I have always looked upon InfoPath as a example of a product that needs to be part of the infrastructure of the Longhorn platform. At its simplest it’s a product to render forms defined in XML, allow them to be completed offline, validated, and then submitted them to web services.
If you think of WinFS as effectively an XML store, which manages sometimes connected interactions with server side data sources (especially web services) then InfoPath type capabilities are a natural part of the WinFS shell. So I was interested to see this MSDN paper on Submitting forms in InfoPath 2003 because of the potential implications on how Microsoft is thinking about WinFS and Synchronisation and sometimes connected operation. These new adaptors allow:
- Submitting to a Web Service
- Submitting to a SharePoint Site
- Submitting through E-Mail
- Submitting to a Database
These new capabilities are interesting but the ability to complete the form off-line and then, when connected, send it to the server is still way to clunky (but likely to be a key area the Longhorn team will need to make slick).
I was also disappointed that they did not include submitting via email …