When I started learning InfoPath 7 years ago…

Filed under: InfoPath 2010

Read about how S.Y.M. Wong-A-Ton went from knowing zero about InfoPath to teaching it to others.

The first thing I did was go down the coding route. Wrong thing to do!

I bought myself a copy of Developing Solutions with Microsoft InfoPath, which by the way is a good book that contains nuggets of info you won’t find anywhere, but soon laid it to rest, because the InfoPath programming journey was too challenging and unpleasant.

And mind you that this is coming from a developer who already had quite a few years of programming experience under her belt!

Then I started helping people in the InfoPath newsgroup. By doing this, I soon realized that many people who were asking InfoPath questions were not developers and were struggling to get the simplest of functionality to work in their InfoPath forms.

I helped one person at a time; finding one codeless solution after another. That is how I slowly built my own knowledge of InfoPath, and got to master the fundamentals behind InfoPath, which are very crucial to grasp before you move onto writing code. Writing code for InfoPath forms is not the same as writing code for a Windows or Web application in Visual Studio – different tools following different concepts.

So after learning the basics of InfoPath (without writing code), I tried my hand again at writing code for InfoPath. And the second time around, it was easier and much more pleasant.

These days I advocate the following if you want to learn InfoPath from the ground up:

  1. Learn the fundamentals first; even if you are a developer who is eager to start writing code for InfoPath forms.
    I literally forced myself not to write code in the beginning, so that I could help people who were not programmers achieve their goals. This in turn helped me understand InfoPath better and to the point where these days someone just has to describe an InfoPath problem to me and I can instantly tell whether they can achieve what they are trying to do with or without writing code.
  2. Once you have mastered the basics without writing code, start to learn how to write code if you are a developer and need to write code.
    While there aren't many free step-by-step tutorials out there, you can get a far way by using the information presented on MSDN and even on my website (use the search box in the upper right-hand corner). When I started learning how to write code in InfoPath, InfoPath was already in its second version. I used mainly MSDN and my own brains to find code solutions. You can do the same if you do not want to buy my step-by-step InfoPath programming guide called InfoPath 2010 Cookbook 3.

So there you have it. This was a short glimpse into the journey I took from knowing absolutely nothing about InfoPath (I did not even know it existed until my manager at the time mentioned it to me) to having an InfoPath website and InfoPath videos that teach Microsoft Office users about this deceptively simple yet challenging and cool Microsoft product. I love InfoPath, because it makes me think. You can quote me on that.


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Copyright: This article may not be used on web sites (whether personal or otherwise), copied, disseminated, altered, printed, published, broadcasted, or reproduced in any way without an expressed written consent. The techniques demonstrated in this article may be used within any Microsoft InfoPath project. This article is provided without any warranties. Copyright for this article is non-transferrable and remains with the author.