This is nice, but be sure NOT to use it if you’re developing a 2003 or 2007 form.  The new Contact Selector does not use ActiveX, and the one in 2007 does.  If you add the 2010 Contact Selector to your 2007 canvas, it will not work.
  • There is now an InfoPath form web part so we don’t have to use page viewers nor the XMLFormView add-on that required some customization.  It also can be connected to other web parts – awesome!  This feature was a part of almost every demo/session done by the InfoPath product team at SharePoint Conference 2009.  It will be a major player in how we use InfoPath to visually display data right within web part pages along with several other connected web parts.  Also, I have learned that when you modify the list forms of a list/library, the new/edit/display pages all get auto-generated, and they each include an InfoPath form web part.  That’s how it works!

I’ve already started testing IP10, and it is freakin BAD!!!  The good “bad,” of course.  Here are some observations so far:

  • With my existing IP07 forms, the experience is seamless.  There is no upgrading that must be performed, and IP10 immediately knows to keep my IP07 browser-compatible form from getting messed up with unsupported functions.  It also auto-defaults to being saved as an IP07 form.  Everything works the same, yet I get the ease of using the new interface
  • Learning a lot so far, and I love it. It’s difficult finding everything, but I know that once I get it memorized, the ribbon will make it way better than before. It’s similar to when I first moved to Office 2007 and struggled with Word/Excel, but now I won’t even touch 2003.
  • The install gives you both a designer and editor. My presumption is that the editor may behave like Adobe Reader? I hope that it can become a free download for anyone so that only form designers/developers need the full version (licensed) while regular users would get just the Editor. If MS were to do it this way, it would have seriously positive ramifications on clients, because I am _always_ having to explain how either everyone needs IP07, or we have to do limited browser forms. I foresee great strides in the market if Editor is made free.  The IP team has not confirmed nor denied my commentary, but for now it doesn’t appear to be what I was hoping.
  • One-click publish is nice!! However, you still have to find the regular publish so that you can promote properties and such. It took me a while, but I found it, and that led me to being able to configure my Quick Access buttons. Once my publish is setup nicely, it’s very convenient to be able to just do the one-click publish for constant editing for a form template.
  • I have all my favorite buttons in the quick access at the top (save, publish, preview, rules, form load, design mode).  Putting them there makes everything very fast and easy as you get used to the interface.
  • Speaking of Form Load, it was a pain to find, since it’s no longer in the Advanced Form Options under the Open and Save tab. That menu is changed to just Save, and there is a Form Load button in the Data ribbon. I moved that to my quick access toolbar…
  • The rules management is a huge breath of fresh air. Not only can you copy and paste rules, but you can set conditions in one place to then be used by data validation, conditional formatting, and actions all in one place instead of having to always re-do conditions for each of those separately
  • In terms of Editor, I noticed a toggle option in view properties saying, “Design view for the InfoPath Editor only.” Hmmm, must find out what that’s all about.  I found out that this is just the same option that was in IP07, but it has been re-labeled to something more obscure.  Basically, if you click this box, it means that view will be allowed to have browser INCOMPATIBLE features and will thus not show up in a browser form.  Handy if you want a form to be dual-use, but not what I was hoping it meant.

Bugs:

  • I get this message very time I open IP Designer, “Some of the custom controls cannot be used: You can continue working without these custom controls, or you can modify them. Details: The following ID for the custom control is already being used by another control: {61e40d31-993d-4777-8fa0-9ca59b6d0bb}. All controls must have a unique ID.” I found out from the IP team that this is a known bug that wasn’t fixed before Technical Preview, but that means it should be taken care of before the release.

So, I’ve already created a client form (prototype) using IP 2010 as of tonight. It was previously a 2007 form, but 2010 preserved everything about it and automatically saved it as a 2007 template when I first saved. I published it to MOSS Enterprise, and it renders in the browser as expected.

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76 Responses to “InfoPath 2010 Rules!”

  1. This is a Smokin’ Summary. Smokin’ in the good sense of Zorching. Very fast and timely. Good job man. Your Blog Band continues to top the charts. Tweeting this now.

  2. Awesome. Thanks for the time on reseraching this! It’s comforting to know Microsoft is taking InfoPath seriously and moving in the right direction.

  3. Suzanne said

    “We will now be able to use these previously-missing features in our browser forms: FILTERING!!!!, ”

    “Once my publish is setup nicely, it’s very convenient to be able to just do the one-click publish for constant editing for a form template”

    Those two features alone would save me a lot of headaches. I think I gotta start bugging my IT dept to find out when we will get 2010 :-D Sounds awesome. Anything they do to make it easier to work with SP is great because that’s the only thing I use it for. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Might be 6+ months before we can deploy any IP/SP 2010 solutions, but I’m going to be 100% ready to do so when that time comes. Those 2 things you mentioned are nice, but some of those other things are going to make the combo of IP/SP/SPD way more powerful for non-developers (like myself).

