This chapter examines Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007. Office Forms Server 2007 works with Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 to form a complete forms solution for your enterprise deployment. Numerous features allow administrators and developers to work both in the enterprise and with local teams using InfoPath forms, while using Forms Server 2007 to make those forms available on demand. Office Forms Server 2007 and Office InfoPath 2007 are closely related in that InfoPath is used to create forms and the Forms Server is used to provide browser access to those forms. In fact, the InfoPath program and Office Forms Server 2007 are so closely related that it would be impractical and misleading to discuss one without mentioning appropriate features of the other.
An enterprise develops and deploys hundreds, if not thousands, of forms throughout its corporate facilities. Many companies wanted to take advantage of Microsoft InfoPath 2003 because it was a forms-building program that produced .xml files natively, allowed easy editing of the form itself, and allowed easy integration with Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server. However, it was not possible in InfoPath 2003 to fill out InfoPath forms using a Web browser. Having such a powerful technology that functioned fully only on the desktop led to requests by many to make InfoPath forms available over the Internet so that they could be filled in by anyone with a Web browser.
Although InfoPath 2003 had a Web solution, that solution offered just read-only access to the forms. InfoPath 2003 was intended to become SharePoint Portal Server 2003's forms solution. Because the appeal of both SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and InfoPath 2003 would be broadened by adding the ability to work with InfoPath 2003 forms from a browser, Microsoft created Office Forms Server 2007.