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Submit entire InfoPath form to web service

, 29 Jul 2012 CPOL
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This post describes method of submitting entire InfoPath form (entire XML file) to a web service
During my last assignment, I needed to submit the content of Repeating Table of InfoPath form to an Access database. The form had to be published on SharePoint Site - so I could not submit directly to the database, but I was forced to use the web service (because web enabled forms do not allow access directly to the database).

So I build a web service method which allowed me to submit one row of the Repeating Table to the database and I thought that I would be able to submit each row in some kind of a loop inside the InfoPath form. Well it did not work, I was just able to submit the first row all the time and nothing more.

So I decided to submit "the entire form" and than parse it on the web service side. Here is a short example of how to do this.

Preparing the InfoPath form

First let's create simple InfoPath form with one repeating table (eg. list of products).
Now what you have to do is rename the fields in the "Data sources" tab. Later you will use these names of the fields to get the values stored XML representing the InfoPath form.

Creating the Web Service

In the web service you will need a method which takes XmlDocument and will parse this XML document representing the InfoPath form and store it's values to the database.
public void SubmitDocument(XmlDocument doc)
  XmlNamespaceManager nsManager = new XmlNamespaceManager(doc.NameTable); 
  nsManager .AddNamespace(formNamespace, formURI);
  nsManager .AddNamespace("dfs",

  XmlNode root = doc.DocumentElement;
  XmlNodeList list = root.SelectNodes("/dfs:IPDocument/my:myFields/my:prodList/my:product", nsManager);

  foreach (XmlNode node in list)
    string name = node.SelectSingleNode("/dfs:IPDocument/my:myFields/my:prodList/my:product/my:name", nsManager).InnerText;
    string price = node.SelectSingleNode("/dfs:IPDocument/my:myFields/my:prodList/my:product/my:price", nsManager).InnerText;
    string amount = node.SelectSingleNode("/dfs:IPDocument/my:myFields/my:prodList/my:product/my:amount", nsManager).InnerText;

    SubmitToDataBase(name,price, amount);
In this method first we initialize the XMLNamespaceManager. To this manager we will have to add two namespaces. First one is the namespace of the data source of the InfoPath document. This one we can find out in InfoPath client by navigating to Properties -> Details.

Now when InfoPath submits the form to the Web Service, it adds another namespace to the document marked as: dfs with the URL" and you need to add the namespace to your namespace manager.
nsManager .AddNamespace("dfs", "");
Then to get value of certain field in the XmlDocument we need to know the XPath which leads directly to the desired XmlNode. We can get the XPath by the Copy XPath option, which can be found in the context menu of desired field in the "Data Sources" tab.

For example to get the "amount" XmlNode and later the string representing a number inside this node we can use the following code:
XmlNode nAmount = node.SelectSingleNode("/dfs:IPDocument/my:myFields/my:prodList/my:product/my:amount", nsManager);

int amount = Convert.ToInt32(nAmount.InnerText);

Preparing the Accesss database connection

To connect to Access database you can use the OLE DB Provider, exactly the .NET Framework OLE DB provider, in the namespace System.Data.OleDB. First you need to specify the connection string to your database. Because we are using Web Service it is good idea to store it in the Web.config file. Add the following to the Web.config file.
  <add name="myDB" providerName="Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0" connectionString="Provider=Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0;Data Source=C:\myDB.accdb"/>
Later, already in the code of your Web Service you can prepare yourself a property, which will provide you this connection string (you may reference this connection string several times, it is good to have a shortcut for the reference in the Web.config).
public String ConStr
  get { return ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings["myDB"].ConnectionString; }
The following is a simple implementation of a method which stores the data in the database. You can made this method part of your Web Service directly or build yourself some data access layer class.
public void SubmitToDataBase(String name, String price, String amount)
  OleDbConnection con = new OleDbConnection(ConStr);

  String cmd = "INSERT INTO products(name,price,amount)values(?,?,?)";
  OleDbCommand command = new OleDbCommand(cmd, con);

  OleDbParameter pName = new OleDbParameter();
  pName.Value = name;

  OleDbParameter pPrice = new OleDbParameter();
  pPrice.Value = Convert.ToInt32(price);

  OleDbParameter pAmount = new OleDbParameter();
  pAmount.Value = Convert.ToInt32(amount);


There is nothing too interesting here if you are familiar with some other ADO.NET classes. Just notice that I am using parametrized queries. The SQL command contains question marks, which are later when the actual OleDbCommand is compiled substituted by provided parameters. That is all about the Web Service now you need to go back and configure the InfoPath form to connect to the Web Service.

Connecting the InfoPath form to the Web Service

OK now lets go back to the InfoPath form design. To submit the document to this web service you will have to add new data source select submit data -> to Web Service. Than localize you web service and find the method that, you just created and than finally in the Data Connection Wizard select submit Entire form.
Now just to give you a complete idea, here is the XML which is submitted to the web service. However if the document is saved as XML later (eg. in the SharePoint document library), the dfs namespace is not presented.
<dfs:ipdocument xmlns:dfs=""><my:myfields xmlns:my="" xml:lang="en-us">
   <my:price xsi:nil="true" xmlns:xsi="">
   <my:amout xsi:nil="true" xmlns:xsi="">


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Jan Fajfr
Software Developer (Junior) OCTO Technology
Czech Republic Czech Republic
Writing software at ITG RFQ-hub.
Articles at OCTO blog

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionInserts only the first row of the repeating table Pin
Kobida Maceda22-Aug-11 14:22
memberKobida Maceda22-Aug-11 14:22 

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