  4. Craig said

    Sounds excellent. I’m really looking forward to the full Office, SharePoint and Visual Studio 2010 package. I hope InfoPath is a bit better at pulling in data from SharePoint in this version!

  5. Eric Kirkpatrick said

    Can’t wait for 2010. The filtering option is going to be nice. Do you know if we will be able to use images inside browser based forms?

  6. Sunjay said

    Can we develop an InfoPath 2010 form and deploy that in 2007. “A bonus point for everyone here is that you can use the InfoPath 2010 Designer to design your 2003 and 2007 forms” can you explain this a little bit more. would that mean that i can desing the filtering option and save that as a 2007 webform. or is my understanding flawed.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Sunjay, you can use IP2010 to create 2007 and 2003 forms, which allows you to take advantage of the INTERFACE improvements, but you can’t put 2010 features in 2007 or 2003 forms. What I was talking about was using things like Managed Rules (copy and pasting rules or rule sets), the ribbon, one-click publish, etc. Those are just interface changes that don’t affect the form version.

  7. [Giga] said

    Clayton, did you found out if the IP10 editor will be available freely just like any other viewer (i know this aint really a viewer but a viewer of infopath would be stupid!). I’m looking everywhere on the web to get this info, maybe the biggest thing im looking up right now, since like you said, my clients are feeling stupid to buy office to fill forms (and im with them on this as well!).

    Thanks, it feels nice to see that some people are seeing things like i can see them (sharepoint, infopath & workflows)

    • Clayton Cobb said

      I did find out that they for SURE are _not_ going to provide a free filler/viewer version of InfoPath and there is no plan to do so at this point in time. I pleaded my case, but did not really get any conversation out of the IP team, and I have a pretty decent relationship with the team as a whole. It does not seem to be an open topic of discussion, however, I will be working with them on the next version of IP, and I will definitely put that back on the table.

      • Tom Barron said

        Keep pushing for a free version! We have subcontractors we ask to use it and always a hassle getting them to buy InfoPath in order to work with us. Telling them to just go get a free copy to use would be a huge benefit. Does ‘Filler’ version at least get included with most basic version (Home and Business) of Office 2010?

      • Clayton Cobb said

        The Filler is not a separate product or install, so unfortunately it can’t be separated. It only ‘appears’ separate when you install InfoPath, because you see both a Designer and Filler in your Programs, but they are really the same product in different modes. The product team just separated them in the Programs list to make it “easier.” Instead, it got us excited about a free reader like Adobe, but that wasn’t the case.

        From my conversations with the product team, there is not currently a plan to go the route of providing any sort of free reader or partial-functionality version that is available in a lower version of Office. However, I am in weekly discussions with them about planning for future versions, so I will put it on the table again as a major community request.

        -Clay

  8. Jim Heller said

    Do you think we can use this instead of Adobe Acrobat to create forms. Will this create forms that can be protected. Will this create forms that can have “flowable text”
    Thanks
    Jim

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Jim, it depends on your needs. I of course never use Adobe to make forms, because I just use InfoPath, but it has to make sense in your organization. Either everyone needs InfoPath – and there is no free Reader version – or you have to have the Enterprise version of SharePoint for rendering InfoPath forms in the browser.

      I am not familiar with “flowable text.”

      -Clay

  9. Jim Heller said

    “Flowable Text” is a feature found in Adobe Acrobat. It allows a user to respond to a question in a form and the form will “flow” with the amount of text filled. This means I could allow for enough space on my form for 500 characters and if someone needed to type in 750 characters it would push everything in the form “down” to allow for more typing.

    Do you know if InfoPath offer this feature?
    Thanks for your time.
    Jim

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Yeah, you get that with rich text controls bound to rich text fields. They can be set to a certain size (height/width) by default, but then they can also be set to auto-expand as text is typed beyond the default size. In a plaintext field, you can set it to a specific size, and then if the text goes beyond that size, it creates a scroll bar.

      -Clay

  10. Clark said

    Regarding the Rules Manager you mentioned and that fact that it allows you to copy / paste rulesets. Does this actually make a duplicate copy of the ruleset or does it reuse the same ruleset now bound to a new control? I would like to re-use a ruleset that is declared in the manifest.xml since the ruleset I have is rather large. I have several different places in my 2007 IP form where I need to call the same ruleset; however, it looks like I need to declare these rules all over again (even in the manifest), meaning IP won’t let me simply configure multiple controls to fire the same ruleset. Hope this makes sense – bottom line is my manifest is exorbitantly large because of the fact that I have to duplicate the same large ruleset over and over in my manifest rather than simply calling it (kind of like a function).

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Clark, yes, it copies the rule-set to the next field, because rules run against fields, not as objects that can be called on demand like you were referencing. In fact, when you copy a rule or a rule-set, IP automatically changes the field references to the new field so that you don’t have to. It does not just make a reference to the original rule-set on the new field.

