Want to fill in forms without having to use InfoPath or code?
In this article KWizCom's Shai Petel will teach you how you can maximize the out of the box features of Microsoft products to create excellent customer-specific solutions.
MOSS has a great new feature that allows (among other things) the publication of InfoPath forms to the server and thus enabling users that do not have InfoPath installed to fill in forms without having to distribute or purchase InfoPath for each client.
One of the things everyone who has asked me about this have in common is that they all work in a Microsoft Active Directory environment and they all want their form to load Meta data from the current user and populate their form with that data. Now, InfoPath and AD do not have a method for creating a direct connection, but since all of our users also utilize the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) forms server they can take advantage of other features and capabilities of MOSS to solve this problem.
MOSS connects to your AD easily and builds a user profile based on the data stored in AD for each user. This part is easy enough to perform so I will not elaborate further on that here.
Once your MOSS “recognizes” your users, you can make use of its web services to retrieve all users list, a specific user profile and also the current user profile.
Here I will demonstrate how to create a form that loads current user profile data as stored in AD without writing a bit of code.The only thing that needs to be done is to define a connection to a certain web service that already exists in your SharePoint site out-of-the-box (OOTB).
Create a new data source connection.
Go to Tools ⇒ Data Connections...
Now, we need to insert the AD information to the correct fields. To do so, we first need to see what kind of data we can use.
Since the users profile may include different properties according to your organizations' software and other dependencies, the web service results returns a set of “name-value” collection that we can use in order to get the results we need.So – first, we have to find the “name” of the property and then we'll use it to get its value from the web service.
Here is how it is done:
Now the only thing left for us to do is place the field we chose earlier (in step 3) and define the control to show that field's info.
This inserts one of the “values” we got in the web service response. Now we need to enable it to “filter” the values by the property name we want. To do so:
Now your form displays the user preferred name as it was entered in the AD and all that without writing a single line of code!
Important: Your document must be fully trusted in order to execute the web service correctly. To do make sure they are, please check the Tools ⇒ Forms Options form security options.
This is a great demonstration how you can combine several Microsoft products to create excellent customer-specific solutions utilizing the out of the box features and capabilities, with no need for any extras!
For more helpful tips and "how to" guidelines feel free to visit the KWizCom blog.