Microsoft InfoPath–promising but flawed

I just watched a demo of Microsoft InfoPath.

I am not impressed.

InfoPath is a data entry, manipulation, and reporting solution. It’s slightly more robust than web forms, and it softens the rigid development-compile-roll out-use cycles of a traditional application.

This product is fundamentally flawed. InfoPath forms users must have the InfoPath application. If you’re on the road somewhere without a laptop, you only have a lightweight client (e.g., PDA phone), or you aren’t running Windows, you’re screwed.

To make matters worse, the InfoPath application is $200 per user unless you buy an expensive Office 2003 bundle. There is no InfoPath “viewer.”

In a world moving towards thin clients, standards compliance, and platform independence, InfoPath smells of a dinosaur and vendor lock-in. Microsoft would win my vote if InfoPath created standards-compliant web forms that are just as robust as the client version.

UPDATE: Gee, whiz. One hour later, I find an article from 2003 at http://www.sdtimes.com/cols/winwatch_090.htm which almost totally agrees with me. The dearth of InfoPath information on the web suggests that InfoPath is a big dud.

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