      I work with the InfoPath product team weekly, so I can suggest this as an enhancement in 015 – I think it is a valid request if I understand your requirement correctly. What I’m hearing is that you would like to have one set of rules that can be referenced from multiple fields so that the rule-set only exists as one “object” within the manifest. Correct?

      -Clay

      • Clark said

        Absolutely correct.

        To give more context around what I’m doing, I’m dropping a button onto a form and attaching some rules to it.

        If I copy this button to the other views in the form, the ruleSet gets copied to the new control. (Oddly enough, the button CTRL_IDs can be identical, but apparently the ruleSet has to be a different name even if the rules in the ruleSet are identical.)

        You can imagine if I have a dozen rules or more that fire when the button is clicked, and that these rules are duplicated for each control, then we simply multiply the rulesets * the number of controls that would call them. I guess you could say it’s a 1-1 and I want a 1-many relationship (1 ruleSet to many controls that can simply call that ruleSet).

        In my case, I have a ruleSet that consumes 344 lines of XML code (I’m mapping data fields and then saving them to a database, among other things). This will sound insane, but I want to call that ruleSet up to 100 different possible occasions. So, we’ve just added over 34,000 lines of code when we could’ve gotten away with 344. See what I mean?

  11. Joel said

    Quick question: Will InfoPath 2003 work with SharePoint 2010?

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Joel, I don’t have a way of testing InfoPath 2003 – haven’t used it in 3 years – but 2 comments come to mind when you ask:

      1) I believe you can, because in InfoPath 2010, I have the option of creating a 2003 client form (not browser, though). So, that leads me to believe that a 2003 client form would work fine when published to SharePoint 2010; however, 2) Using Office 2003 with SharePoint 2010 is a poor idea. An organization moving to SharePoint 2010 should not have Office 2003 at all and should already have a roadmap for moving to 2010. Hopefully, that is your case, because if not, a ton of the functionality will be missing, because so much relies on Office 2010.

      • Joel said

        Thanks Clayton. That’s good info. Out company has no plans on spending the money to go to Office 2010. Can you tell me some of the functionality we’ll be missing out on by staying with Office 2003 and using SharePoint 2010?

        Thanks,

        Joel

      • Clayton Cobb said

        Isn’t the choice to deploy SharePoint 2010 quite an expense? Office and SharePoint go hand-in-hand, and never more so than in 2010. It would definitely not make sense to move to SharePoint 2010 while still being on Office 2003. 2003 doesn’t even have the 2-way integrated features that 2007 has, so it’s a huge loss of functionality even for SharePoint 2007, but 2010 is even worse. Here are some examples…

        2007-specific (these are features you already miss out on just with SharePoint 2007 by not having at least Office 2007, and all of these are present in 2010):

        1. No 2-way integration with Office.
        - Outlook 2003 can sync one-way with SharePoint Calendars for reading, but it can’t write back
        - Same with Task lists. You can read, but you can’t interact with the SharePoint task lists from Outlook for competing or editing the tasks
        - Same with Document libraries
        - Same with Contact lists
        2. No browser forms with InfoPath. You can only do rich client forms, which means everyone has to have Windows machines, and every Windows machine must have InfoPath installed (in your case, 2003)
        3. Much less functionality with InfoPath forms. 2003 forms do not have advanced capabilities, such as the userName() function nor the Contact Selector
        4. Word 2003 does not have the Document Information Panel, so when you open Word docs from SharePoint, you aren’t able to see the metadata fields/columns in the DIP for filling them out at the same time as the doc itself. You have to upload the doc then get prompted with another form after the fact for filling in metadata
        5. No Slide Library integration. Without at least PowerPoint 2007, you can’t use the very powerful Slide Library functionality – PowerPoint 2003 can’t integrate
        6. I’m not 100% certain, but I don’t think you can use Excel Services to render Excel 2003 data and graphs in Excel Web Access web parts – they must be 2007 or higher.
        7. There is no SharePoint Designer before 2007, so without SharePoint Designer 2007, you are missing about half the functionality of SharePoint at large. You can’t do custom codeless workflows, branding (design), customized list forms, data view web parts, linked data sources, etc. The good thing here is that SPD 2007 is free and doesn’t require the Office suite, however, you aren’t supposed to mix versions of Office, so it’s not wise to install SharePoint Designer 2007 on a machine that has Office 2003.

