Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to build basic form without code

There are still many companies only have paper forms for office administration purpose, such as "Travel Request Form", "Reimbursement Form", etc.  Those are all most basic & simple requirements.   Is it possible to build the electrical forms without coding?   With the help of SharePoint Server 2010 and InfoPath 2010, it's quite easy.

1. Build an InfoPath form and publish it to SharePoint form library.
Here we need to be site owner to get enough rights to do the work.

2. If we don't want to let all users to see all form, we need to change the access control once the form is submitted.   I recommend to do that through a declarative workflow like below, which means we can build it through SharePoint designer 2010.

3. To send out an email like below, we need to get the proper links to open the form and to change the permissions.

Hi Jasper,

Pat submitted this form which asks for user account information changes, could you please review it?
You can click here to change the form access control.

(don't reply this email)

4. Below is about how to change the permissions of the current form.

It may take more than 8 hours for an advanced user to build the first form, but hopefully it can be reduced to less than 2 hours when he/she try to build the 5th form (most of the time is spent on building the form itself)

I know there are many other steps to fit the whole procedure, such as "SharePoint portal page", giving form proper name, publishing form fields to SharePoint form library, etc.   But none of them need coding, and all can be done easily.

There is one "tip" which I need to mention. To get the GUID of the form library (which is used by the hyperlink in email), we need to install a workflow activity "Get List GUID by List Title".   I built it and uploaded it CodePlex site. You can get some other workflow activities from the same place.

Please let me know if you have any question.

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