There is a lot of confusion surrounding the future of Microsoft’s famous Forms tool within Sharepoint – Infopath. This article seeks to clear these confusions in simple lay-man terms, while presenting a viable alternative for Infopath users looking for options.
1. Infopath is deprecated and no longer being actively developed.
One thing is dead certain, Microsoft is not spending any more effort developing and modernizing InfoPath, and this has been true for a while. Microsoft officially announced Infopath’s deprecation as far back as in 2014, and has not released any new version beyond Infopath 2013.
In fact, till recently Microsoft was presenting a word of caution to users trying to activate Infopath.
The reason given for pulling the rug from under Infopath was..
Industry trends and feedback from our customers and partners make it clear that today’s businesses demand an intelligent, integrated forms experience that spans devices.
Thus implying Infopath is NOT an integrated, intelligent and modern forms experience – in its creators own words. Good reason to consider ditching it.
How long with Infopath be supported? Mark July ’21 on your calendar.
Microsoft’s documentation states that Infopath will continue to have “mainstream” support till 7/2021, and have “extended” support till 2026.
There is a big possibility that beyond mainstream support, most users will be left to the wilds of self help documentation.
Which versions of Sharepoint does InfoPath continue to work with?
Office 365 and Sharepoint Online – Microsoft has continued to support Infopath in office 365, but grudgingly so. After initially warning users that it would not longer be supported in Office 365 beyond 2015, it changed the end-of-support date to “until further notice”. There is no definite date, and you are basically left to Microsoft’s whim. While you can still activate Infopath as of 2021, you get ample warnings from Microsoft
Sharepoint Server 2016 and Sharepoint Server 2019. Infopath 2013 was last shipped with Sharepoint Server 2016, and is therefore supported. Infopath was not shipped with Sharepoint 2019, but Microsoft said that people who were previously on InfoPath 2013 would be supported by Sharepoint 2019.
Conclusion and a viable alternative
It should be amply clear that the writing is on the wall for InfoPath. Microsoft has itself been nudging everyone to the door. Users will be best served if they make plans to migrate ASAP.
However, this is actually an opportunity for organizations on InfoPath to implement a vastly more modern and efficient alternative. Technology has progressed by leaps and bounds since Infopath 2013 was developed.
WorkMap is one such alternative. It offers users all of what they were using in Infopath, plus additional capabilities.
Forms. WorkMap allows users to create intelligent and multi-device optimized forms through a simple drag and drop interface. Users have more than two dozen field type to choose form.
Relational Lists and Tables. Data from forms is collected in customized lists, which can be accessed by multiple team members. Data can be organized using relational links. Users are able to slice, dice and report on this data, however they choose.
Automation and Business Logic. WorkMap includes a powerful automation engine that allows users to set up simple if-then rules to manage task assignments, text and sms notifications, data updates etc.