Deploying InfoPath Forms to SharePoint Online 365

Deployment of InfoPath Forms in SharePoint Online 365 is somewhat similar to deploying on SharePoint on-premises, however with a few minor changes.

Here are the steps to deploy InfoPath on SharePoint Online 365:

1. In InfoPath Forms, open Blank Form.

1.InfoPathBlankForm.png

2. In the header of the form, type in Employee Details.

3. Then add a table. To start off with, add 2 rows, and 4 columns.

2.AddTable.png

4. In the field, right click myFields, and add two fields to start off with:

FirstName, and LastName.

3.AddFields.png

5. Add the fields to the form:

4.AddFieldsToForm.png

6. Then save the form by clicking on File in the ribbon, then Save, and give it an appropriate name, in this case:

EmloyeeDetails.xsn

5.SaveForm.png

7. Then click on File, then Publish, and then SharePoint Server.

6.PublishSharePointServer.png

8. Insert URL of your SharePoint Online 365 site.

7.InsertURLOfSharePointSite.png

Note: You might get a pop up message at this step saying:

The feature requires SharePoint Server 2010 or greater with InfoPath Forms Services enabled

Please refer to the blog below to resolve this issue:

The feature requires SharePoint Server 2010 or greater with InfoPath Forms Services enabled

9. Then it will prompt you to insert username and password, and then click on Sign in.

8.PromptToInsertPassword.png

10. Then select Form Library, and click Next.

8.SelectFormLibrary.png

11. Then select Create a new form library, and click next.

12. Then type in name of Form Library and click next, in this case:

Employee Details

9.TypeInNameOfFormLibrary.png

13. Keep on clicking next, until you see the Publish button.

10.PublishButton.png

14. And then click on Publish.

15. Then check Open this form library…, and then click close.

11.OpenThisFormLibrary.png

16. A browser will open in SharePoint Online 365 to the Employee Details Forms Library, click on New button.

12.ClickOnNewButton.png

17. Then the form should now be opened in SharePoint Online 365.

13.FormNowOpenedInSharePointOnline.png

 

 

 

Custom SharePoint List Online Forms and Workflows to choose from

In this year of 2017, SharePoint has come out with many flavours and approaches in the way of developing online approval forms, such as a “travel expense form”. From a history list of SharePoint versions, such as SharePoint 2007 all the way to SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online 365, the question arises when wanting to develop a Custom SharePoint Form, of what approaches or technologies is their available in the market and what approaches we can use to develop Custom SharePoint Forms. And the next question arises, which workflow tool to use in creating for example approvals in workflows?

Well some of the well known tools in the market for SharePoint Online Form development are:

Online Form Technologies Advantages / disadvantages
infopath_logo.png InfoPath Forms Advantage:

  • Quicker Development Time as generally no code is required (although you can still add code to InfoPath Forms)
  • Very powerful form with views, rules, and many controls
  • Able to link with web services, and SharePoint list data
  • Easy to learn, and software development coding background is not required (unless adding code)

Disadvantage:

  • Not able to attach large files, such as small video files
  • InfoPath is getting deprecated by Microsoft
  • Might experience issues with non-internet explorer browsers
VS2012Logo ASP.NET Web Parts Visual WebParts Advantage:

  • Visual Studio required
  • Allow CSS and JavaScript coding
  • Able to use most ASP.NET controls, with some SharePoint controls such as People Picker

Disadvantage:

  • Longer to develop as code is required, and therefore ASP.NET (preferably C#) coding knowledge background is required.
SPServices HTML, JQuery, and SPServices Advantage:

  • Able to debug directly in web browser, such as google chrome, internet explorer.
  • Provides strong functionalities with HTML controls.

Disadvantage:

  • Longer to develop as code is required, and therefore JavaScript coding knowledge background is required.
  • Not able to use in SharePoint 2007
  • Sometimes harder to debug as the code is in JavaScript and JQuery.
AngularJS_Short.png Angular JS, JQuery, with SharePoint Rest Service API Advantage:

  • Able to debug directly in web browser, such as google chrome, internet explorer.
  • Angular modifies the page DOM directly instead of adding inner HTML code.
  • Provides strong functionalities with HTML controls.

