Here’s an ondemand webcast link to our recent InfoPath 2007 overview: MSDN Webcast: New Features in Office InfoPath 2007 (Level 200)

My notes…

  • An overview of forms scenarios – yes, there are lots of places to create forms with Microsoft technology. And I think that’s okay. The main thing you have to realize is what the pros & cons are for each kind of solution and what is appropriate for our problem space.
  • Discussion of how InfoPath is integrated in other packages now like Word / Excel / PowerPoint / Groove and integrate with Access and Outlook. Synergy, baby!
  • So, what were competitive form techologies we now flip the view a bit given that InfoPath can be hosted within those technologies.
  • SKU discussion. Standard, Professional Plus, Enterprise…
  • Woof! That’s a lot of server technology.
  • 14:00 in – time to talk about InfoPath!
  • Yah! Reusable template parts. Secret: InfoPath 2003 had a way of support custom templates but it wasn’t fully baked so we never documented it. I’d probably be hard pressed to figure out how to load and use those files now.
  • Visual Studio integration! Wow! Look at all of those task panes up at the same time. VS integration isn’t just for writing managed code – you can just do your InfoPath form design in VS and enjoy that environment over the stand-alone designer.
  • Demo time!
  • Too bad that the addDays() calculation has to demonstrate -21… should we have just written adjustDays()?
  • TabletPC input scope work – better reco for your TabletPC users. InfoPath is still, in my opinion, one of the best TabletPC applications out there.
  • A win for users in drop-downs: display only unique names!
  • Form Deployment. Where do you want your XSN today? If it’s on SharePoint there are interesting new options.
  • Workflow integration with InfoPath – technically challenging because this is InfoPath hosted inside of InfoPath. The workflow UI in Office 2007 leverages InfoPath 2007 as the structured editing surface.
  • Ooo! 31:43 – Outlook / InfoPath email form integration time! This is a good time to ensure your forms promote interesting fields so that they can show up as columns inside of Outlook (in addition to columns on SharePoint, should the form be published there, too).
  • Q: backward compatibility: we take backwards compatibility super super serious. All your old forms should continue running in the editor just fine. By default, all new forms designed in 2007 will start off as being 2007-based, but you can throttle this down to 2003-SP1 compatible if you’re designing for a mixed environment. We might have gone option crazy to satisfy lots and lots of users but the end result is good.
  • Q: security design: our security model gets a bit deep in places. It’s a bit easier to create full-trust forms now in 2007 given that you can create installer packages from the client.
  • Q: supported web browsers: lots of work has gone on here. Check out the Channel9 video we did where Danny demos running Firefox with an InfoPath form loaded up.
  • Demo of an InfoPath form running as DHTML in IE: Wow, looks a heck of a lot like the InfoPath rich-client. Plus Gray notes the work we’ve done to avoid hitting the server with intermediate requests as much as possible.
  • 44:00-ish in: demo of the Outlook InfoPath email form folders. Special folders for InfoPath items – you create this special folder and then create a rule to send specific form instances into this folder. Your promoted properties from the InfoPath form now show up as columns in Outlook and you have the power of Outlook to manipulate info on these items.
  • Export to Excel! Way to go, Simin. It works great. So now you can use Outlook to collect and organize your forms and then shoot the data over to Excel for deeper analysis. Integration!
  • 47:00-ish – on to Word 2007. Word? That’s right. Want to edit structured information in Word? You can create custom InfoPath panels in Word now (the Document Information Panel has an unfortunate acronym).
  • 51:30-ish: the store explorer. Goodness. We’re getting deep here but it shows the coolness of InfoPath and Word both partying on the same XML data that comprises the document that the user is working on.
  • Q: sending InfoPath email forms as part of workflow… hmm… if you manage to structure the email message to look just like ours, but I can’t promise we won’t alter this message format in the future.
  • Q: InfoPath + Outlook Web Access – you’re going to have to save your attachments and open that way. We don’t have an OWA integration story.

Gray did a great job!