I’ve come across a variety of Forms oriented content which I think is useful. I’ve split it into several sections, starting with the more basic stuff first.
Basic Forms Information
The Office team has:
- a nice introduction to InfoPath 2007
- a very useful guide to converting paper forms to InfoPath forms
- a detailed overview of the browser-compatible forms feature
On the flip side of that last item, here’s a blog entry detailing the infopath functionality lost when using the browser-compatible feature.
Doing stuff with the Forms Data
When it comes to using the data submitted via your form, there are many options:
- Associate your form content type with a custom list, have the submit action be directed at this sharepoint list, and make the relevant input field be the columns of that custom list.
- Associate your form content type with a list or document library, have the submit action be directed at this sharepoint list, and create a view with the relevant input fields as the columns of that view.
- Associate your form content type with a list or document library, have the submit action be directed at an email address, and plan to use Outlook 2007 to work with the forms. For more on this, see http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/infopath/HA102068981033.aspx and http://blogs.msdn.com/tudort/archive/2006/02/22/536800.aspx.
- Associate your form content type with a list or document library, have the submit action be directed at web service, and use the core system.dataset type within that web service to work with the data.
- Associate your form content type with a list or document library, have the submit action be directed at a database (other than Sharepoint), and manage the data via that database.
So the key configuration point here is it all depends on how you configure the submit action within that InfoPath form. You might recall the example I blogged about where I choose to submit form data to a sharepoint list, however, I might just as easily have chosen to submit that data elsewhere, if it made processing the data easier–or if the privacy of the data necessitated that it be stored specially.
On the infopath team blog, there’s a good post on data connections from Forms which outlines the database options.
For those of you who might like the target to be an Access database (why not move to SQL?), there’s another good post on Access specific data connections from Forms.
If you do submit the form data to a sharepoint list, you can programmatically retrieve that data and do what you want with it.
Advanced Forms Info
For developer-types, there are a couple folks who have figured out how to embed a form within a webpart, so that you might have a form be part of a sharepoint page:
This might be highly useful in the context of a departmental web portal where you want to raise the visibility of a form by embedding it on the front of your department’s web page.
Earlier I mentioned the option of targetting a web service with your form submissions. Here’s more detail on how to access a web service from a browser-enabled form.
You can also populate forms with data already in Sharepoint or some other database by using a data connection within the infopath form. Imagine an text input field which would have unnormalized input unless you restricted the possible input to an existing list of normalized values. See here:
You might also imagine an infopath form which generates calendar events in a shared sharepoint calendar webpart. Imagine a process for reserving a shared resource …
Free Self-Training Resource
Finally, if you’d like to get yourself up to speed on all the InfoPath functionality, see this list of free training labs live on MSDN.