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InfoPath and Forms Server 2010 Features: From SPC09 Las Vegas October 19, 2009

Posted by willhlaw in InfoPath, SharePoint, Sharepoint Designer, SPC09.
Tags: , , ,

InfoPath and Forms Server 2010 Features

There were two presenters for this session in the basement of Mandalay Bay. They were young engineers from Microsoft, but they did an outstanding job although there were a few technical glitches.

Demo 1 – Customizing Sharepoint List Forms

InfoPath 2010 can now be used to customize SharePoint 2010 list forms.

Since we are in Las Vegas, the presenter bet that she could customize an InfoPath form and bring it up on a webpage from Forms Server in under 1 min. She actually did it by adding an image to the top row in less than 30 seconds. It was a quite impressive since I know the pain it has been to deploy InfoPath forms to Forms Server 2007.

When creating a rule, the Formula Builder has an updated UI and the presenter talked about it having more powerful combinatorial type functions that did nto exist before. Unfortunately, she did not go into deeper detail.

If a form is opened up from SharePoint in InfoPath, the quick publish option allows a quick save back to SharePoint without any extra prompts.

End users will not even realize a form is actually an InfoPath form getting served up by Forms Server 2010 and the user may just think it is just a fancier SharePoint Form.

The demo continued with similar features that we are all used to since InfoPath 2003 like secondary data sources and filters on these lists.

Benefits of customizing SharePoint List Forms and overview of First demo.

  • Information workers solve own problems, freeing up IT
  • Layout form using pre-built tables
  • Use rules to conditionally format, validate data & show/hide sections
  • Bring in data from SharePoint Lists
  • Take offline in SharePoint Workspace
  • Examples shown included Project Contact List, issue Tracking List, Feedback Form, and Event Sign-up.

Demo 2 – Creating Mashups with Form Web Parts

The Second demo started with showing a live image being pulled in to show the current weather conditions and a Map It button which was simply a rule-based hyperlink that pointed to, you guess it, Bing.

The form web part was connected via web part connections to another list. Thus, when the recruiting trip was selected from a particular recruiting list item, the form web part showed the corresponding form that showed the weather and Map It hyperlink for that particular trip’s destination.

InfoPath forms can now be packaged as solution packages in order to move a Forms solution from development to pre-production to production. ISV’s can also now create a Form solution and send it as a solution package to their clients. For portable solutions, the links need to be absolute, and InfoPath and Forms Server is able to deal with that.

Benefits of creating mashups with Form Web Parts and overview of Demo 2

  • Information Workers & IT have tools to create mashups
  • Connect InfoPath web part to other Webparts; Excel, Silverlight, List etc.
  • Customize form in InfoPath
  • Design web part page in browser or SharePoint Designer
  • Package as reusable templates (WSP)
  • Examples included Mortgage Calculator (with Excel) and the recruiter Master-detail (with List)

Demo 3 – Office Business Applications

A cascading dropdown was created pulling information from SQL Server. When form is submitted, workflow kicks off e-mails to Supervisor and another group. However, the details were kept from the audience and reserved for session later in the week.

SharePoint Designer is the no-code center point for OBA (Office Business Applications). Designer can even kick off a Forms solution.

Benefits of office business applications and overview of Demo 3

  • Manage OBA in SharePoint Designer: Workflow, Pages & InfoPath Forms
  • Store data in SharePoint or external systems, BCS (Business Connectivity Services)
  • Add sandboxed code to InfoPath form
  • Package as reusable templates (WSPs)
  • Examples include Procurement, Expense Reports, Orders, Onboarding, Service Requests, Helpdesk

Q & A

I asked if Forms Server 2010 and the Form web part will allow rich AJAX and javascript functionality. The answer was yes and no. Yes in that they have improved the AJAX that the form executes within the context of the form on the page so that cross-browser compatibility and performance have been enhanced. The second and more important part of the question, unfortunately, was a No. They were not sure (and I think it would have been a pretty big deal) that javascript on a page that has a form on it would be able to easily access the fields on the form, to get, set, and perform other tweaks on it.



1. A Busy Week in the SharePoint World « The SharePoint Mechanic - May 12, 2010

[…] SPC09 – InfoPath and Forms Server 2010 Features – Courtesy of Will Lawrence […]

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