How to submit the rows of a repeating table in InfoPath to a SharePoint list

Programmatically add items from a repeating table in InfoPath to a SharePoint list by submitting a CAML update batch to the UpdateListItems method of the Lists web service that comes with Windows SharePoint Services (WSS).

Problem

You have a Repeating Table in InfoPath that contains rows of data, so you would like to submit the InfoPath form to a SharePoint list.

Solution

Programmatically add rows of data from a Repeating Table to a SharePoint list by submitting a CAML update batch to the UpdateListItems method of the Lists web service that comes with Windows SharePoint Services (WSS).

Before You Begin

You should know how to do the following:

Discussion

You can accomplish this functionality as follows:

  1. In SharePoint, create a custom SharePoint list on a SharePoint site.
  2. In InfoPath, design an InfoPath form template as shown in figure 1.

    Figure 1. The InfoPath form template in design mode.

    with a Main data source that resembles the following figure:


    Figure 2. The Main data source of the form template.

    Here the listName field node has its Default Value set equal to the GUID (globally unique identifier) of the SharePoint list you want to add the item to. To find out what this GUID is, in SharePoint, navigate to the custom list that you created in step 1, choose Settings > List Settings, and from your browser's Address bar, copy the GUID that comes after List=.

    Note: GUIDs in SharePoint 2007 look something like %7BD5E6FE0D%2D362E%2D4E63%2DB12C%2D823C3BECF477%7D. You will have to replace %7B with {, %2D with -, and %7D with }. You can remove the curly brackets when using the GUID in InfoPath, so that your final modified GUID looks something like D5E6FE0D-362E-4E63-B12C-823C3BECF477.
  3. Create an XML file with the following contents and call it CustomListCAML.xml: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
    <Batch>
      <Method ID="1" Cmd="New">
        <Field Name="Title" />
      </Method>
      <Method ID="2" Cmd="New">
        <Field Name="Title" />
      </Method>
    </Batch>
  4. In InfoPath, click on Tools > Data Connections and add a Receive data data connection to the XML document you created in the previous step. Name the data connection CustomListCAML.
  5. While you are still in the Data Connections dialog box, add a Submit data data connection To a web service, and click Next.

    Enter the URL to the Lists web service on the top-level site or subsite where the custom list is located, and click Next. For example:
    http://<Server>/sites/<Site>/_vti_bin/Lists.asmx
    uses the Lists web service of a subsite called <Site>.

    Note: Each top-level site and subsite in SharePoint has its own Lists web service, so you must ensure that you've got the right one, otherwise you'll get back an error telling you that the list cannot be found for the site you specified.

    Choose UpdateListItems as the web method to use, and click Next.

    Specify the listName field node of the Main data source as the value for the tns:listName parameter (accept the default Include setting of Text and child elements only), and specify the Batch group node of the CustomListCAML secondary data source as the value for the tns:updates parameter. Select XML subtree, including selected element from the Include drop-down list box for submitting the Batch group node. Click Next.

    Change the name of the data connection to CustomListItemsSubmit, and click Finish. Close the Data Connections dialog box.
  6. Double-click the Submit button to open its Properties dialog box, and click Edit Form Code to add a Clicked event handler for the Submit button. Add the following C# code to the Clicked event handler InfoPath created for you: // Delete all Method nodes from the CAML Batch XML
    XPathNavigator secDSNav = DataSources["CustomListCAML"].CreateNavigator();
    XPathNodeIterator iter = secDSNav.Select("/Batch/Method");
    int methodNodesCount = iter.Count;

    XPathNavigator firstMethodNav =
      secDSNav.SelectSingleNode("/Batch/Method[1]",
      NamespaceManager);
    XPathNavigator lastMethodNav =
      secDSNav.SelectSingleNode("/Batch/Method[" + methodNodesCount.ToString() + "]",
      NamespaceManager);

    firstMethodNav.DeleteRange(lastMethodNav);

    // Retrieve the rows of the repeating table
    XPathNavigator root = MainDataSource.CreateNavigator();
    XPathNodeIterator rows = root.Select(
      "/my:myFields/my:rows/my:row", NamespaceManager);

