In the enterprise version of SharePoint 2010, InfoPath is absolutely everywhere. What is InfoPath? It is a form application that has been a part of the Microsoft Office suite of applications ever since Office 2003.
InfoPath is great because it gives business users a quick way of putting together a form that needs to be filled out by people in the organization, and there is no code required to create these forms. When Office 2007 came around, browser-based forms were introduced, which widened the audience of people who could fill out InfoPath forms, because the client software was no longer required.
Now in InfoPath 2010, not only can browser-based forms be created and published to form libraries, but these forms are also integrated into many different aspects of SharePoint 2010. Regular SharePoint list forms can be converted to InfoPath forms; workflow initiation forms and workflow task forms use InfoPath; BCS external lists can use InfoPath forms; document information panels can be customized in InfoPath; and there is even a new InfoPath form Web part.
Convert SharePoint List Forms to InfoPath
Back in May, Jennifer Mason wrote a great article (“SharePointers: Creating a Custom List Form in Five Easy Steps”), which takes you through the easy steps in which this is carried out.
When a workflow is created in SharePoint Designer 2010, there are several InfoPath forms that will automatically be generated, depending on what is being accomplished in the workflow. For example, when a workflow has the option to be run manually, an “initiation” form will be generated. When any tasks are assigned within the workflow, task forms will be generated. All of these forms will be created the first time that the workflow is published. On the summary for a workflow in SharePoint Designer, there is a section called “Forms” at the bottom right, which lists all associated InfoPath forms, as seen here:
Each of these forms can be opened from here, where modifications can be made.
BCS External Lists
Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2010 gives us the ability to interface with line-of-business data that doesn’t exist in SharePoint, but does in other systems or databases. Create external content types and then external lists as interfaces directly to that business data, and the form for the external list can be customized with InfoPath. Brett Lonsdale wrote a good article called “Modifying External List Forms with InfoPath 2010” to take you through this process.