        2010-specific features that you don’t get without Office 2010:
        1. InfoPath list forms. This is a huge, new capability where you can customize the default aspx forms of almost any list or library with InfoPath. You need InfoPath 2010 to do the customizations, but since they are browser forms, then none of your users need InfoPath at all – just the person customizing the forms.
        2. Co-authoring. This is another huge capability of 2010 where users can open a Word doc or Excel file at the same time and work on them concurrently. The users can see who else is working in the document, and they can see each other’s changes real-time.
        3. PowerPoint broadcasting – Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 has the ability for you to broadcast your presentation over the network for remote viewing without a project.
        4. SharePoint Designer 2010 – huge upgrade from 2007 here, and the tool is now 100% dedicated to SharePoint functionality. The amount of functionality here is immense, and it’s all free. You can pretty much do EVERYTHING in SPD2010 without going through the browser, and the data integration capabilities are incredible. You must have SPD2010 for these awesome features:
        - To create External Content Types for using the new 2-way Business Connectivity Services, which allows you to interact with back-end data sources (SQL Server, web services, other LOB systems) and create full Create/Read/Update/Delete (CRUD) operations on the fly in just seconds without writing any code and without writing the application definition file by hand.
        - To create External Lists, which are SharePoint lists based on external data. They look, feel, and act like regular SharePoint lists, but they are actually just visual representations of back-end data, which is awesome. Users can create, read, update, and delete items directly or through workflows triggered from elsewhere. I use this constantly
        - To create very robust, custom workflows without having to build them from scratch with code in Visual Studio
        - Workflows are now reusable in 2010 unlike 2007
        - Can now create REST-based data connections. REST is a new web service standard that is better than SOAP and offers incredible flexibility with providing a dynamic data source to other places in SharePoint or to any data source that exposes itself with REST services (an example is Bing maps, which I use for dynamic mapping of data that has an associated address)
        - Conditional formatting of views – this was not available at all in 2007. You can custom format your views with colors, pictures, shading, and you can modify the design of your pages
        - Custom branding/design of your entire portal

        This is off the top of my head, and I haven’t touched all the functionality yet. Suffice it to say that I have been using the entirety of Office 2010 since the day I was able to get my hands on it last July. I can’t even use 2007 anymore, much less 2003.

        -Clay

  12. Sarah said

    Is Infopath 2010 compatible with Office 2003?
    Will Sharepoint 2010, Infopath 2010 and Office 2003 be compatible?

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Sarah, what do you mean by InfoPath 2010 compatible with Office 2003? InfoPath is part of Office, so you wouldn’t want to mix Office versions, especially 2 versions apart.

      Office 2003 documents can be used in SharePoint 2010 just fine, but you have almost none of the functionality. It would not make sense to invest in SharePoint 2010 without also upgrading Office, imo.

  13. Josee said

    I have some 2007 forms that I’d like to manage/design through IP 2010. Given we’re still on Sharepoint 2007, my forms will remain 2007 for a bit longer. I’d like to know if it’s possible to add the 2007 Contact Selector to the controls pane? If so, how? if not, what are my alternatives?

    Thanks for any insight.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      In InfoPath 2010 RTM, if you are working on a 2007 form (make sure in the Compatibility settings), then when you add the Contact Selector from the control box, it gives you the right one for 2007. When I tested it in Beta, it didn’t work, but in RTM, it did work. So, you don’t need to add the Contact Selector – it’s already there for you in 2010. I much prefer using the 2010 interface even for creating 2007 forms – it’s awesome!

      • Josee said

        Thanks for your prompt reply.

        I just installed it this morning based on your endorsement of it ;-). Found the compatibility options and it’s set to IP 2007 Filler, which I think is the right one. When I open the form however, the CS I had on the form previously is gone. Am I supposed to recreate it or it should have stayed there?

      • Clayton Cobb said

        On my existing 2007 forms, the CS stays in place when I open them in 2010.

      • Josee said

        Finally got it to work. Had trouble enabling VSTA. The error message says to run Office 2010 install and select the VSTA from there but after many tries that does not work. What did work is enabling VSTA by changing the Infopath features through the control panel/programs and features.

        Thanks for your blog. My collegue and I are fans ;-)

  14. sqeekey said

    Joel touched on something that I am interested in due to work – but I’m unsure if I understood his query successfully so I’d like to ask the specific question myself:

    Will Infopath 2003 forms/sites/pages etc. be supported within an Office 2010 (SharePoint 2010) environment? – i.e. the forms/sites/pages that have been created using InfoPath 2003 – will they be accessible via SharePoint 2010?

    i.e. is SharePoint 2010 backwards compatible with InfoPath2003 stuff?

    many thanks and apologies if I am simply repeating a query already asked

    • Clayton Cobb said

      It depends on exactly what you mean. You can publish a 2003 form to a SharePoint 2010 form library, but that’s about it. What are you referring to when you say “sites/pages”? What type of site or page do you have that is built with InfoPath 2003? I’m not familiar with such a thing.

      In general, yes, SharePoint 2010 lets you use 2003 forms, but just as a regular template for a form library as far as I know.

