InfoPath Forms in a Cloud-Mobile World

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InfoPath vNext

InfoPath vNext

Formotus is the only InfoPath-compatible alternative to InfoPath. Although Microsoft ceased development on InfoPath and will offer no next version, Formotus continues to augment the capabilities of InfoPath form templates. You might say Formotus is offering ‘InfoPath vNext’.

Step 1: Embrace InfoPath

It has become clear over the last couple years that InfoPath is not actually going away anytime soon. First Microsoft discontinued its effort to build a replacement for InfoPath. Then InfoPath browser forms were included in SharePoint 2016, and support for InfoPath was promised until 2026.  InfoPath 2013 was made to work alongside Office 2016 and offered as a free standalone download. For details see our blog post:  Microsoft on the Future of InfoPath.

Take-away: There’s no reason to stop using InfoPath as long as it’s working for you.

Step 2: Augment InfoPath

Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine what the next version of InfoPath might have looked like if the product had not been discontinued. Surely it would have moved toward the Microsoft vision of “Mobile-First, Cloud-First“. But Formotus has been augmenting InfoPath with cloud and mobile features since long before it was discontinued.

Mobile-first, cloud-first InfoPath

Formotus offers these features today to modernize your InfoPath form templates:

  • Enhance InfoPath Designer with rich mobile data controls to capture photos, signatures, GPS, maps, barcodes, etc.
  • Upload InfoPath form templates to the cloud and deploy them in apps to authorized users.
  • Add reporting capabilities in a cloud console to monitor usage of apps and forms
  • Fill InfoPath forms on iOS, Windows and Android devices in native mobile apps from the stores
  • Utilize robust “offline-first” forms management on mobile devices for continuous productivity regardless of an Internet connection

Take-away: You can augment InfoPath’s capabilities and extend its useful life by using it in conjunction with Formotus.

Step 3: Supplant InfoPath — The Formotus Roadmap

Supplant means “to supersede and replace”. Here’s our roadmap for supplanting the the two main components of InfoPath:  InfoPath Filler and InfoPath Designer.

InfoPath Filler

We’ve already supplanted InfoPath Filler with mobile apps for form filling on iOS, Windows and Android devices. We actually offer two different apps, Formotus Pro and Formotus Now, for form filling in different business scenarios.

InfoPath Designer

Our roadmap for form design is two-pronged.

First, we plan to continue to support InfoPath Designer for as long as our customers find it useful — which we expect to be many years to come. It’s an extraordinary form design tool unlike any other, and it will always be an option for Formotus customers.

Second, we’ve now created our own easy-to-use online form design solution. Unlike InfoPath Designer, ours ours is born in the cloud and optimized for a mobile world. You can try out our online form creator for free today ➤

Take-away: InfoPath tools and Formotus alternatives will live side-by-side for a long time.

Follow a Seamless Migration Path

Eventually you will need to replace InfoPath, so you’re smart to be making long-range plans. Formotus offers the only migration path that lets you move away from InfoPath gradually, at your own pace, without disruption. Here’s a migration path we recommend:

  1. Stick with InfoPath wherever it’s working for you. It will be around a long time.
  2. Add Formotus for projects needing mobile or cloud features InfoPath alone can’t provide.
  3. Transition gradually from InfoPath Designer to the Formotus alternative as needed.

Blending Solutions

InfoPath to Formotus

Seamless, Gradual Transition

It’s important to understand the nuance of how InfoPath and Formotus can operate together.

Formotus apps run both kinds of forms.  Forms built using InfoPath Designer and forms created in the cloud console both run side-by-side  in the Formotus filler apps. The end user sees no difference.

Formotus app users can collaborate with InfoPath users. When the forms are built with InfoPath Designer, SharePoint doesn’t recognize any difference. So, for example, a form submitted to a SharePoint library from Formotus Now or Formotus Pro can be opened as an InfoPath browser form. It’s also possible to open a form from a SharePoint library in a Formotus app.

Take-away: Formotus lets you migrate away from InfoPath as quickly or slowly as you wish.

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