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Manage form templates (Office SharePoint Server)

Office 2007

Updated: December 1, 2006

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

 

Topic Last Modified: 2006-11-16

In this article:

You may end up with thousands of form templates deployed to InfoPath Forms Services, so it is important to be able to effectively manage their deployment, availability, security, and life cycle. InfoPath Forms Services provides for administrator-approved form template management on the level of the farm, site collection, and individual form template. While certain management tasks are identical for both administrator-approved and user form templates, there are significant differences in how these two types of form templates are managed overall because of the differences in the deployment processes and security requirements. User form templates cannot be managed on a farm level.

A note on terminology: A form template is an .xsn file created in the InfoPath program in design mode. These form templates are deployed to SharePoint document libraries, network locations, or Outlook form mail. When a form template is opened in a form-filling session by InfoPath or Outlook, or rendered in a Web browser as an .xml file, that instance of the form template is referred to as a form. Form templates can be managed by an administrator, but forms, being instantiated in a client at the time of use, cannot be managed by an administrator.

Form templates that contain business logic driven by managed code, require full trust in order to access data from external resources, or use data connections that are managed by an administrator are referred to as "administrator-approved form templates." Because these form templates contain code that enables the form to impersonate accounts by using administrator-level privileges, they must be kept secure. InfoPath Forms Services helps to provide for this by maintaining administrator-approved forms in a special document library that is accessible only to Office administrators.

Administrator-approved form templates can be managed in a variety of ways: through the Forms Management page in the SharePoint Central Administration Web site for the entire farm or the server command prompt. Furthermore, instances of those form templates that have been activated to a site collection can be managed from the site collection settings page and the document libraries in which they are stored.

NoteNote:
To avoid performance degradation, if a form template will be filled out and submitted more than 2,000 times in total, you should either program the form template to submit to a database through the use of a Web service, or create a custom submit function that places forms into multiple libraries. For more information, see the "Document Limit of 2,000 in Windows SharePoint Services Document Libraries" section of InfoPath Forms Services best practices.

In this section:

The Manage Form Templates page provides a central location where an administrator can manage administrator-approved form templates for the entire farm by performing the following functions:

You can view a list of all existing administrator-approved form templates in an entire farm. Note that this list does not include user form templates, as those are published directly to document libraries within a site or site collection and therefore cannot be globally managed.

View the existing list of administrator-approved form templates
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Manage Form Templates.

    The Manage Form Templates page has a list of existing administrator-approved form templates for the farm.

    You can change the list view by clicking one of the views on the left navigation bar.

For more information on the procedure for uploading and upgrading new administrator-approved form templates, see the "Deploying administrator-approved form templates" section of Deploy administrator-approved form templates (Office SharePoint Server).

To make an administrator-approved form template available to users, you must activate the form template to a site collection. For more information on the procedure for activating administrator-approved form templates to a site collection, see the "Activating administrator-approved form templates" section of Deploy administrator-approved form templates (Office SharePoint Server).

You can deactivate an administrator-approved form template from a site collection. This removes the form template from any document library in the site collection. Any existing form-filling sessions are terminated and all data currently entered into open forms rendered from this form template is lost. If you want to allow existing sessions to finish before you deactivate the form template, you can quiesce the form template. For more information, see Quiesce administrator-approved form templates later in this article.

Deactivate an administrator-approved form template from a site collection
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Manage form templates.

  4. On the Manage Form Templates page, point to the form template that you want to activate, click the arrow that appears, and then click Deactivate from a Site Collection.

  5. To deactivate the form template from the current site collection, click Deactivate. The form template is now unavailable to users.

  6. To choose a different site collection, in the Deactivation Location section, click the site collection box, and then click Change Site Collection. The Select Site Collection Web page dialog box appears.

  7. Click the URL of the site collection from which you want to deactivate the form template, and then click OK. If the site collection you want is on a different Web application, click the Web Application box, click Change Web Application, and click the name of the Web application. Click the appropriate site collection, and then click OK.

In a production environment, updating an administrator-approved form template requires more than replacing the old template with the new one. It is possible that users will have active form-filling sessions open. You might want to control the upgrade process to allow active sessions to finish before making a form template unavailable. Using the Quiesce function, you can gracefully take a form template offline and manage the form template when it is inactive.

Quiesce an administrator-approved form template
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Manage form templates.

    NoteNote:
    In the Manage Form Templates page you will see a Status column. Form templates that are available to users are designated as Ready.
  4. Point to the file you want to update, click the arrow that appears, and then click Quiesce Form Template.

  5. Type the number of minutes you want the quiescing process to take. On a production system, you should quiesce the form for at least as long as the session state is configured for the server. By default, session state is configured for 240 minutes.

  6. Click Start Quiescing. In the Quiesce section, the status changes to Quiescing.

  7. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab to see if your form has successfully quiesced.

  8. On the Application Management page, in Forms Services, click Manage form templates.

    NoteNote:
    On the Manage Form Templates page, in the Status column, form templates that you have quiesced will be designated as Quiesced.
  9. After the form template is quiesced, you can deploy the new version of the form.

