Microsoft announces InfoPath 2013 is the last version ... what to do!? - Patrick Halstead
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InfoPath Dev

Patrick Halstead

Microsoft announces InfoPath 2013 is the last version ... what to do!?

On Friday, Microsoft announced that InfoPath 2013 would be the last version: http://blogs.office.com/2014/01/31/update-on-infopath-and-sharepoint-forms/

Many InfoPath form designers, users and business process managers may be wondering what to do.

Short Summary

InfoPath technology is currently the best electronic form technology on the market for the following reasons:

  • Low cost - included in SharePoint/O365, office workers can create rich forms that validate input without code
  • Easy to deploy - no client installs required; InfoPath supports browser forms and domain trust
  • Connect to Web services - InfoPath's native XML support means you can easily connect to enterprise data to pre-populate fields and dropdowns without code
  • Good looking forms - InfoPath displays forms in HTML which is Web client and means you can create very good-looking rich forms

Microsoft has announced that 2013 will be the last version but what's next? 

  • Microsoft will support InfoPath 2013 (and SharePoint 2013) until 2023
  • Currently, there is no specific guidance on Migrating InfoPath
  • Microsoft has hinted that there will be another announcement at the SharePoint 2014 conference in March
  • Because InfoPath format is XML, assuming your InfoPath forms have well-named data sources, it will be easy to migrate your existing form data to another platform
  • Several alternate applications already exist that read and write InfoPath-designed forms:

Timeline for InfoPath going away (please note: these are my guess and are not based on communication with Microsoft)

  • 2014: Microsoft announces no future InfoPath versions (see blog post above)
  • 2014: Microsoft Office 365 (cloud) toggles InfoPath browser option to be default off
  • 2016: Microsoft Office 365 disables InfoPath for new customers
  • 2016: SharePoint 2016 ships with no support for InfoPath
  • 2016: InfoPath Designer available as a free "sunset" download (???)
  • 2018: Microsoft Office 365 disables InfoPath browser for all cloud customers
  • 2020: Compatibility bugs with service packs prevent filler from working with SharePoint 2016 (???)
  • 2022: Last year of support for InfoPath 2013 filler/designer

Suggested migration timeline - here is a proposed timeline for you:

  • 2014: wait and see what Microsoft announces new initiatives at SharePoint 2014 conference in March
  • 2014: continue using InfoPath to build / prototype electronic form solutions BECAUSE ITS INEXPENSIVE AND DATA CAN BE MOVED EASILY
  • 2014: start planning migration of InfoPath forms - review other apps, set priorities and requirements, evaluate cost of all viable options, and get organization buy off on plan
  • 2015: perform proof-of-concept migration of  one or two forms to vet and/or re-evaluate plan
  • 2015: perform migration of a business critical form on existing SharePoint site and/or future SharePoint platform to bolster organizational confidence
  • 2015: re-evaluate and revise migration plan based on results of initial migrations
  • 2016: migrate all existing business critical InfoPath forms to existing SharePoint site and/or new SharePoint platform
  • 2017: migrate non-critical forms as needed

Qdabra Software (providers of InfoPathDev) is here to assist you with your migration.

Action Items for Now

  • Check out my webinar recording from last week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_rhNrFx5D8&list=PL581899A129522F53
  • Check out http://formsquo.com/ for updates. We will be updating the site at the end of February and after Microsoft's announcement in March
  • Check out Qdabra's newsletters
  • Create awareness on your team of the potential changes ahead
  • Continue doing what you are doing - Microsoft is still using InfoPath internally and likely will be doing so for many years
  • Stay abreast of the new developments by following #InfoPath on Twitter.

Lastly, keep in mind that change is the only constant out there. Everything changes eventually so announcing that there will be a change publicly seems a bit pretentious. And, change doesn't always result in improvement. Lots of companies skip upgrading to new versions if the cost-benefit calculations don't make business sense.

Qdabra Software is committed to providing you and our many customers a positive path forward. We are here to help you continue creating value from your existing IT investment and assist in planning and implementation of future online business processes.

Thank you! 

 

 

Comments

 

Patrick Halstead said:

February 2, 2014 12:32 PM
 

InfoPath is Dead? | InfoPath and SharePoint Designer said:

Pingback from  InfoPath is Dead? | InfoPath and SharePoint Designer

February 5, 2014 7:24 AM
 

Trevor Arter said:

Thank for that! I'll be staying tuned!

February 16, 2014 4:07 AM
 

snehalrana said:

Infopath technology and Designer is never going to be dead. There will be companies/clients out there who would like to stay with the Infopath forms. Maybe this will give enough time to fix the existing bugs

February 17, 2014 9:00 AM
 

Lisa Choi said:

Coming from a consulting background, it is foolish to think that one technology is going to last forever.  Proper guidance for clients for longevity is what is needed.  Yes, I like what InfoPath can do but there are some shortcomings to it as well.  What matters in the end is what is next up and how to prepare for it.

September 22, 2014 1:21 PM
 

amikate said:

SharePoint Infopath will never dead. Now it's 2017, at Microsoft Ignite so many features are discussed for the update of SharePoint.

January 19, 2017 10:58 PM

About Patrick Halstead

Hello! I am the founder of Qdabra Software, a small bootstrap software company focused on electronic forms for customers of all stripes. We help organizations design and implement solutions using off-the-shelf technologies such as Office 365, SharePoint and InfoPath. We help you build form solutions in the cloud or on premises. My hobbies include running, hiking, independent film, and Japanese culture.
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