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5 Tips to Transition from a Regular to a Repeatable SharePoint List Data Destination

  • 1.  5 Tips to Transition from a Regular to a Repeatable SharePoint List Data Destination

    Posted 05-03-2022 13:26
    Hi Everyone

    With the introduction of the SharePoint list data destination now able to natively handle repeatable sections, I wanted to give some tips to help you transition from a regular type of destination to a repeatable type.

    1 - Leveraging column mapping already done in an existing SharePoint list data destination
    You cannot convert an existing data destination to a repeatable type if it is already in use by a form. However, you can copy the data destination and the copy won't be linked to a form (unless auto-link is on, so turn that off for the copy action). Once a copy is made and not linked to a form, you will be able to change whether it is a regular or repeatable data destination.

    How this helps
    If you have already created a SharePoint list regular data destination that maps many of the fields you want in your repeatable destination, or the mapping is a useful starting point in other ways, copying the regular destination as the start of your repeatable destination can save you some time (there will still be configuration to tweak).

    2 - Creating the SharePoint list with the data destination
    There are many reasons ProntoForms does not want to create new columns in our customers existing SharePoint lists. By this I mean, if you add a new mapping in the data destination to push the submitter into a SharePoint list column called 'Submitter' - if that column does not exist in the existing SharePoint list, we will not create it and you will encounter an error. We only modify an existing SharePoint list to make sure it contains the 1 or 2 ProntoForms columns we need (1 column for regular, 2 columns for repeatable destinations).

    However, if the SharePoint list itself doesn't exist yet, we will create all of the columns you have specified in the data destination mapping.

    How this helps
    If you don't already have a SharePoint list, you can use this knowledge to have ProntoForms create it for you – just know that as soon as you execute the data destination once and the SharePoint list gets created, we will no longer create columns if you add new ones to the mapping, you will have to create them manually in SharePoint first before mapping to them. If you are developing a form and just figuring things out with test data, you can just keep deleting the list that gets created as you modify the mapping in the destination and have us keep creating it.

    3 - Keep your existing data destination in place while you test the new one
    If you have a form that is already sending data to a SharePoint list and you want to change the data destination to be repeatable. Create a new SharePoint list repeatable data destination that pushes the data to a test list and attach it to the form - without removing the old destination(s). Once you have dual data destinations set up (same data but going to two different lists), you can compare the data flowing into each of them and tweak the new data destination until it gives you what you want. If your new destination fails for whatever reason, your existing destinations are not affected.

    How this helps
    Once you are happy with your new repeatable destination against your development form, you can use the same method to attach the new destination (without removing the old ones) to your production form. This allows you to test with real world data before finally deploying as it will execute for the real form submissions coming in. Once you are satisfied your new destination does what you want, you can remove the old destinations.

    4 - Make use of our toggle to enable/disable a data destination
    When you attach a data destination to a form, it creates a new form version for your users to download. If you want to temporarily stop your destination from executing you can disable the destination on the destination itself without pushing an updated form to your users. Instructions are in our user documentation: Enabling/Disabling Data Destinations.

    How this helps
    Your users won't have to keep downloading new form versions every time you want to enable/disable the destination while you are troubleshooting and the configuration takes effect immediately.

    5 - Proactively prepare for when we introduce limits on the number of data destinations that can be attached to a form
    We plan to impose limits on how many data destinations can be attached to a form, the number of destinations, the type of destination, and the timeline is still to be determined. Customers with existing forms that have many data destinations as a way to handle repeatable sections will be asked to convert and use a repeatable destination to reduce the number of destinations attached. We will not all of a sudden break this for customers relying on many data destinations to handle their repeatable sections, but we will be approach those customers to convert over when the time comes.

    How this helps
    You can proactively avoid us asking you to convert your data destinations to repeatable ones and start using the feature before we impose limits on any new forms you create.

    I hope these tips help, I'm interested in any other tips people have to make a transition like this easier - post them below!

    Natalie Tallon
    Product Manager

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