  15. Jason said

    Does SharePoint 2010 address the security issue where all users need to be given read and write access to the document library where InfoPath forms are saved, which allows them to see other user’s saved forms too? I am in the process of trying to implement a forms solution, but have come across this issue, and can only find code based and/or advanced workflow based solutions to an issue that should not have ever been there in the first place.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      It’s not really an issue – you definitely must have rights to create an item in any list or library in SharePoint, not just for forms libraries. To get around this – for all lists and libraries – I use workflows to dynamically change permissions. I do it with SharePoint Designer workflows (no code). These actions are built-in to SharePoint Designer 2010, but you must use an Impersonation Step. It’s not advanced – very simple and no code.

  16. Rahul said

    Clayton,
    I am working on an application, wherein users fill out browser based InfoPath 2010 Templates stored in the Forms Server Library. These forms have data connections to a webservice. On a button click (Before Submit), the webservice is called and required data is loaded on the form. When the form is submitted, it gets routed to the Doc Lib, where filled forms are stored. These filled out forms are then passed through a workflow, which on completion are routed to a different site collection – used to store ‘records’.
    Was wondering if you could suggest a way to load test these forms from start to finish (Until they are ‘records’)?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      I followed your explanation until the questions. What do you actually mean by “load” when you say, “suggest a way to load test these forms from start to finish”? What do you mean by that?

      FYI, there is no Forms Server Library. Forms Services is the feature in SharePoint that renders forms in the browsers, and form libraries are special libraries where full form templates are published and interacted with. Just a matter of semantics.

      • Rahul said

        By Load I meant – A number of users hitting the site, the library, accessing the same form template, querying the data sources (which use Web Services, to load data onto the form), you know just like a normal application load testing.

        Also, I was mentioning about Form Templates Library (Not the Forms Server Library – That was a name given to our lib). We use admin – approved form templates that are activated to the site collection, and store them in this lib. Thanks for correcting me. Got to get my semantics right :)

  17. Nonso said

    Hello Clayton,

    I would be very pleased if you can help me wrangle out of this present dilemma i think i am facing.

    I am presently using IP2010 for my forms design and i am successfully able to publish the form to my SharePoint 2007 Site. but the snag is this, after publishing the form to its own form library, i am forced to go through “New” – “Create A New Document” to create a new Form (of course the site has been fully optimized for InfoPath Forms Services).

    Is there a way i can possibly link it to a one click thing such like Click on the link and it opens directly without having to go through New?

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Nonso, there is no feature or function for this unless it’s a browser form. With a browser form, you can provide a link straight to the new form in Forms Services, but with a client form, the user has to click “New.” The only workaround I know of is to provide a link directly to the form template, such as http://Site/FormLibrary/Forms/template.xsn. The user will still get prompted to “Open or Save.”

      • Nonso said

        Thanks Clayton for your prompt reply.
        However i think i will just stick with the option of the Clicking “New” because i don’t want the end users to eventually be trying to save a copy of the template once its clicked and bearing in mind that after its publishing to the Sharepoint Portal, it will be accessed from systems were there are no Infopath applications installed.
        If only there was a way to click on the document library link on the left hand side and it directly opens but was a bit cornered since i had tried to no avail to change the content of the link on the left(didnt find it)
        Thanks for being loads of help.

      • Clayton Cobb said

        If people who don’t have InfoPath are going to be using this form, then it MUST be a browser form. You should go ahead and convert it to one now. Then, since it will be a browser form, you can easily provide a link directly to the new form without anyone clicking new. You didn’t mention it would be a browser form before. Also, the link for the form library (not document library) is automated and should not be edited directly, but you can always hide or remove that link and add your own manual link with a URL that goes directly to the new browser form. You get this link by first converting the form to a browser form, then clicking new, then copying the URL you see in the browser while the form is opened. It’s very simple.

      • Nonso said

        Hello Clayton..thanks a lot..that worked like charm..

        Now this is the new challenge am facing(please bear with me on this as i am not too grounded in IP and its usage on Sharepoint). i am having to contend with multiple copies of the same form data once I click on Edit (to make changes to the already submitted data). it creates a new record with the same data as to be edited in all cases. For example, i have a record with id 5 and i click on “edit” to make some changes to the form data but once i click “submit”, the same record gets created with a new id 6.
        Still once again.. Thanks for your help..its really appreciated.

      • Clayton Cobb said

        Then your submit button is wrong. It’s creating a new item instead of overwriting the current item. It shouldn’t be doing that.

  18. Robin said

    I’m interested in writing a SharePoint 2010 web part that will consume SharePoint Web Part connection parameters promoted in InfoPath 2010 forms. I know that providers and consumers have to come in pairs. I’m looking for a pointer on how to find the promoted fields in the forms in SharePoint library. I suspect it uses IWebPartField but haven’t found it yet.

    Thanks for any pointers!
    /Robin

    • Clayton Cobb said

      I’m not a dev, so I can’t help with anything requiring custom code. I assume that you’re referring to “finding” these fields in code, but if not, then let me know. I use web part connection parameters in my 2010 forms almost every time, so I know them from the front-end, but not from an object model perspective.

