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Publishing Infopath Form to SharePoint

Posted on 2013-11-29
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Last Modified: 2014-05-01
Hi there

To clarify - I'm using Infopath 2010.

I have inherited a number of SharePoint Form Libraries.  Each Library has a slightly different form template, although 99% of the field names are labelled the same in each variation of the template when I view them in the Infopath design view.

I have to make the some changes to each of these templates, and rather than make the changes to 6 different forms, I would like to make the changes to a single form template, and then add the additional 1% of fields which are not shared by each form template before I publish.

If I do this and ensure that all the field names are called the same as they were in their previously individual templates, will the data still populate when I publish to their individual SharePoint form libraries?  The last thing I want to do is publish to the form library and although the field name is the same, because I've published a different template, it loses all the previously held data in the form.

To give you an example.  There is a field called 'HighRiskRelationship' in 2 of my 6 templates which is called 'Risk_Level_High' in the other 4 variations.  If I work off a single template, make all the necessary changes, and save 6 different versions before publishing and then make the amendment to this particular field so it is called the same as it was the old template, will the data still appear when the users retrieve the form in SharePoint?

Thanks for your help
Dale
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Question by:DAFranzmann
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Expert Comment

by:clayfox
ID: 39685219
Hey Dale,

first question is do you continue to use the existing forms that are currently saves in the library? All depends on the information and workflow. Are users always starting a new form or looking up and editing an existing form or both?

Second is could they all just switch to a new consolidated library?  Not sure why you are stuck with 6 libraries that are redundant, maybe there are political reasons and maybe it just happened.

Third, how many existing XML files are there currently in the libraries? Just want to get an order of magnitude and usage. How many users interact with the forms?

Fourth do the forms use any external data from SP or other locations? How many data connections does each form have?  You can check in the ribbon bar.

There may be away to merge all these forms but not sure that is the best solution for you until I understand the scope.
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by:DAFranzmann
ID: 39685239
Thanks - answer to questions below:

first question is do you continue to use the existing forms that are currently saves in the library? All depends on the information and workflow.

Answer - yes - I need to use the existing forms and the data they hold, as well as the data from new forms they will create.

Are users always starting a new form or looking up and editing an existing form or both?

Answer - both.  New forms that don't have the new fields I am creating populated will simply have blanks until they have updated it.

Second is could they all just switch to a new consolidated library?  Not sure why you are stuck with 6 libraries that are redundant, maybe there are political reasons and maybe it just happened.

Answer - Stuck with 6 different libraries for political reasons.

Third, how many existing XML files are there currently in the libraries? Just want to get an order of magnitude and usage. How many users interact with the forms?

Answer - there are about 10,000 forms spread across the 6 libraries, with some more than others.  I have about 150 users accessing the various libraries.

Fourth do the forms use any external data from SP or other locations? How many data connections does each form have?  You can check in the ribbon bar.

Answer - the forms reference some lists that are housed on the SharePoint site (dropdown lists for country names for example).  There are only 2 of these.  The forms in this sense are very simple - a couple of linked lists as described above and a submit to the SharePoint library.  I then take all the published data fields and consolidate the 6 sources of data in an Access database for various reports etc.

Hopes this gives you some clarity.  I'm not keen on merging anything as yet because I do need to keep things separate for political reasons, so I'm keen to know if I can just work off a single template, keep the data field names the same as they are today and therefore keep the data that's already in the existing forms.

Cheers
Dale
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Accepted Solution

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livanescu earned 500 total points
ID: 39935640
the only way you can do this is to extract the form files and work to create a "master template" that will contain the variations for each of your 6 "children templates".
The main file will be the xsf that will hold the information.
Everything is pure xml so all you need is a good xml editor.
Another good utility must allow you to do easy diffs. Comparing will save you days of your life.
There will be distinct differences as each of the form libraries will have unique GUIDs for each promoted field.  You need to identify them and "combine" them in the "master".
I stored them as <!-- --> commented pieces of text on the xsf file.
For each view, defined as xslt, you can, again, use commenting to work on each "child". Or...
You can use an internal (invisible=not exposed in UI) field to identify the "child template" and hide discrepancies on the xslt views.
If you use a single view for each child, you end up with a single xslt that covers all children templates. Complex hiding logic can be done using UI natively in InfoPath.
If you use multiple views per child template, you will have to manage that as well. It's just another order of complexity.
All you need is lots of patience until you get a system running.
KISS is in order...
I have one such system and it's working for over 8 years - it allowed me to use extremely complex external data schema, multiple libraries on the same server.
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