Mobility Blog

InfoPath Forms in a Cloud-Mobile World

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Written by 

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.

InfoPath Replacement

Formotus is the only InfoPath-compatible alternative to InfoPath. Although Microsoft ceased development on InfoPath and will offer no next version, Formotus continues to augment the capabilities of InfoPath form templates.

Step 1: Embrace InfoPath

It has become clear over the last couple years that InfoPath is not actually going away anytime soon. First Microsoft discontinued its effort to build a replacement for InfoPath. Then InfoPath browser forms were included in SharePoint 2016, and support for InfoPath was promised until 2026.  InfoPath 2013 was made to work alongside Office 2016 and offered as a free standalone download.

Step 2: Augment InfoPath

Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine what the next version of InfoPath might have looked like if the product had not been discontinued. Surely it would have moved toward the Microsoft vision of “Mobile-First, Cloud-First”. But Formotus has been augmenting InfoPath with cloud and mobile features since long before it was discontinued.

Mobile-first, cloud-first InfoPath

Formotus offers these features today to modernize your InfoPath form templates:

  • Enhance InfoPath Designer with rich mobile data controls to capture photos, signatures, GPS, maps, barcodes, etc.
  • Upload InfoPath form templates to the cloud and deploy them in apps to authorized users.
  • Add reporting capabilities in a cloud console to monitor usage of apps and forms
  • Fill InfoPath forms on iOS, Windows and Android devices in native mobile apps from the stores
  • Utilize robust “offline-first” forms management on mobile devices for continuous productivity regardless of an Internet connection

Step 3: Supplant InfoPath–The Formotus Roadmap

Supplant means “to supersede and replace”. Here’s our roadmap for supplanting the two main components of InfoPath:  InfoPath Filler and InfoPath Designer.

InfoPath Filler

We’ve already supplanted InfoPath Filler with mobile apps for form filling on iOS, Windows and Android devices. We offer two apps: the Formotus Pro app and the Formotus Now app, for form filling in different business scenarios.

InfoPath Designer

Our roadmap for form design is two-pronged.

First, we plan to continue to support InfoPath Designer for as long as our customers find it useful — which we expect to be many years to come. It’s an extraordinary form design tool unlike any other, and it will always be an option for Formotus customers.

Second, Formotus offers an easy-to-use form creator. Unlike InfoPath Designer, ours was born in the cloud and optimized for a mobile world.

Follow a Seamless Migration Path

Eventually, you will need to replace InfoPath, so you’re smart to be making long-range plans. Formotus offers the only migration path that lets you move away from InfoPath gradually, at your own pace, without disruption. Here’s a migration path we recommend:

  1. Stick with InfoPath wherever it’s working for you. It will be around a long time.
  2. Add Formotus for projects needing mobile or cloud features InfoPath alone can’t provide.
  3. Transition gradually from InfoPath Designer to the Formotus creator as needed.

Blending Solutions

InfoPath to Formotus
Seamless, Gradual Transition

It’s important to understand the nuance of how InfoPath and Formotus mobile forms can operate together.

Formotus apps run both kinds of forms.  Forms built using InfoPath Designer and mobile forms created with the Formotus creator both run side-by-side in the Formotus apps. The end user sees no difference.

Formotus app users can collaborate with InfoPath users. When the forms are built with InfoPath Designer, SharePoint doesn’t recognize any difference. So, for example, a form submitted to a SharePoint library from Formotus Now or Formotus Pro can be opened as an InfoPath browser form. It’s also possible to open a form from a SharePoint library in a Formotus app.

 

 

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