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Confused

Last post 05-16-2008 03:45 PM by Tripytaka. 2 replies.
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  • 05-14-2008 10:00 PM

    Confused

    I am new to InfoPath and have become a bit confused as to how best implement my idea.

    I require users to complete forms using outlook or a web browser then to generate reports complete with charts and graphs from the data gathered. I have a website, which I wrote using Visual Web Developer (visual basic), that I want to use as part of this solution.

    I used InfoPath to create a form, and can fill it out in outlook and send the data to myself as an xml file.  Now I need to implement the next step - create reports complete with charts, graphs, and text from the captured data.

    My question is... what supporting software to I need to complete this task? I currently have SQL Server 2008 Express and Visual Web Developer 2008 Express, and InfoPath 2007.

    Is InfoPath the correct solution, or should I create the form in Visual Web Developer?
    Will Excel 2007 satisfy my requirements for reporting or do I need SQL Server or SharePoint Server.
    If I use SharePoint Server, do I have to install Windows Server 2008 to run it on?
    If I use SQL server, do I need SharePoint Server?

    I have read blogs, forums, and websites and have not been able to answer these questions. I just seem to get more confused. 

    All I want to do is, use electronic forms to capture data from a wide variety of users either via a web browser or outlook, store the data in an easily retrievable format and generate reports complete with charts, graphs, and text.

    I greatly appreciate all help.

  • 05-16-2008 07:44 AM In reply to

    I do this frequently.

    The typical architecture is to use SQL as the data repository and web services as the mechanism for interaction.  Thisworks very well with InfoPath's support ofr web services.

    Otherwixe your data is locked in each XML file.  Extracting the data to SQL and building relational records allows you to then use SQL Reporting Services or Excel or whatever to report and analyze the data.

    If you would like to see an example let me know.

    Filed under:
  • 05-16-2008 03:45 PM In reply to

    Hi Clay,

    Thanks for your prompt response.  Yes, I would really like to see an example. Even a diagram will be helpful.

    Is it correct to say that I should build the SQL database first and then the InfoPath form? Making the forms is easy enough; it is the architecture that I need to sort out. What goes where, what comes first etc.

    I have SQL 2008 Express, and have read this article regarding submitting form data to a Microsoft SQL Server database:

    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/infopath/HP101070601033.aspx

    I want users to fill out the forms using either outlook or a web browser.

    This article says to do this I have to publish my templates to a server running InfoPath Forms Services.  I understand InfoPath Forms Services is part of SharePoint Server. To run SharePoint I need Windows Server 200X.

    Is this correct or am I ‘confused’?  I had thought it would be a lot simpler than having to install two different servers.

    Thanks Clay.

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