In my last blog Notes to SharePoint: Migrating Applications Away From Notes – Part 2 I mentioned the SharePoint Forms designer tool. In this blog post, you can read more details about this tool, its advantages and how Lialis has automated the conversion of Notes forms to SharePoint Form Designer forms. Please visit this site (www.spform.com) and their blog site for more details about what Forms Designer is all about.
In Lotus Notes/Domino forms you can create the following items very easily.
With the SharePoint Forms Designer tool, you can recreate these four Notes items on SharePoint forms! For me, this was the main reason to purchase this tool for the 8,000 user migration project I am working on. In addition, I find that Forms Designer speeds up the SP form development process. I am not wasting my time in creating pixel perfect forms in SharePoint (SP) because Forms Designer does this for me. So I am very happy with this tool. It is not very expensive by the way.
Let’s focus on the Lialis Notes form conversion to SP forms with the help of Forms Designer.
This process starts with Quest NMSP. Quest jobs are created for the Notes forms we would like to migrate to SP. It is important you understand that in the Quest jobs I create, the SP columns are based on the Notes field names. So if a Notes field on form A was called ‘jobnr_project’, the column in SP will have the same name. With Quest, this is easy to do in a few minutes for many fields. When Quest has finished its job, for all the fields on the Notes form, it creates columns in SP with the same name.
Lialis has created a tool to convert Notes forms to the XFDS format of SP Forms Designer, it looks like this (it is a Notes app) and it’s very straightforward.
You can select the Notes database you are converting to SP and it will display the forms in this database; you can select the forms you want to convert and press 2 buttons to do the conversion of the Notes form (via XML) to XFDS, which can be imported in Forms Designer. This conversion will convert Notes form text, (tabbed) tables and put the fields on the right spot in the table in SP. Please don’t expect a full Notes form conversion, but we will convert as much as possible, so the work you have to do in SP is much less than designing the SP form from scratch.
Next step is going to the list you created in SP with Quest. When you have installed Forms Designer on SP you will see this button in the SP List ribbon.
Press it and the Forms Designer tool will show in the browser.
On the left, you will see all the Notes field names converted to SP columns by Quest NMSP.
The middle part of the screen is grey, this is where you would normally design the SP form.
SP Forms Designer allows you to import XFDS files. We created this XFDS file for this particular Notes form, so let’s import it.
Choose the XFDS file created by Lialis and the Notes form will show up with the fields added to the table in this example in SP Forms Designer.
You can see that the form needs more work, but this will go much quicker because many fields are already in the right spot.
Because the Notes fields and the SP list columns have the same name it is very easy to map them and put the right fields in the right spot in the SP Form Designer form.
At this time (August 2014) we are improving the Lialis form converter tool by using it for many applications and forms in projects. Feel free to email me if you want to use this tool for your project –email@example.com
Lialis can help you with the migration of Notes applications to SharePoint, please contact us here.