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Beginning InfoPath™ 2003 by F. Scott Barker

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1.1. What Is InfoPath, and How Can It Be Used?

InfoPath is a forms management tool that enables you to create forms and publish them in a number of different ways. InfoPath enables you to use forms that are attached to various types of existing data, and to use data that is self-contained within the form. Before going into more detail, take a look at what the problem was before InfoPath came about.

1.1.1. The Challenge of Forms Management

Over the last decade there have been a number of attempts, both inside and outside of Microsoft, to enable users to create forms quickly, yet responsibly, to work with data. You can see this with database systems such as Access, and the form tools in Word and Excel. However, these tools have either come up short in helping users control and share their data, or they are too confusing to use to create forms that can handle data made up of more single-table solutions.

To be useful for other systems, data needs to be manipulated or combined with other data. IT departments tend to cringe when a system like Microsoft Access is used to create a standalone or medium-sized solution because they have no control over the data.

The IT manager of one large corporation figured that the corporation had at least 40,000 Access databases throughout its enterprise. These are databases that are not controlled by the IT departments until the authors (developers) of these databases transfer from or leave the company. Then the IT department has to assign its own ...

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