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#SPC14 Session on Forms

If you made trip to Las Vegas for the 2014 SharePoint Conference and attended the session about forms which addressed the retirement of InfoPath and possible replacements, you may have been left wondering “what just happened”.

The message was that Microsoft really doesn’t have a vision for replacing InfoPath, let alone a clear vision.  Kudos to the softies for admitting it, but… really? 

We saw some work-in-progress type ideas that weren’t too shabby in concept, but concepts don’t solve real-word problems and even the concepts left some serious questions on twitter unanswered. 

The good news is that InfoPath support will continue into the foreseeable future.

This should give you plenty of time to start replacing your forms with a suitable replacement.  I am personally very partial towards the Smart Forms Module by SharePoint AMS. 

Sure I happen to work for SharePoint AMS and sure, I happen to have been heavily involved in the product architecture and roadmap – but we didn’t make this product because InfoPath was awesome ;) 

The Smart Forms Module was born out of necessity.

If you think filling out a form is boring, try coding forms from scratch over and over and over.  It’s this lifeblood depleting exercise that drove the creation of what we believe to be a better way. 

…a simple to use web part that posts form data to a real-world SharePoint List (not a backend database, not an xml file) but to a List. 

The assumption of course is that if you have the desire to have a form on a SharePoint page, you must be using SharePoint.  So use it.
While it’s possible to use the Smart Forms Module to post to external databases and web services, the spirit of the product has always been to get the data into a SharePoint List because once it’s there you can do a lot with it (think workflows, alerts, Excel, Access, Outlook, etc.).

The Smart Forms Module is not a magic bullet.  It has limitations which is a tradeoff to achieve simplicity.  Still yet, it’s very powerful and worthy of living in your SharePoint toolbox for the time saving factor alone.

Consider taking it for a test drive.  Let us know what you think:  Smart Forms Module free trial download.