Disadvantage:

  • Longer to develop as code is required, and therefore Angular, JavaScript coding knowledge background is required.
  • Not able to use in SharePoint 2007
  • Sometimes harder to debug as the code is in JavaScript and JQuery.
PowerAppsLogo PowerApps In this year 2017, PowerApps is fairly new in the market for form development. PowerApps is highly being pushed by Microsoft in the cloud on SharePoint Online 365, and it is seen as an alternative to InfoPath forms development, as InfoPath is getting depreciated by Microsoft.

Advantage:

  • Already comes with the Office 365 Online products (with SharePoint Online, PowerApps, Flows, etc.).
  • No code required, and therefore no coding knowledge required.

Disadvantage:

  • New in the market.
 NintexForms

k2SmartForms.png

AgilePointLogo.jpg

3rd Party
Forms
There maybe many 3rd Party Forms out there, but the 3 main 3rd Party Forms for SharePoint that I have come across with are from:

Advantage:

  • All these forms comes with workflows.
  • Comes with some great feature. Each 3rd Party tool has it’s own features.

Disadvantage:

  • Cost money to purchase.
  • Some of these forms might not be as powerful as InfoPath Forms, but you never know in the future.

 

Now moving on to workflows, how do we decide which workflow tool to use with SharePoint?

Well, the most cheapest option, out there is:

1. SharePoint Designer Workflows

SharePoint Designer Workflows are a free Workflow tool that can be downloaded from the internet, however even though it’s free, it doesn’t provide a image look and feel of the Workflow once it’s deployed. Basically, to find out what steps have been completed, and what is the current step in the Workflow, you would have to do a lot of logging in the Workflow.

Below is the design view of SharePoint Designer Workflow:

SharePointDesignerWorkflow

 

2. Nintex Workflows (https://www.nintex.com/)

Nintex Workflows might be one of the most used Workflows tools out there in this time by alot of companies. Nintex Workflow provide a great graphical interface, and it is easy to use and develop.

NintexWorkflow2007.png

 

3. AgilePoint Workflows (http://agilepoint.com/)

AgilePoint Workflow are one of my favourites. Really complicated Workflows can be developed with AgilePoint. This is definitely one of the options considered when deciding to purchase a online Workflow tool.

Workflow4

 

4. K2 Workflows (https://www.k2.com/)

K2 Workflows are another great option to choose from, and comes with many features, including Lazy Approval. K2 Workflows are a real advantage with your work environment. The design interface of K2 Workflows can be browser based, hosted in SharePoint, Visio and Visual Studio.

K2Workflow

 

5. Flow Workflows

Flow is relatively new to the market, and is a Microsoft based Workflow. Flow is highly being pushed by Microsoft in the cloud on SharePoint Online 365.Flow goes well with PowerApps. It might be a good option with SharePoint Online 365, but currently SharePoint on-premises, other Workflow tools are more used.

FlowWorkflow.png

 

In conclusion, spend some good research time into what Custom SharePoint Online Forms and Workflows tool to choose from, as generally when a SharePoint Online Forms and Workflow tool is selected, then many projects will be developed using those tools.

 

The feature requires SharePoint Server 2010 or greater with InfoPath Forms Services enabled

With SharePoint Online 365, the first issue you might get with InfoPath forms is this error message below:

The feature requires SharePoint Server 2010 or greater with InfoPath Forms Services enabled:

SPOnline365InfoPathFormServicesNotEnabledMessage

To resolve this issue, you must have access to SharePoint admin center. Here are the steps involved:

1. In the Admin center, go to SharePoint admin center.

2. Select infopath menu.

3. Check “Allow users to browser-enable form templates“, and “Render form templates that are browser-enabled by users“, and then click OK.

2.CheckInfoPathBrowserEnabledFormTemplates.png

4. You will get prompted with the message below, but just ignore the message and click OK:

Office 365 will support InfoPath Forms Services through 2015, but Microsoft is in the process of retiring InfoPath-based technologies.

To learn more, please refer to http://aka.ms/ipfs

Do you still want to enable InfoPath Form Services

3.InfoPathDepreciationMessage.png

This message only means that Microsoft is eventually depreciating and will no longer support InfoPath Form Services in the future.

5. Go back to InfoPath Forms, and you should now be able to connect to the SharePoint Online 365 list (also known as apps), or create a new SharePoint list.