A Practical Guide to SharePoint 2013

A Practical Guide to SharePoint 2013
A Practical Guide to SharePoint 2013 - Book by Saifullah Shafiq

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Can we create InfoPath form based on an external content type in InfoPath designer

The question is, can we create a form based on an external content type in InfoPath designer? The answer is NO. Although we can create InfoPath forms for external content types using SharePoint designer but we cannot create InfoPath forms based one external content types in InfoPath designer. If we cannot create form in InfoPath designer then that also limits the form editing in InfoPath designer. Now, pay attention! Interface customization, for example, field layouts etc is possible but other complex functionality like adding new data connections etc is not possible. In fact, adding data connection is possible but InfoPath allows only one data connection if the form is submitting to the external list. If you add new data connection, the form will not publish and will throw error. You can remove the new data connection but cannot remove the default main data connection which looks like a limitation to me. We have other ways of connecting InfoPath forms to the external database. We can use WCF services to connect with the external data source. We can also create a web service and use that in BCS to connect to the backend store. We can also create a custom connector just like default SQL connector and we can also create a .NET connector to connect to the backend store. Note that custom connector and .NET connector are two different things and both have pros and cons. Custom connector works with all system types whereas .NET works with a particular system type but it can be used for aggregating data from multiple sources into a single external content type. This cannot be accomplished using a custom connector.