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Response to InfoPath Comments

Recently, I posted 18 articles to help people get started on InfoPath development. If you are really bored, you can read what I wrote here:

Mastering InfoPath Development Series Index

You will be enthralled; laughing, crying, etc. throughout the entire series, it is an emotional ride of epic proportions rivaled only by a deep spiritual journey. Regardless, I was asked in the comments of that post what I thought about these two posts:

http://www.bluedoglimited.com/SharePointThoughts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=275

http://thorprojects.com/blog/archive/2007/07/07/671.aspx

This isn’t the first time that I read through Rob’s, but is the first time that I have read through the other.

Ok, so I can’t really say much to Rob’s post. I majority of the points that he brings up in that article are 100% spot on, and he really does nail to a tee the shortcomings of InfoPath as it currently sits within its current revision. The one that I agree with the most out of all of these is:

“I’ve seen more information about people in the Federal Witness Protection program. You’ve really got to become less secretive. Go out in public. Get some articles written about you. Maybe even some books that have some real content not a rehash of what little SDK there is.”

(quote taken from: http://thorprojects.com/blog/archive/2007/07/07/671.aspx)

Totally, 100%, I think that is accurate. I sought to bridge that gap slightly by putting out the “Mastering InfoPath Development” series content, but it is just me sitting in my living room sipping on a Blue Moon posting away on a South Carolina afternoon, it isn’t endorsed, realized content from Microsoft, so loses a wee bit of validity along the way. Have I thought about writing a book about it? Sure! No acquisitions editors have confronted me about writing regarding it though, and to be honest I don’t have the energy to put together another book proposal over two days to have it rejected.

I can’t really see much argument in going against the grain with Rob with the remainder of his content, he is pretty much hitting the target with the complaints I would have made as well. There are some problems. And a lot of it should have been thought about in the current revision. It is good stuff.

The other post (the 1st one listed), well I don’t agree with at all. I think its pretty short sighted. I have designed, deployed, and maintained InfoPath as a 100% successful solution at several organizations, and they aren’t data lax, they are data intensive organizations primarily in the federal sectors. Sure, there were bumps along the road (I know we all write perfect code, but with a custom solution wouldn’t there be as well?), but for particular business requirements it was a terrific, 100% well prescribed solution for several of the business problems that we were looking to target and resolve. Is it for everything? Of course not! Will a customer try to apply it to everything? Of course they will! Customers seem to always, always try to fit a square peg in a round hole just to say that they are using a particular technology. I have lost count with how many application conversions I have done for SharePoint where the end result was EXACTLY the same as the legacy application but the client WANTED it in SharePoint. Why? So they could say it was in SharePoint. Did it make an epic mark in the application? Nope, but I got to eat another month and the lights stayed on. Like any type of IT consulting in the world regardless of your vertical, sector, and aggregate flavor, you have to make the right decisions for your particular problem.

I think InfoPath is very good, not perfect, but very, very good. I think MSFT is making strides in the right direction with it, slowly, but making good strides. I think making the assumption right off the bat “NOOOOOO, you said InfoPath, off with his head!”, well, that is just kind of, bad.

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