Letters to Redmond
Letters@Redmondmag.com: April 2006
No life without Microsoft, Microsoft's hardware upgrade and Web services campaigns, and InfoPath.
Your question: "What
would cause you to move off of Windows
clients and Office?" My answer:
I enjoyed Mary Jo Foley's article in the January issue ["Will
Microsoft's Hardware-Upgrade Push Backfire?"].
In regard to small businesses, I believe that Microsoft is going to shoot itself in the foot with the move to 64-bit-only hardware on the server side. The cost of upgrading both hardware and software for many of these businesses is prohibitive. Compared to previous desktop releases, I think Vista will be a huge disappointment (to Microsoft) because of the hardware requirements, because of Microsoft's insistence on the nine or so versions of the OS when it is released, and the reluctance of users to spend the money needed to properly upgrade.
The majority of users are content with sub-$1,000 machines with marginal graphics and slow drives! I've been running the Vista beta on a 2GHz Pentium M with 2GB RAM and I'm not impressed. The machine's great with XP. It's really quick with Linux. It cost about $2,500 a couple months ago. I know that it's a beta.
We're looking hard at other choices, namely Linux. One thing that we all can
be sure of with these moves from Microsoft is that the doors will further open
for the open source movement and it will gain a lot of ground.
George W. Wilson Jr.
I'm responding to Barney's editorial in the January issue concerning the Web
services proposal from Microsoft ["A
Tangled Web of Services"].
He raised some very salient points about potential pitfalls with Web services regarding the susceptibility to hackers and the availability of the Web in general. And thoughts that Microsoft may not be able to adequately safeguard information are the most valid concerns.
thing that we all can be sure of with these moves from Microsoft
is that the doors will further open for the open source movement
and it will gain a lot of ground.
But my biggest concern is the ownership of the data. Even if it does reside
on a local disk, should the app break, or if there's some dispute with application
licensing, Microsoft could, in effect, hold the corporate data ransom in order
to achieve its own end. I find this possibility totally unacceptable. And how
could we be assured that if data is ultimately stored on Microsoft-controlled
data farms, that it's keeping its nose out of it? The concept just offers too
many avenues and portals for abuse of the data.
Mark D. Mathewson
The Road Less Traveled
I enjoyed Greg Shields' InfoPath article in the March issue ["Down
the Winding InfoPath"]. Does he happen to have any sample code for a button
that would submit the XML document to a URL? As a Microsoft Dynamics GP partner,
we would like to use InfoPath to submit documents into Microsoft Dynamics GP
via its eConnect dll, which can be coded for within a Web page. We have done
so with ASP Web page coding ... but would like to do so from the context of
Contributing Editor Greg Shields responds:
Glad you liked the article. I have zero experience with Dynamics GP, so I
can only give you general advice instead of actual code samples. InfoPath offers
four possibilities for submittal of forms: e-mail, direct connection to SQL/Access
database, submission to SharePoint and custom submission to a Web service or
That last one is where I think you're going to find what you need. If you
have a BizTalk infrastructure, I might guess you can create an orchestration
that ingests the InfoPath form and massages the data to make it friendly for
Dynamics GP. If you don't have BizTalk, you'll need to create your own custom
Web service with Visual Studio. That Web service could assumedly submit the
data to the eConnect dll.
Do remember this when you create a form that'll eventually be submitted
to a Web service: Always create the submission connection first before adding
anything to the form itself. Once you've started formatting the form, the application
won't allow you to submit. It's within the submission connection that you'll
point the form to your Web services URL.
There are a few books out there that'll help you with this process. I found
the series from Wrox to be the best. I think there are two or three books in
Hope this helps!
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