SharePoint Conference 2014 is wrapping up today, and the SharePoint community is monitoring Microsoft’s every move. The death of InfoPaths continues to be a heated topic amongst our SharePoint consultants. For some: it’s good riddance to the slightly odd ASPX editor – gone are the days frustrating with data connections.
For others however, they like InfoPath for its fantastic user interface maker despite using tables for everything, which is contrary to the proper web design mentality. InfoPath is fast, easy, handles an impressive amount of logic, is quick to deploy, and in many cases, can create a serious wow factor to the end client.
Earlier in the week, we discussed the future possibilities of InfoPath, but what are SP users to do in the meantime? Let’s look at the major outcomes of this announcement and what’s to come.
Ongoing Support Through April 2023
Before abandoning InfoPath abruptly, you might want to reconsider a more seamless transition. When developing for a modern SharePoint environment, InfoPath is still the recommended build path in what to do and where to go with your forms. Microsoft announced it will still be supported for another decade, so why rush into a new alternative? Until the replacement for InfoPath is made clear for ALL SharePoint environments (online and on-premise installations), we recommend to continue using InfoPaths.
SharePoint Conference (SPC) 2014
One of the major topics at this year’s SPC is InfoPath. This is the big event for folks who want to know the direction Microsoft SharePoint is going. Microsoft didn’t provide any tangible concrete solutions yesterday during their Forms Strategy discussion, however, it is important to note that they are listening to users. SharePoint users can provide feedback on features or changes they want to see within InfoPath. This could be beneficial in shaping the future replacements for InfoPaths, so make sure you voice your concerns.
Office 365 Forms
As the spiritual successor to InfoPath, this is one of the technologies that Microsoft is aiming to replace it with. Well, its aiming to replace all of Office with it, and including it as an online SharePoint-like solution. There has been talk on official blogs of how to better integrate this as part of a forms services solution, but it still has not taken hold.
Supply, Demand, & Official Replacements
There are plenty of other forms products on the market that satisfy the needs of clients that don’t want to use InfoPath. To be perfectly frank, Microsoft has changed their minds on a lot of things in the past year and users are frustrated. There is still a demand for a forms product, and many businesses will continue to use InfoPath until they no longer can. Change makes users wary, especially when the replacement is yet to be launched. Either Microsoft will create a system that is easily migrated from InfoPath 2013, or someone else will.
InfoPath is far from dead at this point. The most recent 2013 release came out just over a year ago, and it has not even completed its full life cycle. The shock value of this announcement is beginning to subside, and users should accept InfoPath as their primary forms solution for the time being. Yesterday’s SPC Forms Strategy discussion had little to offer in terms of updates. So, until we hear of any new solid replacements, be cautious before you call a perfectly good product dead.
Have you been following the SharePoint Conference 2014? What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s slow approach to provide a replacement for InfoPath? Comment below!