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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Microsoft InfoPath 2010 With Custom SharePoint Integration

If you have a business which has an online presence or which you foresee to have an online presence in the recent future, learning about InfoPath might be of help while you design your collaborative web-platform. Building just portals is now passé which now seems like someone standing at a place and blowing the trumpet. It is more about information sharing and collaboration now. SharePoint 2010 is the answer to creation of such an enterprise 2.0. InfoPath empowers SharePoint usage experience.
Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 is the defacto standard for choosing a forms designer. But the average SharePoint developer mostly reaches out to ASP.NET when he needs to create a form for SharePoint. It is surprising to note that at all those places you can employ InfoPath to even quicker form creation for enterprise management functions. Now, to take advantage of the same, clients normally want to embed InfoPath forms into a SharePoint 2007 site. There are 2 options for doing this – One, you could just create a forms library and link to the appropriate InfoPath forms. Two, you could try embedding the InfoPath 2007 form right inside SharePoint 2007. This can be done using web parts or can also be done programmatically.
With InfoPath 2010, SharePoint’s list forms can be now fully customized. You can change the look of the form, switch from single column to multi-column layouts, break the unified form into sections, validate the user-information entered, pre-populate fields, and cause certain sections of the form to show and hide automatically. After customizing the form, publishing the form back to the SharePoint site would replace the default form.
Microsoft InfoPath was released as a part of Microsoft Office 2007 to develop XML-based data entry forms. The ability to write, edit and view XML documents with one to many links among different schema was developed by InfoPath 2007. Towards the later part of 2009, Microsoft released a beta version of InfoPath which was split into two separate functionalities – InfoPath Designer and InfoPath Filler. We would focus on InfoPath 2010, on the whole, in this document.

Benefits of InfoPath 2010

Enables Quick and Efficient Form creation.
Helps create sophisticated and rich forms without writing code in InfoPath with just one click.
Gives participants the ability to fill out forms online or offline.
Helps in building modular, scalable, and portable SharePoint apps. The InfoPath Form webpart is now available too which can be used to create mashups without any coding.
Enables embedding of the forms in SharePoint Webparts.
Helps in connecting forms with line-of-business information and other Web Services.
Helps in more easily managing forms on the server.
We at Mindfire Solutions have been working with SharePoint 2007 and InfoPath 2007 integration since couple of years now. After the launch of SP2010 and InfoPath 2010, we also have executed projects for global customers which needed InfoPath integration services. Using web part connections and other tricks, we can eliminate the need for massive coding which might be needed for custom form creation as well as the integration.

InfoPath is a versatile data-collection tool designed to make the creation of forms within SharePoint extremely easy, efficient, and connected to out-of-the-box or custom workflows. And yet, for IT pros and even SharePoint developers, InfoPath remains a mysterious application. Because SharePoint adoption is steadily increasing, we would like to take the opportunity to assist you more in your custom SharePoint Development needs.

Whats in store for me?

We are currently working on a few SharePoint 2010 projects which include SharePoint Migration and SharePoint development. Migrating from other technologies & older versions of SharePoint to SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 is our major strength at Mindfire Solutions. If you are looking to build a collaborative Enterprise 2.0, we can assist you in achieving your goal. Mindfire is a Microsoft Gold Certified company with its SharePoint professionals certified in Microsoft technologies. Please feel free to contact us now for your SharePoint needs.

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