I came across an interesting article by Cameron Dwyer. In it he looks at the future of the SharePoint brand. As any SP admin knows, Microsoft has been really pushing the cloud-based technology of the 365 suite, which currently includes a limited version of SharePoint.
I’m still on the fence when it comes to cloud-based technologies. I just have a feeling that it’s too much like a car which can ONLY be repaired at an authorized dealership. I’m old-school IT – I want to be able to pop the hood and change the oil if needed.
At any rate, take a look at Cameron’s post and see what you think – he makes some very valid observations.
Is the SharePoint brand going away?
If you haven’t heard, Microsoft announced a while back that InfoPath was going away. We’re 2/3 of the way through the year so far, and still no concrete word on what will replace it, or even if we’ll be able to migrate existing InfoPath forms. John Liu has collected some good links regarding the fiasco on his blog at the link below.
Personally, I think Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot here. They’ve spent years trying to convince people to use InfoPath for electronic forms, and now that it’s finally somewhat mainstream, they’re pulling the plug with no clear replacement in sight yet. Unless they come out with something outstanding that migrates well, I have a feeling that a lot of clients will be hanging onto SharePoint 2010 or 2013 a lot longer than they would otherwise simply for InfoPath support.
So far it seems like existing InfoPath functionality will be divided up into various Office products like Access & Word, although some functionality is going away for good. We’ll have to wait and see what they’re cooking up, but I’m not optimistic.
It may be a little dated now, but the following article by Clayton Cobb gives an excellent explanation of how to embed SharePoint list data directly into your InfoPath form. Anyone who’s tried to do this has undoubtedly run into the problem he describes – the list items may pull into the repeating table correctly, but they don’t stay with the form once saved. If you open a submitted form later, it won’t have the same items as when it was submitted. This is because the items are only viewed in the form, not saved into the XML of the form like other fields are.
Clayton’s answer is a free plug-in by Qdabra that allows you to copy the list structure directly into the XML as a table. I have a “shopping cart” type of form solution I’m working on currently, and I’ll definitely be giving this a try.