Back in the day…you know way back before InfoPath 2007…I used InfoPath 2003 (and SharePoint) to address a lot of my needs as a Product Manager and consultant. I created a custom CRM system for managing our customer opportunities, billing requests, and project initiation processes. I created custom templates for project costing, team status reporting, leave requests, purchase requests and virtually anything else I encountered as part of our operations that resembled a repeatable process or information that had to be easily shared or merged for reporting purposes. InfoPath provided a customizable UI that made many activities easy that would have previously required me to dedicate a team of developers to create…thereby taking them off important product development activities.
However those days as great as they were did have their pain points. One in particular was related to managing the massive number of data connections many of my form templates were using. Or more especially, managing multiple templates that linked to a common data source. This situation only got more complex as I started working on applications and sites that had to move from development environments to production environments.
The InfoPath team blog has always been a favorite of mine due to their ability to write great summaries of the functionality of their product with excellent walkthroughs and examples. Over the past month, they have continued this tradition by putting together some great articles on data connections and udc files that I have found very helpful.