    // Loop through the rows of the repeating table
    // and construct the CAML Batch XML
    int counter = 1;
    while (rows.MoveNext())
    {
      // Retrieve the title
      string title = rows.Current.SelectSingleNode(
        "my:title", NamespaceManager).Value;

      // Add an item to the CAML Batch XML
      AddMethodNode(counter, title);

      // Increment the counter
      counter++;
    }

    // Submit the rows to the Lists web service to update the custom list
    DataConnections["CustomListItemsSubmit"].Execute();

    Or add the following code if you want to use Visual Basic code instead of C# code:

    ' Delete all Method nodes from the CAML Batch XML
    Dim secDSNav As XPathNavigator = DataSources("CustomListCAML").CreateNavigator()
    Dim iter As XPathNodeIterator = secDSNav.Select("/Batch/Method")
    Dim methodNodesCount As Integer = iter.Count

    Dim firstMethodNav As XPathNavigator = _
      secDSNav.SelectSingleNode("/Batch/Method[1]", _
      NamespaceManager)
    Dim lastMethodNav As XPathNavigator = _
      secDSNav.SelectSingleNode("/Batch/Method[" & _
      methodNodesCount.ToString() & "]", _
      NamespaceManager)

    firstMethodNav.DeleteRange(lastMethodNav)

    ' Retrieve the rows of the repeating table
    Dim root As XPathNavigator = MainDataSource.CreateNavigator()
    Dim rows As XPathNodeIterator = root.Select( _
      "/my:myFields/my:rows/my:row", NamespaceManager)

    ' Loop through the rows of the repeating table
    ' and construct the CAML Batch XML
    Dim counter As Integer = 1
    While rows.MoveNext()
      ' Retrieve the title
      Dim title As String = rows.Current.SelectSingleNode( _
        "my:title", NamespaceManager).Value

      ' Add an item to the CAML Batch XML
      AddMethodNode(counter, title)

      ' Increment the counter
      counter = counter + 1
    End While

    ' Submit the rows to the Lists web service to update the custom list
    DataConnections("CustomListItemsSubmit").Execute()
  7. Add the following private function in C# to the form's code file: private void AddMethodNode(int id, string title)
    {
      System.Text.StringBuilder sb = new System.Text.StringBuilder();
      sb.AppendFormat("<Method ID=\"{0}\" Cmd=\"New\">", id.ToString());
      sb.AppendFormat("<Field Name=\"Title\">{0}</Field>", title);
      sb.AppendFormat("</Method>");

      XmlDocument methodXML = new XmlDocument();
      methodXML.LoadXml(sb.ToString());

      XPathNavigator secDSNav = DataSources["CustomListCAML"].CreateNavigator();
      XPathNavigator batchNav = secDSNav.SelectSingleNode("/Batch", NamespaceManager);
      batchNav.AppendChild(methodXML.DocumentElement.CreateNavigator());
    }

    Or add the following Sub in Visual Basic to the form's code file:

    Public Sub AddMethodNode(ByVal id As Integer, ByVal title As String)
      Dim sb As System.Text.StringBuilder = New System.Text.StringBuilder()
      sb.AppendFormat("<Method ID=""{0}"" Cmd=""New"">", id.ToString())
      sb.AppendFormat("<Field Name=""Title"">{0}</Field>", title)
      sb.AppendFormat("</Method>")

      Dim methodXml As XmlDocument = New XmlDocument()
      methodXml.LoadXml(sb.ToString())

      Dim secDSNav As XPathNavigator = DataSources("CustomListCAML").CreateNavigator()
      Dim batchNav As XPathNavigator = secDSNav.SelectSingleNode("/Batch", NamespaceManager)
      batchNav.AppendChild(methodXml.DocumentElement.CreateNavigator())
    End Sub

You should now have a fully functional form so that when you click the Submit button after filling out the InfoPath form, all of the items in the repeating table are added to the custom list in SharePoint.

Also See

Recipe 95 in InfoPath 2010 Cookbook 3 (for C#) or InfoPath 2010 Cookbook 4 (for VB) teaches you a similar method to submit items from a repeating table to a SharePoint list, but it requires less coding. The Discussion section of this recipe further explains how you could also use SharePoint's Lists web service to update and/or delete items in a SharePoint list. And finally, a brief explanation is given on how you could go about to create bulk insert/update/delete SharePoint list items functionality.

 
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