Microsoft offers preview version for InfoPath

Microsoft Corp. on Monday provided a preview version of updates that will be added to its InfoPath 2003 — a forms application product that is part of the Office suite.

More securityand reliability along with helping developers and end users capitalize on the InfoPath platforms: these are improvements Microsoft is touting in the beta version of Service Pack 1.

InfoPath, as an application, aims to make it easy for end users to edit forms using Extensible Markup Langauge (XML). Forms can be used to extract and send business data for and from business applications running on back-end systems.

By downloading the InfoPath 2003 Service Pack 1 preview, form designers can begin incorporating the forthcoming enhancements into their InfoPath 2003 solutions, enabling them to make updated solutions available when the Microsoft Office System service pack is released, the company said in a statement.

The preview is compatible with InfoPath 2003 and existing solutions will function as they have in the past, Microsoft said.

The final version of the InfoPath update will be included in the release of the Service Pack 1, expected in June.

Capabilities in the preview version include security enhancements such as increased support for digital signatures, giving form designers the ability to provide verifiable, nonrepudiable signing, partial signing, cosigning and countersigning through enhanced digital signature support, Microsoft said.

The preview vesion features enhanced document recovery, data submission and filtering controls and expanded controls including built-in filtering tools. Also added: richer page layout controls for working with printed forms; easier integration into existing business process and workflows; additional tools for developers using managed tools and extensibility and enhanced support for handling XML schemas.

Customers can download a version of the InfoPath Service Pack 1 Preview free from the Microsoft Web site.