InfoPath template publishing issues

Tech Trek – 2012.01.22 Sunday

I’ve recently updated an InfoPath form template for a project and ran into the following Microsoft Support issue KB2554288.

Columns published from InfoPath fields are recreated when the same InfoPath form template is re-published to more than one document libraries in a SharePoint site

I read this knowledge base article after I had already re-published the InfoPath template into a second form library so I can test” the changes before applying them in production. In my case, I’m not re-publishing the template as a Site Content Type, or creating Site Columns.

I proceeded to delete the second library even before re-publishing the production form template. As mentioned in the article, the promoted columns were re-created when publishing a form more than once within the same SharePoint site. In my situation, this resulted into the following issues to the original form library:

  • Promoted columns were removed in list views
  • Calculated columns resulted into invalid values (#VALUE) even if column names are the same
  • Custom workflow lookups didn’t resolve the promoted columns

Luckily, my form was not too complex but I had to perform these steps to correct the form library:

  • Re-create the list views
  • Re-create the calculated columns
  • Modify custom workflows in SharePoint Designer and later re-published them to the site

It was a good thing that I had backup of the configuration settings so I will able to re-create them as needed. Thus, it would be nice to have a SharePoint tool to create documentation about  configurations. Also, the ability to restore custom workflow would be helpful in case of a worse-case scenario of re-creating the library or list.

The intent of this post is to shed light on some of the nuances of InfoPath development as compared to the traditional deployment procedures into a test or staging environment. Thus, it introduces additional work for SharePoint Administrators when applying “change control” practices and poses a challenge when trying to adhere into legal compliance scenarios.

It does take a different mindset coming from strict software configuration management (SCM) principles in my previous work experience. What we’ve done in our organization was to store application configurations in transactional database tables and XML files coupled with version control system which made auditing changes more feasible.


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