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I just had a discussion with a customer asking what's the role of InfoPath.

InfoPath 2003 is a really cool product to create forms accessing XML Web Services. Forms can be created automatically by referencing a XML schema, a database, or a web service. Forms are stored in an XML format and can be easily distributed.

However, custom validation is done by using JavaScript. InfoPath shouldn't be used to create a complex UI. This is the role of Windows Forms.

Update: Rufus Ruse mentioned the InfoPath SDK. With the InfoPath SDK it is possible to get rendering in IE for non-InfoPath end-users.



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Owen Cutajar

If you look at Microsoft's blurb on Infopath, it's designed as a client tool; however, thick clients are usually hard to deploy especially if you want to roll our a solution to third-parties you don't have control over. Has anyone seen some mechanism to render an Infopath form as a web form? That would be cool.

Christian Nagel

Owen, I'm looking at InfoPath as a client tool in an inter-company solution. You have to deploy this tool once (maybe with Office 2003 tools), and the forms can be distributed very easily (e.g. copying them on a server). Christian

Rufus Ruse

Read only version? Note that by adding a stylesheet PI to the form template XML, you can get read-only rendering (in IE) via an XSL apply for non-InfoPath end-users; see the updated InfoPath SDK for a tool that does this (or, with a little bit of typing, role-your-own). You can use the same technique for server side rendering... Cheers.

Owen Cutajar

Hi Christian, Deploying it within your organisation is fine, but if you're delivering a B2B application that needs to work at external parties (who may not have Office 2003 .. or Windows for that matter) .. Infopath may not be the way to go.

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