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Office 2003 XML by Evan Lenz, Mary McRae, Simon St. Laurent

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Chapter 10. Developing InfoPath Solutions

InfoPath is a brand new product in the Microsoft Office System. Unlike Word, Excel, and Access, InfoPath was built from the ground up to create and edit XML. It carries much of the same promise as the rest of Office’s new XML functionality: to bring XML to the masses. Or perhaps more precisely, it promises to get XML from the masses. By enabling everyday Office users to fill out XML-based business forms for everything from status reports to press releases to invoices to memos, InfoPath has the potential to open the floodgates to the creation of XML data in the enterprise.

What Is InfoPath?

InfoPath encompasses both a development environment for building business forms and a run-time forms application meant to be deployed on the end user’s desktop. InfoPath “solutions,” as they’re called, are developed to enable end users to create and edit particular kinds of XML documents without having to know anything about XML. A different solution is developed for each kind of information that needs to be gathered, where “each kind of information” corresponds to an XML document type, or schema. Figure 10-1 shows one of the sample forms that come bundled with InfoPath. An average business user can fill out this form to create a valid instance of an XML schema—for meeting agendas in this case. Notable features of this form include the use of InfoPath’s built-in date picker control and the use of repeating sections (one for each agenda item).

Figure 10-1. One ...

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