Saturday, February 1, 2014

InfoPath Being Retired

Announcement: Well there was a big announcement in the SharePoint world that hit me personally – InfoPath is being retired -

Reflection: I had been waiting for public announcement and it was pretty obvious it was coming down when we saw that no new additions or investments (of any importance) we made into InfoPath 2013 and InfoPath Form Services.

Now InfoPath has a special place in my heart and I will say that my love for InfoPath put me where I am today. Really. When I first started at RDA Corp back in 2005 I was just a .NET engineer. My first project I was thrown into an engagement where I had to learn InfoPath 2003, 2003, BizTalk 2004 and SharePoint 2003 in a week and make them work. That project change my life. I built this solution (with some smart people) which eventually was the finalist for solution of the year at the Microsoft World Wide Partner conference. It had tons of InfoPath components which were hooked on top of a VAX mainframe. I subsequently got hooked into the developer community in ways I had not done before. I starting doing more and more InfoPath and K2 projects and then I got really hooked into SharePoint; the rest is history. I was able to get a job as a SharePoint TSP at Microsoft which has transcended into a career doing Office 365. I can say, it was InfoPath that sparked my love for the Microsoft productivity stack to build business solutions. I started saying “why do I need to build solutions from scratch when I can take all the Microsoft solutions together and build something”.

Over the years on this blog I had wrote extensively on how to do development, best practices and build solutions for InfoPath - My first blogs in September 2007 were focused on InfoPath. I thought it was a great solution with SharePoint to build business forms and automate them using simple or complex business processes. Reflecting back, I found that InfoPath did a lot of great things for standard to moderately complex forms but when you brush up against the edges (which is what I had to do a lot as a consultant) you found tough things you would be able to resolve with a custom web form. I would always be put into these debates with colleagues on this topic.

Where Do We Go From Here: I believe Microsoft product team is making the right decision. InfoPath had its day, it is a great concept behind it to create forms quickly, extract the XML, shred it and sent it to a database. However today there are so many development frameworks for rapid development and Microsoft is going to continue to create new solutions that will help customers build forms and process automated solutions. Support for InfoPath is not going away anytime soon, they are keeping support through April 2023 (not a typo) and I still say InfoPath is a great solution, just nothing new is being introduced. They noted they plan to create some migration scenarios in Q4 of CY2014, so I will be keeping an eye out for that.

No comments: