I’m obsessed with InfoPath…


Or at least it’s capabilities.  For years I’ve struggled with, and invented,
and fudged, and jury-rigged, many ways to deal with and track project information. 
We have a status report InfoPath form in a Sharepoint library, and each Monday I read
each project status for the week, and compile it to a separate spreadsheet
and status report.  This week I gave in to my feeling that there must
be a better way, and spent a day digging into InfoPath, and how I could surface information
from the status in the library views.  I ended up adding a couple of fields to
the form to allow us to group status in different way (there’s still not an easy way
in Sharepoint  to filter documents in a relative date range, so I added a “WeekOf”
field), and then an internal type grouping field), and created views which allow me,
and everyone else at MDSN, to check current project status at a glance.  It’s
so exactly what I need.

My mind has been spinning with possibility.  I also created a form this week
for requesting new projects, and spent my Saturday morning tweaking it (adding validation, conditional
fields and the like).  I had to be reminded at dinner tonight that not everyone
was interested (luckily my partner is, at least to a point) in the opportunities provided
by the InfoPath/Sharepoint combination.  I can’t wait to finish up and roll out
the new form, and also I can’t wait to update the status report InfoPath form to use
a secondary data source, xml of course, to feed my drop-down lists.  Woo hoo,
this standardization of project names will allow me to connect with other data
sources like bug stats, and give me a way to comapre the current lists of projects
with what’s in the library to make sure we’ve gotten status for each one. 
It should also allow me to work towards a file name standardization by suggesting
a filename that combines project name and date for saving to the library. 

Comments (9)

  1. ATG says:

    Infopath and Sharepoint are AWESOME tools! If you are someone who likes process and organization, this combo can be your best friend. I have been using both for past 5-6 months and have to say I would have great issues turning back. And I know I haven’t even started to tap its potential.

  2. doobius says:

    Like Lotus Notes, Infopath will be crack. So easy that apps will pop up everywhere. Many of them very good. Many of them horrid.

    At least Infopath is xml so unlike proprietary formats like .nsf, the data is free and easy.

  3. >> use a secondary data source, xml of course, to feed my drop-down lists

    Has anyone gotten this to work in InfoPath? I’m trying to use a SharePoint list as a secondary data source? Does anyone have an idea on the parameters? For example, the list name (a guid), does the {} need to be provided or should they be omitted? SharePoint and InfoPath seem like great products, but the documentation sucks…

    Thanks…

  4. Here is an interesting article that speaks directly to using SharePoint lists as a secondary datasource. Requires use of IPath Service Pack 1, but sure makes it look easy!

  5. pjwulf@msn.com says:

    can you share samples of your status report Infopath forms? I have a similar need and I want to combine the use of Sharepoint and Infopath.