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

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Components of an InfoPath Solution

A form, in InfoPath terms, is an XML document that is associated with a particular form template and that conforms to the XML schema defined by that form template, though as we’ll see in our first example solution, the use of a schema is not required. Such files are created every time a user fills out a new form using an existing form template.[6] A form template, or solution, consists of a set of XML, XSLT, XSD, and optional script files that work together to define everything about how the form looks and behaves, how it binds to the underlying XML document’s elements and attributes, and how the data is validated. A form template occurs as one of the following:

  • A set of files, including an XML-based form definition file (an .xsf file) that declares all of the other files in the set, relative to its own location

  • A form template package (an .xsn file), which consists of all of the form template files, including the form definition file, compressed into a single cabinet archive (just like a .cab file, only with the .xsn extension)

To fill out a new form, a user simply opens an existing form template (.xsn or .xsf file). The form template might reside on the user’s own computer, but more often it is retrieved from a central location such as a web server. This allows multiple people to use the same form template. InfoPath then launches the form in its initial empty state. To make changes to a form that has already been filled out, a user would ...

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