You can delete an administrator-approved form template from the entire farm. When you delete a form template from the Forms Management page, it is no longer available in any site collection.

Delete an administrator-approved form template
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Manage form templates.

  4. On the Manage Form Templates page, point to the file you want to update, click the arrow that appears, and then click Remove Form.

  5. Click Remove.

    The form template has now been removed from the farm.

You can view the properties of administrator-approved form templates that currently exist in the farm. The only property that you can edit, however, is the Category property, which is metadata that can be useful for viewing form templates by category.

View properties of an existing administrator-approved form template
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Manage form templates.

  4. On the Manage Form Templates page, point to the file, click the arrow that appears, and then click View Properties.

    On the Form Templates Properties page, you can now view the properties of the form template.

  5. To assign a category to the form template, in the General Properties section, type the name of the category, and then click OK at the bottom of the page. When you view the form templates by category on the Manage Form Templates page, the form template now appears in the category to which you have assigned it. For more information on categories, see The form template Category property later in this article.

Using the Stsadm.exe tool, you can perform many Forms Services management operations at the command prompt. One advantage to this approach is that you can script many common tasks to automate operations that would otherwise require using the user interface to perform each task independently. Stsadm.exe can be found in the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\BIN directory.

The usage of stsadm commands is:

stsadm –o command –namedparameter1 <parameter> -namedparameter2 <parameter>

You can view the full list of available commands and parameters by typing stsadm -help.

If you type stsadm -o -help <command>, stsadm.exe displays command-specific Help text, as in the example below for the createsite command:

stsadm -o -help createsite
stsadm.exe -o createsite
           -url <url>
           -ownerlogin <DOMAIN\name>
           -owneremail <someone@example.com>
           [-ownername <display name>]
           [-lcid <language>]
           [-sitetemplate <site template>]
           [-title <site title>]
           [-description <site description>]
           [-hostheaderwebapplicationurl <web application url>]
           [-quota <quota template>]

For more information, see Stsadm command-line tool (Office SharePoint Server).

Every form template that has been uploaded to the server, whether by an administrator or by a user, has a Category property. This optional property logically groups form templates according to user-defined values. When a category has been defined for form templates in a library, you can use the list view By Category to view the contents of the library grouped according to the value of the Category property. This property can be edited for templates that exist in each of the following locations:

  • The main administrator-approved form template library, which is accessed from the Manage form templates link on the Central Administration Application Management page

  • A document library to which the form template has been activated or published

    NoteNote:
    When you change the values of properties such as Category and content type for an administrator-approved form template in the main form template library, the action is limited to that specific form template, and to form templates activated to a site collection after the value has been set. Form templates that have already been activated to a site collection are unaffected by property changes performed on the original form template. Likewise, changing a property value on a form template that exists in a site collection forms library does not affect the original form template in the main administrator-approved form template library. Additionally, if a form template is upgraded by an administrator, and the upgraded version is then activated to a site collection, any property changes previously performed on the existing site collection form template are overwritten by the new version's current property value.

By default, users can deploy form templates to a document library in a site collection with InfoPath Forms Services, provided that the form template contains no business logic, does not require full trust, and does not use data connections that are managed by an administrator. Because user form templates can be deployed by many users, a server can potentially host thousands of user form templates. In most cases, user form templates have a reasonably low usage pattern and are used by a comparatively small set of users. However, even form templates that contain no business logic can be designed in such a way that they cumulatively place a heavy load on the server.

NoteNote:
Form templates that contain business logic, require full trust, or use a data connection managed by an administrator must be deployed by an administrator. For more information, see Deploy administrator-approved form templates (Office SharePoint Server).

Office administrators can manage user form templates in the following ways:

Click a link for more information on how to perform the specific task.

When form templates are saved or published to a server running InfoPath Forms Services, the designer of the template can choose to make the form template browser-compatible. You can enable or disable browser compatibility of these form templates for the entire farm. If disabled, user form templates can still be published to the server, but all browser-compatible features of the form template are disabled.

Disable publishing of browser-compatible user form templates across the entire farm
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Configure InfoPath Forms Services.

  4. On the Configure InfoPath Forms Services page, in the User Browser-enabled Form Templates section, clear the Allow users to browser-enable form templates check box.

  5. Click Save.

By default, users can publish browser-compatible form templates on servers running InfoPath Forms Services. Browser-compatible form templates can be opened in a Web browser, which can place a substantial load on the server if there are many form templates being rendered as browser forms. By default, browser rendering of user form templates is enabled, but administrators can choose to disable browser rendering across the entire farm to decrease server load.

Disable browser rendering of user form templates across the entire farm
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Configure InfoPath Forms Services.

  4. On the Configure InfoPath Forms Services page, in the User Browser-enabled Form Templates section, clear the Render form templates that are browser-enabled by users check box.

