Microsoft made the big announcement last year. InfoPath, a staple of SharePoint sites everywhere, has met its final release and will no longer be supported after 2023.
We have 9 of 10 years of support left. That’s a long time, but developing on a dead end software seems like a bad idea. The question is, how much mileage can we get before the end of the road?
InfoPath also had some inherent limitations. The forms had a tendency to render strangely, especially on mobile devices. The licensing was expensive, especially for large organizations that didn’t need the rest of the SharePoint Enterprise features. Also, there were and are now a lot of third party products that did and do a better job than InfoPath.
Some InfoPath Replacements
- Nintex – Very powerful 3rd party program for creating forms and building custom workflows without having to know code.
- Custom .NET forms – Build the forms from scratch. Developers can create the forms in visual studio and deploy them on SharePoint.
- FoSL (Forms on SharePoint List) – Microsoft has promised to release this technology shortly.
- Excel Online Services – Only useful for very simple forms, and the mobile experience is bad.
- Access Online Apps Forms – The old stalwart Access to the rescue.
But the industry is waiting for Microsoft to pick a direction. Surely, we hope, they will announce a new product soon. It seems strange to discontinue one product without offering a replacement.
Until then, all we can do is speculate. Here is my Mary Poppins list for a replacement.
- HTML5/CSS3 compliant web form- no plug ins or desktop software beyond a browser required
- Mobile friendly
- Appable- I want to be able to quickly or automatically create apps for using the forms
- Backend agnostic- SharePoint lists, SQL, Access, Excel, Cuniform
- Automatic integration with SharePoint workflows
- WYSIWYG design
That doesn’t seem unreasonable. Actually, it sounds a lot like Google Forms.