  19. Robin said

    let me broaden the question a bit… having just had the top of my head blown off by watching a channel 9 webcast called Form-Driven Mashups using InfoPath and SharePoint 2010, I may be overlooking what can be done with OOTB webparts.

    I need to take a couple of promoted fields from an infopath form and use them to formulate some hidden html code that I prepend to an external link. The function here is to hand a user off to a billing service that will accept a credit card from the user. The fields in question are customer number and fee. Can this be done with OOTB webparts, or must I roll my own?

    Thanks!
    /Robin

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Do you even need web parts at all? Can’t you just create a hyperlink field in the form and set this field’s value to the dynamic URL you need by using concatenation? Why do you need actual HTML code? Aren’t you just talking about a URL with string URL parameters? You can construct this in an InfoPath field with a combination of text and metadata – I do this a lot. Is there something special about your URL that requires HTML or that requires code?

      • Robin said

        WOW that sounds like it is exactly what I need! Can you point me to any examples?

      • Clayton Cobb said

        Robin, I don’t have anywhere to point you, but it’s pretty straightforward. You can set the default value of the hyperlink field to something like:

        *concat(“http://myurl.mydomain.com/location/WebService.asmx?Name=”, **Name*, “&Code=”, *Code*)

        In the above example, you have a plain texti in quotes and then the underlined items are fields in your form. That way, the URL is dynamically created for each form based on the Name and Code values, which of course you would replace with whatever values you need to put in your URL.

      • Clayton Cobb said

        Sorry, the formatting didn’t come through. Those asterisks are not part of the formula, so ignore them, but the quotation marks are very much required.

        On Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 1:06 PM, Clayton Cobb wrote:

        > Robin, I don’t have anywhere to point you, but it’s pretty > straightforward. You can set the default value of the hyperlink field to > something like: > > *concat(“http://myurl.mydomain.com/location/WebService.asmx?Name=”, **Name > *, “&Code=”, *Code*) > > In the above example, you have a plain texti in quotes and then the > underlined items are fields in your form. That way, the URL is dynamically > created for each form based on the Name and Code values, which of course you > would replace with whatever values you need to put in your URL. >

  20. Steve Bruce said

    Hi, I have been looking for a solution to a problem I have been having for a while with IP Browser-based forms for a long time…

    Internally the forms work great, but I need our team to be able to also work externally using SSL…the forms work fairly well in https, but the submit fails every time…(tries to submit to http).

    I have searched again and again for an answer to this, the only thing I ever found was a suggestion to create the form on the HTTPS site, but that NEVER worked for me.

    Just hoping you have an idea.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Yeah, InfoPath doesn’t work well when published to one zone and accessed from another. Why are your users accessing the same content in two ways? They should have one zone that they access so that things can all work one way. Why is internal only HTTP instead of also being HTTPS? Or, why does your team access it internally instead of accessing your network with VPN and then going to the normal link? Just asking these questions to find out why you have two separate zones for the same people.

      If you use the Save option, then it will probably work, but when a form is published to one location (HTTP), it isn’t able to adjust for being in another zone (HTTPS). Data connections don’t change themselves, because they aren’t relative unless you convert them to UDC.

  21. Francesca Weisser said

    Hi Clay,

    I am a beta tester for Office 2010 for my organization and just got Professional Plus installed yesterday. As the main SharePoint/InfoPath developer I was eager to get my hands on the new InfoPath. I opened it up this morning and there are NO developement tabs or tools available to me!

    I’ve been researching for two hours trying to find out how to enable a developer mode. I get that there is InfoPath Filler (which is what I seem to have running) and InfoPath Designer (which is what I want), but zero information on how to get this “Designer” mode running. The only discussion I can find is this: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/officesetupdeploy/thread/27c52215-8f74-4d10-9898-8074fea54eb5

    Your post on March 3, where you say “The Filler is not a separate product or install, so unfortunately it can’t be separated. It only ‘appears’ separate when you install InfoPath, because you see both a Designer and Filler in your Programs, but they are really the same product in different modes. The product team just separated them in the Programs list to make it “easier.” ” is the only hint that I should have two modes available, but I don’t get the selections.

    Has anyone else encountered this and, if so, how did you resolve it?

    FAW

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Francesca, you don’t see Microsoft InfoPath Designer 2010 in your Start > Programs > Microsoft Office menu? What do you see? When opening InfoPath, it should always open directly to the Designer unless you specifically choose the Filler or are left-clicking on an existing XSN or XML file. How are you opening InfoPath and what are you seeing?

      • Francesca Weisser said

        Hi Clay & Robin,

        Browsing to an XSN and right clicking on it to open it in Design mode works. Thank you! That at least solve my immediate problem working on my existing projects. :-)

        When I go to Start > Programs > Microsoft Office, I don’t get an InfoPath option at all. If I browse to the .exe in the Office folder and click on it, the program opens in “Filler” mode by default and can’t see or discover a way to choose “design. If I open an existing XSN/XML through the application, it opens in Filler mode. If I click “New”, I am prompted to open an existing file and do not see a template gallery. However, if I have doen the right-click to open in design mode, then try opening another form, the second form automatically loads in design mode.

        I’m checking with my desktop support group to see if the Designer mode has been disabled in the rip they pushed out to me.

        Thank you for the fast replies!

        FAW

    • Robin said

      You are probably looking at the infopath filler.

      If you start InfoPath and choose design, or rt clk an infopath file and choose design, you’ll see the new face of designing in Infopath!

      /Robin

  22. Olaf said

    Hello Clayton,

    We are trying to deliver a SharePoint 2010 website to a customer who wants to be able to edit forms with InfoPath. The problem is that they currently use Office 2003 and have some trouble updating. I have read in your previous answers here that this will be a problem, since InfoPath 2003 will not allow them to save forms which can be filled in with a web browser. The latter will be crucial, so I’m thinking they will have to upgrade at least InfoPath to version 2010.

    Reading more in this thread however led me to thinking that perhaps we are approaching our problem in a wrong way. The thing is, we want to make forms that only have an email submission. They don’t have to save anything to a list, just send an e-mail to the site administrator. The reason we chose InfoPath is because that way the customer can easily customize these forms. However, we’re having trouble implementing a proper way to put multiple InfoPath forms into one library (or list) while still allowing the InfoPath webpart to render them in a page. Is there something we’re missing? It seems the InfoPath webpart only allows rendering of forms that are based on some content type in a list, which does not seem to make sense for us since we don’t really have a “content type”. We just want a form, of which all the fields are e-mailed to an e-mail address.

    If you have anything to say about this please do. I think at the very least I know for sure now that we’ll have to tell our customers to upgrade their InfoPath :)

    Thanks!

    Olaf

  23. Sunjay said

    Hi Clayton
    can u please clarify this, can we deploy the filler only on a desktop , even if we pay for the whole version. we want to use the client version, but do not want every user to know that they have a designer and every one is designing forms. There is strict approval process for the forms.

    thanks
    sunjay

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Sunjay, InfoPath Designer and Filler can’t be installed separately. They are one application, but they show up as separate entries in your Program Files in order to reduce confusion. So, if you want users to be able to fill out rich client forms, they need to have InfoPath installed, which automatically gives them Designer. If you don’t want regular users to be able to publish form templates to SharePoint, then there are settings in Central Admin for disallowing this.

  24. [...] Clayton Cobb’s Sharepoint Madness Blog | Infopath 2010 post [...]

  25. Karthick said

    I have a Custom Document Information Panel developed in InfoPath – within which I am calling a Web Service to return a date value from the server. The DIP when opened independently works fine, that is, it calls the Web Service and returns the relevant data.

    But when the DIP is published on to the content type and then a new document is created from the SharePoint library, the DIP says ” unable to load “.

    This is the issue that is being shown:

    —-

    Document Information Panel cannot open a new form.
    The form template associated with this form was moved or cannot be accessed. The form template “Template 1″ on your computer has the same form ID as the template associated with the form, but it is from a different location.

    Location of the associated form template : http://sharepointserver/SharedDocuments/Forms/ContentType1/template1.xsn

    Original location of the form template on your computer: file:///c:\Documents\Template1.xsn.

    Make sure you can access the location of the sasociated form template and try opening the form again. If that does not work, ask the form author to update the form.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Karthick, look at the error. InfoPath is getting confused between the template on your computer and the one published to the doc lib. Try opening the new doc from a different computer first.

  26. Rene Ortiz said

    Hello,

    I’m a relatively novice user of InfoPath 2010, but was wondering if anyone knew if there is a way to paste images captured with “ZapGrab” or other image capture software. We want to be able to copy & paste into InfoPath 2010 Filler form?

  27. Is it the case that you can buy licenses just for ther forms designers eg 5 users but everyone else in the comapny can use the forms or is it one user one license?

    • Clayton Cobb said

      John, the Filler and Designer are the same product, so each user must have a license unless you are using browser forms, which require SharePoint 2007 or 2010 Enterprise. In this scenario, users interact with the forms in their browser and don’t require the InfoPath client.

  28. shamili said

    Hi,

    I am working in Sharepoint application where using Infopath forms with few date fields.Since the server located in U.S and this application was accessed by users who are in different work location in world , when comparing date(today’s date) it fails.
    Example:-
    If a user is in Austrailia and they are attempting to put in “today’s” date (8/19/2011) which according to the server in U.S is greater than the system(Server) date in U.S (8/18/2011), the date validation is failing and not able to enter actual today date in Australia.
    We are currently using data validation formula today() in date field which is getting server machine time.To get the client machine time ,I used Javascipt code in formserver.aspx where able to get the client machine time but not able to bring into Infopath form (created hidden control in Formserver.aspx and client machine date from javascript code is set to hidden control.Please advise to pull that hidden field value to Infopath control).
    Any suggestions please.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      You definitely should not modify the formserver.aspx system file. Also, you cannot put script in browser forms – only managed code is allowed.

