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Advantages and Disadvantages of using Nintex forms. is this product useful? RRS feed

  • Question

  • So my company has decided to start developing using Nintex products, we initially had Nintex Workflow and now they are thinking of purchasing Nintex forms. and i was asked to start trying it out.

    I am currently midway through the development of a sharepoint app and i really like the REST APIs available in sharepoint 2013 as they enable me to develop using javascript and HTML5, quite basic stuff but very powerful.
    Now they are asking me to try this black boxed product out, so i have to waste a couple of days on this...

    I watched a couple of youtube videos and all they brag about is how easy it is to drag and drop components on the screen and visually design a form when this is the feature i care about the least. To me what counts most is how easy it would be to customize the form to do something that was not foreseen in the black box product.

    What are the advantages/disadvantages of using Nintex forms over using Javascript/HTML 5/Sharepoint REST ?

    many thanks

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 1:45 PM

Answers

  • The main advantages of Nintex Forms have to do with visual design, but it sounds like that's not what you're after.

    In terms of business logic, Nintex Forms does let you set up rules to show or hide fields based on certain conditions, like when a particular choice is selected from a field. It doesn't get much more complex than that without additonal development; if you needed more advanced form logic without writing code, InfoPath would be a potential solution. (Though from a developer's perspective, it's more trouble than it's worth!)

    You can still insert JavaScript and HTML into your Nintex forms, and to achieve some functionality you'll have to do so. Nintex forms will make it slightly easier for you to work with a form via JavaScript and CSS than it would be to work with the out-of-the-box forms, in terms of generating JavaScript variables that you can consume and specifying the IDs of controls on the page.

    One significant potential downside to Nintex Forms is that, like when customizations are made with InfoPath, the edited form won't pick up updates to the list structure; if the user goes in and adds new fields to the list, they won't show up on the custom forms until someone updates them.

    Nintex Forms is really targeted at a combination of web developers and power users from the business (who know a lot about using SharePoint but don't necessarily know web development or programming); developers can provide guidance and develop the occasional complex form, while power users can do a self-service type of thing where they set up their own forms to meet their needs and those of their coworkers. This helps take the load off of the IT department. If you're a small enough shop that you only need one developer for all the forms, and you already have the expertise to work with JavaScript/HTML/REST APIs, it might not be worth investing in Nintex.

    • Marked as answer by c.f.k Friday, February 21, 2014 9:31 AM
    Thursday, February 20, 2014 6:03 PM

All replies

  • Most users wouldn't use infoPath, with some education they might be able to use Nintex as it's as you mentioned really simple to use. It might be a good thing to implement if you:

    A) have users who actually needs to configure the forms frequently.

    B) are going to educate these users so that they'll be using the nintex forms frequently

    C) don't have time to configure forms in InfoPath

    Most of the stuff they brag about is basicly just that they've tidied it up. 

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 2:10 PM
  • Thanks for the replying,

    My forms will be configured only once, by me. Users will just use them to edit list items. I am not using Infopath forms either, as i said, i am using pure javascript and HTML5 and it works out pretty well for my needs. I don't know what our manager saw in the youtube marketing crap videos Nintex posted online that blew his mind...

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 4:59 PM
  • The main advantages of Nintex Forms have to do with visual design, but it sounds like that's not what you're after.

    In terms of business logic, Nintex Forms does let you set up rules to show or hide fields based on certain conditions, like when a particular choice is selected from a field. It doesn't get much more complex than that without additonal development; if you needed more advanced form logic without writing code, InfoPath would be a potential solution. (Though from a developer's perspective, it's more trouble than it's worth!)

    You can still insert JavaScript and HTML into your Nintex forms, and to achieve some functionality you'll have to do so. Nintex forms will make it slightly easier for you to work with a form via JavaScript and CSS than it would be to work with the out-of-the-box forms, in terms of generating JavaScript variables that you can consume and specifying the IDs of controls on the page.

    One significant potential downside to Nintex Forms is that, like when customizations are made with InfoPath, the edited form won't pick up updates to the list structure; if the user goes in and adds new fields to the list, they won't show up on the custom forms until someone updates them.

    Nintex Forms is really targeted at a combination of web developers and power users from the business (who know a lot about using SharePoint but don't necessarily know web development or programming); developers can provide guidance and develop the occasional complex form, while power users can do a self-service type of thing where they set up their own forms to meet their needs and those of their coworkers. This helps take the load off of the IT department. If you're a small enough shop that you only need one developer for all the forms, and you already have the expertise to work with JavaScript/HTML/REST APIs, it might not be worth investing in Nintex.

    • Marked as answer by c.f.k Friday, February 21, 2014 9:31 AM
    Thursday, February 20, 2014 6:03 PM
  • I am a developer not a business user, i really hate boxed solutions and "productivity enhancement" products like this one, often sold at exorbitant prices but providing no special functionality that justify their worth, to me at least. I do not even use Infopath either, that is a good argument i can go with to the manager to try to save us some $$.
    Friday, February 21, 2014 9:37 AM
  • With a developer hat on, I can appreciate that custom solutions can potentially be easier to build and manipulate, as you are not adopting anyone's framework and may have less constraints building with a blank canvas each time.

    With a business owner or business analyst hat on, there are many advantages for using a product or application to build repeatable solutions such as forms.

    SharePoint can quickly fall into demise if users (end user or super user) have free reign to build and deploy custom solutions, as they may or may not follow a consistent build pattern, and even other super users or developers can have difficulties interpreting and adopting solutions, should someone (such as yourself) leave an organisation.

    This is where products can provide significant return on investment. Products such as Nintex are built by experts in more than HTML, REST and JavaScript, but SharePoint as well. They provide a framework which ensures Form and Workflow designers follow a consistent approach, and each solution can quickly be viewed and interpreted by other users.

    Data gathering (forms) and workflow are also usually repeatable and work. I.e. in most organisation you need more than one of each. Products targeted to repeatable tasks are more efficient and accurate than custom code solutions and follow a more consistent and defined approach in building t

    Product solutions are continually developed and enhanced - which can be applied to existing creations. E.g. if Nintex Forms deploy an upgrade, all existing forms now have this functionality. There is no manual code updates required. That, and they are also supported.

    There is definitely a place for custom development in SharePoint, but for the purposes of quickly repeatable solutions such as forms & workflow, there should be a decent amount of analysis into requirements before taking the custom route.

    Cheers

    Monday, February 24, 2014 7:12 AM
  • I think you should certainly consider Nintex Forms as we have found they provide the right balance between flexibility to customise - add java script etc and out of the box functionality. Recent releases also have delivered more functionality in the mobile space which is important to us and I feel adds a lot of strength to Nintex's value proposition over anything custom. I would recommend that looking further into the forms product would not be a waste of time in the long run. Good luck !
    Monday, February 24, 2014 8:05 PM