Office Forms Server is a service that runs on SharePoint and renders InfoPath forms as Web Pages – clients don’t require an InfoPath client installed.
According to the Mircorosft Site; “Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 is a server product built on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 as an ASP.NET version 2.0 application. It enables users to fill out Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 forms by using a Web browser instead of, or in addition to, the Office InfoPath 2007 client program. This allows wider access to forms than was possible with previous versions of Microsoft Office InfoPath. In addition, Office Forms Server 2007 provides a central location to store and manage form templates for your organization.
Sounds like a great idea to me but there are some drawbacks to this approach – taken from the Microsoft site;
  • Some form controls contain options, called postback settings, which the form template designer uses to specify whether server round-trips are necessary to display data. These settings can add latency to the performance of a form. For example, a postback setting that requires data to be sent to the server can take extra time for the form to display the data, and if a postback is not necessary in a particular instance, can slow down the performance of a form without adding any benefit.
  • Some features and controls, such as ActiveX controls, are not supported in browser-compatible form templates.
Before deciding on whether to use forms server, there are a few areas you should investigate before hand:
  • From where do the users require access to the forms? Are the users office based? Mobile?
  • What sort of devices do users have? How many devices will you support?
  • Do your users require the highly responsive forms? Do they process forms occasionally or constantly?

Read more here. There is also a lab available on the Microsoft MSDN site.

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