Microsoft is discontinuing work on InfoPath, its electronic forms creator, though so far no news of a successor.
Support is to continue until 2023 as part of the lifecycle support policy, but that will be of limited consolation to anyone who has specialized in InfoPath either as a developer or by using it in their company SharePoint system.
There have been rumors for some time that InfoPath was on the way out, partially because it has never achieved much popularity. The writing seemed on the wall as long ago as three years, when the official InfoPath blog ceased being updated, with a final post telling users the team was going offline because:
“The InfoPath team is busy working on the next version of Office.”
InfoPath was introduced as part of Office 2003, and touted by Microsoft as the best tool for designing electronic forms. InfoPath lets you design the form and distribute it. Users then use InfoPath for completing and submitting the data.
In the Office 2010 release, InfoPath was split into two - InfoPath Designer 2010 for creating the forms and defining the data structures behind the forms, and InfoPath Filler 2010 for end users to fill out and submit forms.
On the Office blog, the Office team said:
“Customers have been asking us about the future of InfoPath and SharePoint forms”,
before going on to say that:
“today’s businesses demand an intelligent, integrated forms experience that spans devices. We are looking to make investments that allow you to easily design, deploy, and use intelligent, integrated forms across Office clients, servers, and services—forms that everyone can use on their PC, tablet, or phone. Our goal is to deliver tools that are flexible and agile, so you can quickly connect to your data and processes in new and exciting ways.”
The post says that in an effort to deliver a more integrated Office forms user experience, InfoPath is being retired, and instead Microsoft is investing in new forms technology across SharePoint, Access, and Word. However, the current advice is to continue using InfoPath tools. More details of what’s being planned will be released at the SharePoint Conference in March, in a session on “InfoPath and SharePoint Forms Roadmap”.