Review of InfoPath Forms Functionality in Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)

I got some hands on experience about Business Productivity Online Suite(BPOS). Its a great tool for small companies who wants to have exchange server, office communicator, sharepoint and live meeting for their business needs. I do have experience with SharePoint and InfoPath but this assignment was quite challenging.

Well, What’s the challenge?

  1. New assignment requires me to use InfoPath forms to reduce client’s paperwork.
  2. Many bloggers have written that InfoPath form is not supported in BPOS standard suite.
  3. Client does not want to invest in buying InfoPath. Many of client users are contractors and client does not want to buy license if they need to.

So how I am going to do?

InfoPath is supported in BPOS standard suite. Even browser enabled InfoPath forms are supported.

So why am I writing review?

Well, even though InfoPath is supported, there are lots of limitations that I want to share with you. Of course, if the client would have got InfoPath license, my life would have been much easier but I love challenges. I had previously not worked with browser enabled form so it was a new concept for me. When I initial though of creating solution, I thought that InfoPath form is backed by .Net power so I don’t need to worry about anything and I will quickly put the solution but I was wrong. Here is a good list of InfoPath 2007 features those are not supported in InfoPath Form Service. This is a limitation of Form Service. On the top of it, there is a limitation of BPOS which cripples how we develop the solution.

Here is a list of limitations of InfoPath form Service and BPOS that I confronted so far.

  • I cannot use any kind of .Net code
  • I cannot retrieve data from SharePoint List/Web Service (throws evergreen LogID 5566 error. This error occurs because of certificate name – as per support response) using custom views.
  • Some of the controls are not supported in browser enabled forms.
  • BPOS does not support data connection library in standard suite so I have to manually change the URL while moving forms from staging site to production.
  • Browser enabled form does not support mobile view.

Here is a list of what you can do with it?

  • I can only use Rules, Conditional formatting and Data Validations.
  • You can get all data from the list but not from particular view.
  • It supports multiple view. You can even hide view and open it (for example) by clicking on a button.



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