Mobility Blog

Hello World: Creating your first Formotus mobile workflow form on SharePoint

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Ms. Neagu is a noted expert on data applications and XML technologies. Adriana was co-inventor of Microsoft Office InfoPath, and co-holds 4 InfoPath patents.

Hello World job waiting with memo

Formotus mobile workflow forms are capable of amazing things. Here we’ll show you how to do one simple thing.

This demo creates a simple workflow form that allows mobile users on Windows, iPad or Android to “send” an InfoPath form back and forth to each other with changed content. The reason “send” is in quotes? Nothing really moves from one user to the other — it’s not like an email attachment. The form always resides on SharePoint, and what changes is who can see it to check it out, download it and fill it. If it’s not assigned to you, you don’t see it — and that’s the core functionality of mobile workflow forms.

Requirements

In order to complete this simple workflow form you will need:

  • Microsoft Office InfoPath 2013 for creating the form
  • The Hello World form downloadable here (or create your own)
  • Microsoft SharePoint for storing the form online (any version will do, as long as your credentials let you create a form library)
  • Enough prior knowledge or ability to learn these Microsoft products to follow our abbreviated instructions
  • A Formotus account for deploying the form to mobile devices (get a free trial here)
  • At least one Android or iOS device (preferably two), with Forms Central installed from an app store.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1. Use InfoPath to create the form

If you are familiar with InfoPath, this may be the simplest form you ever used. It just has three text boxes bound to three simple fields. Nothing special here.

Hello World simple InfoPath form
Start with the simplest InfoPath form ever

You can download the Hello World form here. This form needs to be set to full trust, published to a SharePoint form library with all three fields promoted, and then it needs to be set to submit to that same library. This is all standard Microsoft procedure, nothing Formotus-specific yet. In InfoPath 2010:

  1. Click File | Form Options | Security and Trust | unmark Automatically determine… | Full Trust | Sign this form template | OK
  2. Click File | Publish | SharePoint Server
  3. Enter the URL of the SharePoint site where you want to publish the form template, and enter credentials
  4. Choose to create a Form Library, then New form library, and name the library Hello World
  5. Use the Add button in the Publishing Wizard to promote each of the three fields as SharePoint columns
    Promote all three fields
    Promote all three fields when publishing to SharePoint

     

  6. Complete the wizard and open the SharePoint form library for future use.
  7. Click File | Info | Submit Form | To SharePoint Library
  8. Enter the URL of your Hello World SharePoint Library (e.g. https://server.com/site/subsite/Hello%20World)
    Note: If you copy and paste from a browser, be sure to remove everything after the form library name (typically you need to delete /Forms/AllItems.aspx)
  9. To give each submission a unique filename, click Fx and enter now() in the formula area. Complete the wizard.
  10. Select the Submit button control in the form.  In the Properties tab on the ribbon find the Action dropdown on the left and choose  Submit. You can use the Submit Actions button to verify and manage the submit settings now attached to the button.
  11. Optional: Set the default value of the From textbox to the function userName() so it will autofill with a Formotus ID

 

Step 2: Use the Formotus console to deploy the form

Here we’ll use the Formotus cloud console to turn our InfoPath form into a mobile workflow form and deploy it to two mobile users who can be using iOS or Android devices.

  1. Log into your Formotus account here  (register for free trial first here if needed)
  2. If you don’t already have at least two mobile users, add one. From the Dashboard or Users page, click New User. Fill in the required fields and an easy password, and click Done.
  3. From the Dashboard or Forms page, click New Workflow Form. On the Upload Workflow Forms page, paste in the URL of your Hello World library and enter your SharePoint credentials. Click Upload.
  4. On the Workflow Forms Settings page use only the first two settings, Include a Memo Line and Filter for User ID. Use the two dropdowns to select the appropriate fields in the form:
    Create a second-line memo in the job list = Memo
    Show only jobs assigned to the user = AssignedTo
    (There may be extra characters inserted in the field names by SharePoint; not to worry)
  5. Disregard the other filters on this page as we’ll explain how to use these in future posts.
  6. Click Upload to make the form live for deployment.
  7. On the Success page click Deploy This Form. Alternatively you can click the Deployments tab at the top of the page.
  8. On the Deployments page, make sure the Hello World form is selected on the left. Mark the checkboxes for both User 1 and User 2, then click Deploy to move those users to the Deployed list. Click  Done. 

Your Hello World for is now configured and deployed.

Step 3: Use SharePoint to initiate a workflow

A workflow job on the mobile device is created when you add an InfoPath form instance to your SharePoint library. We’ll use InfoPath to add the first workflow job.

  1. In your Hello World SharePoint form library, click Add Document
  2. Accept security warnings until the form opens in InfoPath
    Note: If you get a security error related to UserName,  you may need to adjust your Internet Explorer security settings. For this and related issues, see Dealing with InfoPath trust and security issues.
  3. Enter the Formotus ID (email)  of one of your mobile users in the To field.
  4. In the Memo field enter “Let’s get this workflow going!”
  5. Optional: Enter something in the From field
  6. Submit the form
  7. Verify the submitted instance now appears in your SharePoint library

    Hello world job created
    Add a form in SharePoint assigned to a mobile user ID

Step 4: Use the workflow form on a mobile device or two

Here comes the payoff. Let’s assume you have two different mobile users on different devices: User 1 is the user you assigned the job to in Step 3, and User 2 is your other mobile user. (If you only have one device, play along by logging out as one user and logging in as the other user, as required.)

  1. Log in as user1 on a mobile device (this one is an Android phone)

    Hello World - New form available
    The app is pushed to User 1 on an Android
  2. Tap on Hello World to download and install it

    Hello World installed
    The installed app shows 1 job waiting on SharePoint
  3. Tap on Hello World again to open the job list

    Hello World job waiting with memo
    The job is waiting online and info about it is visible
  4. Tap the job to open the form. Change the To field to your User 2 ID, and change the Memo field to “Over to you, user two!”

    Hello World form on Android
    User 1 changes the To and Memo fields, and submits the form
  5. Submit the form. Because it is no longer assigned to User 1, you will no longer be able to see the job.
  6. Log in to Forms Central with your User 2 ID. Tap to install the form, open the job list, and open the form. Notice you see the data entered by User 1 (but the From field auto-fills with User 2 ID)
  7. Tap Forms to return to the job list. Notice you have now grabbed (downloaded) the form so you can fill it out any time, even if not connected.

    Hello world pushed to User 2 on iPad
    User 2 grabs the form on iPad with changes made by User 1 on Android

Your Formotus mobile users can pass this form around to each other as much as they want. There can be as many different users as your subscription supports, and for ease of use you’d probably want to put the users in a drop-down list for easy selection.

This form doesn’t do very much, but we hope it gives you plenty of ideas about the possibilities for using a workflow like this in your own mobility solutions.

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