InfoPath is Dead! Long live the new InfoPath!
Microsoft has announced on their Office blog, what the rumour mill have been buzzing about for quite a while now. InfoPath Forms and Services will be discontinued. That means that there is no new InfoPath Forms services in the next edition of SharePoint. Something new is starting to grow. According to Microsoft, they are evolving and streamline their investments into a more integrated forms user experience.
This does not mean that Microsoft leaves all those InfoPath Forms dead on the bottom of the sea, while everyone jumps ship to some new go-fast-boat. Microsoft is promising to deliver some migration tool or process for their new Forms-technology.
Microsoft is offering a Sneak Peak of their new and improved Office Forms in “InfoPath and SharePoint Forms Roadmap” session, if you are so lucky to attend the SPC in March 2014.
Most important lesson of this news: Don’t Panick! Microsoft is still continuing to support InfoPath Forms and Services until April 2023, so you should have ample time to migrate your content. If you are in the midst of a InfoPath project, don’t worry. Keep on building forms and worry about how to migrate in five years time. Microsoft started with InfoPath back in 2003, so all in all, it’s time to move on.
My humble opinion on the whole InfoPath subject
I have to admit, I am a fan and a hater of InfoPath Forms. I can manipulate InfoPath Forms at a pretty advanced level. I have worked with InfoPath Forms since the 2007 edition. And fair enough.. The technology have not evolved all that much the last 3-4 years. The 2010 edition received a little bump in functionality and the 2013 edition seemed pretty much untouched. I can understand why Microsoft is dropping the system. Everyone who’s ever had to design InfoPath Forms have to agree. They just have to. I cannot count the number of times, where I have tweaked a Form, only to see it get crushed in the browser view. There is no code-access, so whenever you experience something like that, you count your lucky stars that you have enabled versioning in the Forms Template library.
But just as frustrating InfoPath can be, just as rewarding and fast can it be. It is very easy to build a quick form and have it be sent to a SharePoint library of your choosing. That having the fields in the form be elevated to columns in the library, which can be extracted to excel or via some workflow, act on the information can be way faster than building standard web forms.