InfoPath Retirement Includes An Interesting Tidbit

My friend Simon Murphy noted yesterday that MS has decided to put InfoPath “down”:

http://smurfonspreadsheets.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/infopap-re-envisioned/) …

About time IMHO….

Not to take anything away from Simon’s post, I have to mention that he references an article in The Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/31/infopath_retired/) that includes the following quote from the Microsoft announcement:

In an effort to streamline our investments and deliver a more integrated Office forms user experience, we’re retiring InfoPath and investing in new forms technology across SharePoint, Access, and Word, “

Yet another “Forms Initiative” ? … hmmmmm.  I will be watching this closely for the next while to see if this is going to be a game-changer Pro or Con.  We must all remember that while it’s all well and good to have data-centric spreadsheets it’s all useless without good data to rely on.

Having a capable “Forms Package” might just be your best friend going forward to allow you to control your own “outlying” data or to manage your internal “departmental” databases that contribute to your Data-Centric Spreadsheets.

Stay tuned…

Dick

About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
This entry was posted in Access, Excel, Excel 2013, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Access 2013, Microsoft Excel 2013, Office 2013, Office Automation, PowerPivot, Spreadsheets. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to InfoPath Retirement Includes An Interesting Tidbit

  1. Jon Peltier says:

    You can rest assured that any new developments, forms or whatever, will ignore VBA. This will force developers to either ignore the new developments, or finally learn to add that extra layer between Office and getting things done.

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      Yep … Wouldn’t it be just brilliant if in the end there really wasn’t an automation “story” in Excel anymore ? Hard to believe but looks like the way they’re going.

      If there has to be another layer as you say I just don’t see why anyone would do it… It would very quickly price serious Excel development out of the reach of anyone who would want to use it.

      The only possibility would be a VBA full replacement but I don’t see that in the cards – do you Jon?

      • jonpeltier says:

        They think they have a replacement with the Javascript-driven “apps”. They’re the only way to automate anything on the Excel web app, since VBA won’t work vie the browser. And they make interesting mashups possible, but tell the truth, I’d rather just get my weather from a web site. And those apps add a very thick layer to Excel.

        When Dot Net was rolling out, and they presented us with VSTO, we kept hearing about how something new, VSTA (Visual Studio Tools for Applications) was going to be made part of Office. We could still use VBA (hell, we can still use Excel 4 Macros, though I think those are finally being phased out), but we could also use our favorite flavor of Dot Net right within the workbook. I may even have seen a demo of this once, but it’s proven to be vaporware.

        If the automation story goes away, so many companies will keep using whatever is the last version of Office to support it. There will be a new industry to support it, outside of Microsoft.

      • Biggus Dickus says:

        I remember spending a lot of time in more than one Office Developer Council meeting discussing the features of VSTA inside Excel (I wish I cold remember its code-name but I think it was something like Whidbey?).. Where’d that go?

        Where it went was when they decided that the correct path was to integrate Excel automation into the greater Visual Studio, .NET camp on the theory that all those VS devs would just jump all over themselves to start building Excel solutions. Didn’t we know that nobody wanted to just send a single file around with everything inside – no – they wanted to have the .NET Framework installed and kept current AND they wanted to run an MSI every time a change had to be made to the code .. oops – didn’t work :-( .

        So now they come up with the idea that if they add “some” JavaScript functionality and once again trot out the failed idea that people don’t REALLY want to work IN the spreadsheet, they REALLY want to work in a separate window of the right of their screen that then magically feeds their decisions into the model. Not going to work…

        “If the automation story goes away, so many companies will keep using whatever is the last version of Office to support it. There will be a new industry to support it, outside of Microsoft.”

        Oh that would be just the kind of technology that corporations would jump on ;-) … It’ll just die with you and me/I (sorry to be so morbid) … But how can that be allowed to happen? Just boggles my mind.

        Dick

      • “The” .NET framework? Oh, if there were only one.

  2. wessexbob says:

    I don’t recall ever seeing a demo of that Jon, but I do recall Amanda giving a very convincing presentation on the roadmap. I also remember how excited we all were at the end of it, a proper solution at last. And what do we end up with, widgets! I wonder why they canned it, it was a good solution, it seemed very advanced and from what we heard, very do-able. I am sure it would not have been hard to integrate that solution within their ‘bigger’ picture, give it to VS Devs and the like, after all we have Excel addins in there, it must have been possible.