      I unfortunately do not have an answer for how to fix this – I have not had to deal with this sort of situation before.

  29. Greg said

    Hi are you available for remote infopath 2010 work?

    Thanks,
    Greg
    6038311338

  30. Shanthi said

    hi..by default some of my feilds were set to ‘cannot be blank’ automatically and due to this..am not able to enter multiple records in a repeating table and process it in a workflow.how can i disable the ‘cannot be blank’..i tried to remove it through rules but it is not in the rules category.

    • Clayton Cobb said

      Shanthi, “Cannot be blank” is a field setting, not a rule. Just go to the properties of each field and turn off the “Cannot be blank” setting.

  31. Nonso said

    Hi Clayton..Top of the day to you and I trust you are keeping well.

    I have a few concerns that I need your help eliminating..I am currently developing some IP forms for some clients but they need some functionalities that are not OOTB. a major one which is sending .XLS (or .CSV) attachments..

    I have used the IP 2010 feature that sends and xml attachments(Email Submit) but apparently is was not good enough so I dabbled into creating a Sequential Workflow in Visual Studio 2010 that is supposed to generate an excel attachment once a new Item is created. This has not turned out to be an instant hit as one exception after the other keeps popping up.

    private void createExcelFile(string excelfilename, string[] excelbody)
    {
    //Setting the Excel File Name
    excelfilename = excelfilename.Substring(0, excelfilename.Length – 4)+”.xls”;
    //Creating and initializing the Excel generator
    Excel.Application xlApp;
    Excel.Workbook xlWorkBook;
    Excel.Worksheet xlWorkSheet;
    object misValue = System.Reflection.Missing.Value;

    xlApp = new Excel.ApplicationClass();
    xlWorkBook = xlApp.Workbooks.Add(misValue);

    xlWorkSheet = (Excel.Worksheet)xlWorkBook.Worksheets.get_Item(1);
    xlWorkSheet.Cells[1, 1] = “Employee Number”;
    xlWorkSheet.Cells[1, 2] = “Crew Member Name”;
    xlWorkSheet.Cells[1, 3] = “Email Address”;
    xlWorkSheet.Cells[1, 4] = “Roles”;
    xlWorkSheet.Cells[1, 5] = “Dates”;

    for(int i=0;i<excelbody.Length; i++) {
    xlWorkSheet.Cells[2, i+1] = excelbody[0];
    }
    xlWorkBook.SaveAs(excelfilename, Excel.XlFileFormat.xlWorkbookNormal, misValue, misValue, misValue, misValue, Excel.XlSaveAsAccessMode.xlExclusive, misValue, misValue, misValue, misValue, misValue);
    xlWorkBook.Close(true, misValue, misValue);
    xlApp.Quit();
    releaseObject(xlWorkSheet);
    releaseObject(xlWorkBook);
    releaseObject(xlApp);
    Console.WriteLine("Excel file created!");
    }

    private void releaseObject(object obj) {
    try {
    System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal.ReleaseComObject(obj);
    obj = null;
    }catch (Exception ex) {
    obj = null;
    Console.WriteLine("Exception Occured while releasing object " + ex.ToString());
    }
    finally {
    GC.Collect();
    }
    }
    }

    I embedded the above method(an offshoot from a google search) in my VS2010 Wo.rkflow Project to create and attach the attachment to the already working email being sent out as part of the workflow steps.

    I am just asking if you know another InfoPath work-around to do just that (create and send .xls attachment) as i think I have currently stretched my capabilities and its time to seek help.

    Help please?

    PS: I think i have come a long way from my post number 17 above..:D

  32. Mike said

    My company is predominantly Office 2007, but we have purchased SharePoint 2010 Enterprise edition. I find myself in need of specific form that i need to build for a SP list and would like to use IP to develop it. My questions are (1) Do i need to purchase a copy of Office 2010 to get IP 2010 or can i just buy IP2010? (2)If i use IP 2010 to develop a form, should i only develop browser based forms?

    Thank you for your time

    • Clayton Cobb said

      You can purchase InfoPath 2010 separately, though it’s not a good idea to mix versions of Office on the same machine. Installing InfoPath 2010 on your machine with Office 2007 could have negative side effects, but you CAN purchase it separately without Office 2010. However, if your organization has an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft that includes Software Assurance, then you should be able to install Office 2010 at no cost.

      You have to build browser forms if your users do not have InfoPath 2010, because they won’t be able to open the forms otherwise unless you build 2007 forms inside SharePoint 2010. However, if you truly are planning to convert SharePoint _LISTS_, then those can only be browser forms. There is no other type of InfoPath form for a list. Client forms can only be used in Form Libraries, which are not the same as lists.

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