  5. Click Save.

Universal data connection files can contain alternative authentication information, such as an explicit user name and password, or a single sign-on (SSO) application ID. You can choose to allow user form templates to use this alternate authentication information from universal data connection files. By default, this behavior is disabled. You can enable or disable this functionality for the entire farm.

Enable authentication to data sources from user form templates
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Configure InfoPath Forms Services.

  4. On the Configure InfoPath Forms Services page, in the Authentication to data sources (user form templates) section, select the Allow user form templates to use authentication information contained in data connection files check box.

  5. Click Save.

User form templates can contain data connections that access data from another domain. You can choose to allow user form templates to perform cross-domain data access. By default, this behavior is disabled. You can enable or disable this functionality for the entire farm.

Enable cross-domain access for user form templates
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Configure InfoPath Forms Services.

  4. On the Configure InfoPath Forms Services page, in the Cross-Domain Access for User Form Templates section, select the Allow cross-domain data access for user form templates that use connection settings in a data connection file check box.

  5. Click Save.

The main challenge of implementing connections from InfoPath form templates to data sources such as Web services lies in the area of authentication. There are three main authentication setup scenarios:

  1. Anonymous connections   A Web service that is set up to accept anonymous requests does not pose any authentication requirements and is straightforward to connect to. Web services that accept anonymous requests usually connect to data that everyone has access to, such as a phone directory, a weather forecast, news, and so on. This is the simplest scenario of all.

  2. Connections within a domain   In this scenario, the Web service and the InfoPath form that connects to it reside within the same domain. This implies that there is a central authentication system, which both the InfoPath program and the Web service trust and use. The existence of a central authentication authority (for example, Active Directory) implies that the Web service and InfoPath both understand and operate with the same set of credentials — those managed by the central authentication system. This scenario is the most common of the three.

  3. Connections between different domains   In this scenario the Web service requires authentication and authorization before a data connection is established. However, the Web service and the client live in different domains. They operate with different sets of credentials, and unless there is a trust bridge established between the domains, credentials accepted by the client are meaningless to the Web service.

User authentication in the InfoPath client is implemented entirely on top of the operating system's authentication mechanism. At the time that a user logs on to a computer running Microsoft Windows, the user receives a primary security token on that computer. InfoPath uses that primary security token for all authentication purposes. The InfoPath program supports connections to Web services from all three areas above. Anonymous connections do not require special authentication, so InfoPath connects without passing any credentials. For Web services living within the same domain as the InfoPath program, InfoPath uses the user's primary security token to authenticate to the Web service (the primary security token is usually based on NTLM or Kerberos). For Web services resident on domains separate from the InfoPath program, InfoPath supports Basic authentication as long as the Web service supports it as well.

InfoPath Forms Services supports Integrated Windows authentication and forms-based authentication. In the case of Integrated Windows authentication, forms rendered in the browser are authenticated by InfoPath Forms Services with the help of the user's primary security token — the same token that the client uses to authenticate to Web services. When InfoPath Forms Services authenticates the user, a restricted security token is issued. This restricted security token cannot be used to authenticate the user to a third entity. This poses a problem when connecting to Web services in the second and third scenarios listed above. For Web services in the same domain, InfoPath Forms Services cannot use the restricted security token to authenticate the user to these Web services. For Web services in different domains, the server cannot authenticate the user because InfoPath Forms Services does not support Basic authentication.

When the Web service proxy is enabled, authentication and authorization are delegated to the proxy, which is built into InfoPath Forms Services. Browser and client form templates both forward all Web service requests to that proxy. The Web services are set up to authenticate the service account under which the proxy runs. In order to enable authorization based on the identity of the user of the form, the proxy sends the user's Windows logon ID in the UserName element of a WS-Security UserNameToken. In the case where the data connection file containing the Web service connection information also contains authentication information, the proxy uses the authentication information to connect to the Web service. For example, if the authentication method is single sign-on (SSO), and the credentialType is NTLM, the proxy impersonates the specified Windows logon account specified in SSO and calls the Web service by using those credentials.

By default, the Web service proxy is disabled. You can enable or disable proxy services for the entire farm.

Enable the Web service proxy for user form templates
  1. On the taskbar, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.

  2. In the top navigation bar, click the Application Management tab.

  3. On the Application Management page, in InfoPath Forms Services, click Manage the Web service proxy.

  4. On the Manage the Web service proxy page, in the Enable the Web service proxy section, ensure that the Enable check box is selected.

  5. On the Manage the Web Service Proxy page, in the Enable the Web service proxy for user forms section, select the Enable check box.

  6. Click OK.

Office administrators can delete individual form templates from a forms library.

Delete an individual form template from a site collection
  1. In a Web browser, open the home page of the site that contains the form template you want to delete.

  2. In the left navigation bar, click View All Site Content.

  3. In the left navigation bar, click the name of the forms library containing the form template you want to delete.

  4. On the <forms library name> page, point to the form template that you want to delete, click the arrow that appears, and then click View Properties.

  5. On the top navigation bar, click the Delete Item button.

  6. In the dialog box that appears, click OK to delete the form template from the library.

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