So here we head into 2nd day with various session activities going on full swing. There are 97 sessions scheduled today and it’s very difficult to pick and choose specific ones to join as you can join only 4 to 5 full sessions. My idea was to pick one out of each theme to get the complete view of office technology road map. And then talk to my colleagues and others who would attend other sessions and get complete insight. As a registered user – you can download PPTs and videos. I will be sharing them in a structured way in a few days on my blog.
The day started with perhaps most buzzing news of new Office Form technology which will replace InfoPath forms. As we already know that InfoPath forms is retired and there is no future version release. They will be having a few service packs to resolve bugs and InfoPath forms will be supported till 2023. Refer to office blog for more details. Microsoft has aligned themselves and laid out a structured road map which can be categorized into 4 FORM Types:
|Office Forms roadmap|
Excel surveys: Excel surveys aka FoSS (Forms on top of spreadsheet) is included in Office 2013 and works as an iFrame on excel sheet.
List forms: List forms aka FoSL (Forms on top of SharePoint List) will be accessible through an icon next to customize using InfoPath in SharePoint ribbon
Structured documents: This is more geared towards Word form templates which can either be used online or can be printed and used as a paper form. It is more related to legal documents and user case scenarios where forms need to be presented in a look-a-like paper form.
App forms: After being in the sidelines for a few years, Access is back (with a bang). There is no old school method of Access usage and everything has been wrapped into Access Services and it is more web friendly. Forms capabilities have been enhanced in Access 2013 version and it can be deployed as an App Part. Some of the salient features of Access Services forms are:
- Data lives in SQL Server
- Access client needed only for designing applications
- Central Access control
- Scaling up
- Standard professional UI
- No code required
I will be sharing more about Access services in a separate blog.
As Microsoft is working with their partners (Mainly K2, Nintex, Qdabra and Formutos) – they are not ready yet for a fully functional solution. Roadmap suggests that it will take another 1 year before they support rules, business logic, mobile, touch friendly, personal profile information, office 365 objects etc. for Office Forms.
One of the key take aways from various sessions I attended so far is that technology is transforming very rapidly to give more power to information workers by enabling ‘no-code’ solution. And we are shifting more towards client side for use case scenarios which requires customizing and extending these out of the box features.
|Traditional Vs. Modern|
It is important for our coding brain to think in a different direction.
So, here I conclude this blog post with a few Call to Action:
- Prepare for the future – develop outside of SharePoint
- Update Development Skill
- Learn SharePoint App design pattern
- Learn Azure and OAuth
- Develop more in the browser, less on the Server
- Favor Client APIs over Server APIs