Microsoft launched InfoPath forms as a simple but powerful tool to create, design, distribute and fill electronic forms that have structured data. Using InfoPath users can build forms with rich user controls, such as text boxes, radio buttons, checkboxes, etc., that can be integrated with SharePoint Lists along with external data sources without extensive knowledge of XML. However, with rapid improvements in technology, and the increasing migration from SharePoint On-Premises to SharePoint Online, Microsoft announced that it would be discontinuing InfoPath by 2026 in 2014. In this article, let us explore PowerApps as an alternative to InfoPath forms.
What Are the Challenges with Using InfoPath?
As InfoPath approaches retirement, Microsoft is encouraging SharePoint users to opt for alternate modern solutions. Here are some of the challenges of continuing with InfoPath.
- Unlike some of the modern alternatives, InfoPath forms are platform-dependent. Not only is it difficult to make them responsive on mobile, but some of the InfoPath form controls also are not even supported on such devices.
- When changes are made to InfoPath forms, respective changes must be made to the older versions too. The buggy nature of InfoPath forms escalates costs and extends timelines.
- InfoPath services are designed to work with Internet Explorer. Users will often encounter compatibility issues due to restrictions in file uploads and the rendering of some controls in some of the more popular browsers.
- Working with data from different site collections or non-Microsoft services is difficult and complex.
- Apart from the complexity involved in building InfoPath forms, these are neither responsive nor scalable by today’s standards.
- InfoPath forms are accessible from a browser only with a SharePoint Enterprise license which is expensive.
- InfoPath forms data is stored in document libraries in XML format. It would become complex to directly work with these files and convert them into list items once Microsoft deprecates InfoPath form services available only with the SharePoint on-premises platform.
- As code-based InfoPath forms are no longer supported in SharePoint Online, customizing functionalities can be challenging.
Why Migrate from InfoPath to PowerApps?
Microsoft officially announced PowerApps as the successor to InfoPath forms in Ignite 2016. Here are some of the reasons why PowerApps is the most appropriate alternative to InfoPath forms.
- PowerApps provides the same flexibility, capability, and development aspects as InfoPath forms along with many other added functionalities.
- The rich business logic and workflow capabilities of apps built using Power Apps can simplify moving and automating manual business processes.
- Applications built using Power Apps are responsive by design and work across devices and browsers.
- Developers can build user-friendly, feature-rich, custom business apps without writing code. They can programmatically interact with data and metadata, apply business logic, create custom connectors, and integrate with external data.
- End-to-end business solutions can be built quickly by connecting Power Apps across the entire Microsoft Power Platform as well as Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Azure, and other apps.
How to Move from InfoPath Form Solutions to PowerApps?
InfoPath forms data is either submitted to libraries or stored as items in lists. The modernization approach to be adopted to migrate from InfoPath to PowerApps depends on how data is stored and used.
Migrating List Based InfoPath Forms to PowerApps
In the case of list-based InfoPath forms, data is available as SharePoint Lists in which users can perform complex business validations. Standard migration tools can be used to migrate data from such lists, and PowerApps can be built with these SharePoint Lists and can be published on Microsoft SharePoint.
Migrating Library Based InfoPath Forms to PowerApps
In these InfoPath forms, data is stored as XML files in SharePoint document libraries. To migrate library-based InfoPath forms, information stored as XML files must be converted to list items before creating PowerApps forms. Because Library-based InfoPath forms may contain complex field controls, such as repeating tables and sections, that are not available in SharePoint lists, these migrations are more complicated and often need workarounds before creating PowerApps.
Migrating Code Based InfoPath Forms to PowerApps
Code-Based InfoPath Forms are used when there are custom requirements or complex business validations. Developers can write business logic in C# to create code-based InfoPath forms. While it is possible to write business logic with C# in PowerApps, this requires the use of Azure Functions and custom API connectors.
Apps4Rent Can Help with InfoPath To PowerApps Migration
Enterprises that continue to rely on InfoPath services for storing important information will likely have issues in the years to come if they do not upgrade to a modern service such as PowerApps. However, migrating from InfoPath to PowerApps manually can be complex.
As a Tier 1 Microsoft CSP, Apps4Rent provides managed services to convert InfoPath data to SharePoint list items as a part of SharePoint migration. Contact our SharePoint admins, available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for migration assistance.