Microsoft cloud engineer - SharePoint, Office 365, Azure, DotNet, Angular, JavaScript.
Microsoft cloud engineer - SharePoint, Office 365, Azure, DotNet, Angular, JavaScript.


Form Library JS – an InfoPath replacement?

Microsoft announced InfoPath will go away in 2023.  It makes sense and they have good reasons.   However, form developers are confused about available options.  I have an idea for the InfoPath Roadmap and would appreciate your feedback in the comments below or Twitter (@spjeff) please.

Why not use JavaScript to create similar XML documents?

When people say “InfoPath” they generally are referring to a three part system outlined below.   InfoPath strictly speaking is the form input experience.  Form Library holds the saved XML output.  SharePoint Designer can then trigger email notifications based on status change.



InfoPath as a form input experience has many limitations based on the server postback and Dot Net architecture.  Just try a large repeating table and watch the slow “Loading…” experience as users click and rules postback to the SharePoint IFS backend.   HTML5 and JavaScript offer new options for client side validation, async loading, mobile touch input, responsive layout, and advanced rendering with framworks like JQueryUI  / Bootstrap / Angular.   That’s awesome form input technology!    However, InfoPath is normally chosen for ease of use and “no code”.   Let’s think about how that conversation might go …

Developer Conversation

DEV1 >  “Hey did you hear Microsoft is retiring InfoPath in 2023?”

DEV2 >  “Yeah, but it’s all we have today so I’ll keep using it.  Not sure what else to use.  Sure would be nice to have HTML5 and cooler input experience.”

DEV1 > “Definitely.  Coding from scratch is a lot of work.  I don’t really want to mess around with SPList REST connections for CRUD or make a SQL database with SVC/OData for simple forms.  My head hurts.”

DEV2>  “True, but I guess we’ll gave to make a schema first then form later.”

DEV1 > “InfoPath saved as XML.   I like XML.  It works well for import/export across all of our systems.   Could we keep XML but ditch InfoPath?”

DEV2 > “Cool idea, but I’m not sure how.”

Why throw out the baby with the bathwater?   


Can’t we make fantastic forms with HTML5/JS and then save back to a Form Library in order to leverage SharePoint for storage, views, and workflow?    Right now this is just an idea.  I don’t yet have a working prototype to show but think it would be straightforward to convert JSON to XML and upload.     InfoPath would still be used but by developers for schema only (define XML structure).   End users would never see it.


Please leave a comment below and let me know if you think this might be practical.  Thanks!  






InfoPath – sample XSN form templates (2007, 2010, 2013)

Below are example form templates from InfoPath 2007 upgraded to the newer 2010 and 2013 versions.  With InfoPath Designer/Filler on the desktop as separate applications these templates were removed.   Hopefully these are helpful to those working on InfoPath 2010 and 2013 for quick start.




NOTE – There has been a lot of talk recently about InfoPath going away.   While that may happen over time, there are still thousands of live forms in production today SharePoint admins must support.   As long as Microsoft includes InfoPath in the Office suite I believe there will be many scenarios where InfoPath makes sense.   Complete an expense report and submit for approval?   Done.  One hour with InfoPath Designer and SharePoint Designer.  No code.  Anyone can support.  Just my two cents.

InfoPath – Repeating Table Select One Primary Row

Need to ask users to select one row in a repeating table?   Then you’ll want to see the screenshots below.  There are four simple components:

  1. Repeating table has “rowNum” with default value formula to dynamically calculate a row number.   “count(../preceding-sibling::*) + 1” can be entered with XPath mode.
  2. Main non-repeating “selectedRow” field outside of the table.  Will store the user selection.
  3. Make Primary” button in the repeating table.  Action rules here update the “selectedRow” number.
  4. icon” section to show the actively selected row.  Formatting rules here show it only when selected.


Now when a user clicks the “Make Primary” the main non-repeating “selectedRow” value will be updated to have the number of the actively selected row.  Formatting rules will hide the button and display a green check mark instead.  This provides user feedback and makes for a more intuitive experience.

Also, this solution could be extended with checkbox icons for a more seamless feel.  Simply change the regular “Make Primary” button to a picture button with an image with an unchecked box.   Then update the section to have an image of a fully checked box.   There are many options to format the active/de-active row display.


   CLICK HERE to download the XSN file



InfoPath Current User (AND Manager) Profile. Lumbergh Remix!

Recently I needed to get the current user and their manager’s Active Directory profile to auto-populate a form.   Itay Shakury wrote a great blog post titled Get the current user without writing code that covers the first need (current user) by reading UserProfileService.asmx. But I needed more.


Download sample form – ADManagerDetails.xsn

The strategy was to use 2 data connections and query the 2nd with the manager user ID from the first.   At that point you can map any document text field to be ready only and get the default value from one of these data connections.


Action Steps

  1. New InfoPath form in design mode
  2. Add 2 receive data connections to http://sharepoint2007/_vti_bin/UserProfileService.asmx
  3. Name them “UserProfile” and “ManagerProfile
  4. Leave the input parameters empty.  It will default to the current user.
  5. Open form Rules and add steps to “re-query” the ManagerProfile:
    1. Set field’s value:  query subtree of ManagerProfile to “Manager” value from UserProfile data tree
    2. Query data connection ManagerProfile.  With the filter set, it will now return different data.
  6. Enjoy and tell your friends.

Video Walkthrough (05:57)

How to build the sample form (above download) in full step-by-step video.  Only 6 minutes!  Well worth the time. 


InfoPath Current User (AND Manager) Profile. Lumbergh Remix! from Jeff Jones on Vimeo.

© Copyright 2016
@ SPJeff

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