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      Hey Bob …..

      I really think it was dropped because they had the vision that people didn’t want their code inside the file, that rather they wanted to drive it from an external Project so the file could be integrated into a larger VS solution. Unfortunately that was a stupid idea because nearly all VS devs wish Excel would just F-off and die :-) … I said so at the time but of course it didn’t help.

      The ability to ship your code INSIDE the file is a benefit IMHO – yet there are many docs out there from MS promoting that as a BAD idea in case you need to change your code. Oh – so redistributing an MSI is so much more approachable :-) (?) …

      Dick

      • wessexbob says:

        I am sure you are right Dick, I feel the same about VS Devs. Where would they get the idea that people don’t want their code in the file, from SQL Server jocks or VS Devs? If that were so, they would have been able to kill VBA a long time ago, but look at the stink whenever word gets out they are considering it again. And of course, in most cases, serious Excel developers don’t ship their code in the file that the user sees/uses, we deploy addins. All the problems of redistributing, but at least we have code abstraction. Sometimes I wonder where MS’ head is at.

      • Biggus Dickus says:

        Bob …

        Not going to have a pissing match on my site but it is my site :-) so I am going to say that I don’t like the phrase “And of course, in most cases, serious Excel developers don’t ship their code in the file that the user sees/uses, we deploy addins”.

        I do not write XLLs or add functionality beyond VBA and I use Addins if the solution involves multiple versions of the same file being replicated in the client’s environment. If however it is a single file instance (as it usually is for me for some reason) I just make my code right in the file – keep it simple. I like to think of myself as a serious Excel developer but please don’t use words like “serious Excel developers” around my site … We’re all serious about our Excel development
        Thanx Dick

      • jonpeltier says:

        And speaking of Excel add-ins, they are so much easier to deploy than the whole .msi route. The users don’t even need special privileges.

      • Biggus Dickus says:

        Painfully simple …. :-) ..

      • jonpeltier says:

        PainLESSly simple.

      • Biggus Dickus says:

        :-)

      • Biggus Dickus says:

        Maybe I should have said “Embarrassingly simple… : :-)

        The attitude that if it isn’t insanely complex then it isn’t legitimate is a real problem in our business. I am always amazed at how when I search the Web for an answer to some specific technical question I have to wade through pages and pages of answers where the writer seems to be more interested in proving how “smart” they are than just simply answering the question – even when it is straightforward. The tendency to complicate everything to me might comes from some desire to make things complex so they appear more valuable.

        As Excel devs I believe we have mostly worked against that. Not to say that the things we do aren’t doing complex work if the work demands it – incredibly complex often – but that is driven by the requirements of the business process not by the complexity of the technology. Quite the opposite, if I can pull something off simply and cleanly and cleverly I am pleased more than if I come up with some really over-the-top technique that makes me feel “smart”. I feel that doing it easily IS the real “smarts” that an Excel dev provides. That’s why we do what we do I think … :-)

        And Excel Addins are just exactly that kind of thing … just “get ‘er done !!”

        Dick

    • Yeah, that’s what I remember too. I was licking my chops at the thought of IronRuby and IronPython right in Excel. Not to mention they would *have* to update the IDE.

  3. Hat dies auf MS Excel | Power Pivot | DAX rebloggt und kommentierte:
    Ich finde diese Diskussion sehr interessant. Der Aufhänger ist zwar InfoPath, aber eigentlich geht es eher um die Frage, was Microsoft eigentlich mit diversen Programmen so vor hat. Wie gesagt, MS Access oder Excel mit VBA sind eigentlich gute Beispiele dafür, wie eine gut funktionierende Technologie offenbar nicht mehr weiterentwickelt oder schlimmer noch, nicht mehr gewünscht ist. Browserapps sind ja schön und gut, aber…

  4. wessexbob says:

    I had a great problem with the .Newt Framework a while back. I can’t exactly remember exact versions and so on, but I do recall I had v3.5 or some such installed, and I installed an MS product, which insisted that I install v2.1 (or .2, or .3, but anyway, an earlier version) of the .Net Framework. It might even have been an early release of PowerPivot/Gemini. That is really clever.,

  5. wessexbob says:

    Okay Dick, I will leave now. Bye.

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