Is InfoPath dead for evaluation forms in training?

How to prepare for the changes with MicroSoft InfoPath

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Is InfoPath dead for evaluation forms in training?

With Microsoft announcing that they will retire InfoPath, many training and development managers have questions such as "what will happen to my existing employee evaluation forms in InfoPath" or "should I continue to use InfoPath or look for another forms solution?" While change is an essential part of life and crucial to growth and development, often times it makes people very anxious.

There are a lot of changes happening within the Microsoft world, particularly with their InfoPath product; and this “change” is causing quite a commotion among users. These are all valid concerns, which we’ll discuss further in this blog.

As we all know, Microsoft confirmed that they will be retiring InfoPath and investing in new forms of technology across SharePoint, Access, and Word that will allow users to easily design, deploy and use intelligent, integrated forms across Office – forms that everyone can use on their PC, tablet or phone.

It’s natural to have questions and concerns. Here is what we know:

UPDATE from Microsoft: As part of the update shared around the Evolution of SharePoint and the next SharePoint Server on-premises release, we are also updating the timelines for removal of InfoPath Forms Services components of SharePoint and SharePoint Online. Specifically, InfoPath Forms Services will be included in the next on-premises release of SharePoint Server 2016, as well as being fully supported in Office 365 until further notice. Customers will be ablee to confidently migrate to SharePoint Server 2016 knowing that their InfoPath forms will continue to work in their on-premises environments, as well as in Office 365. The InfoPath 2013 application remains the last version to be released and will work with SharePoint Server 2016.

  • InfoPath 2013 is the last release of the desktop client, and InfoPath Forms Services in SharePoint Server 2013 is the last release of InfoPath Forms Services.
  • InfoPath will remain supported for 10 more years.
  • There will be migration guidance by Microsoft as they build a next generation of forms technology. In the meantime, they encourage everybody to continue using InfoPath tools.

The good news is that there is plenty of time – 10 years in fact. Your best bet is to hold tight until further announcements are made before making any drastic changes. Microsoft is also evaluating various options to aid in the migration of your current InfoPath evaluation forms. So, again, if you don’t have an immediate need to replace InfoPath, let the forms live on until further notice.

In the meantime, here are the top three ways to create employee evaluation forms in SharePoint.

  • SharePoint List Forms for Employee Appraisal. Forms come integrated with SharePoint lists - create a list and you have a corresponding form to add and modify items. This is a good choice for simple applications that don't have too many columns or records and that only require basic functionality. They are also great for gathering feedback by creating simple employee satisfaction surveys.
  • SharePoint Designer. SharePoint Designer is a full website-editing tool that you can use to customize the layout of default list forms and add more functionality. Designer is a free tool and you don’t have to be a programmer to use the tool
  • InfoPath. InfoPath is Microsoft's dedicated form creation and editing tool. With little or no coding, you can build complex forms that can access many data sources.

So, as you can see, change is inevitable, but there is no need to worry in the near future about all things relating to InfoPath. Until there is concrete information on what is to come next regarding forms, InfoPath is still a viable option for training and development professionals who use it for creating appraisal forms and the like. What are your thoughts on InfoPath and its future? We’d like to hear from you.


Key Consideration:
Technology, SharePoint

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