Best approach for restarting custom task form development after seemingly corrupt form environment

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James Lavoy

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Office 365 Exchange
New to the Forum. Glad to see such a helpful community out there for Outlook Forms development.

My development environment:
  • Office 365 for exchange hosting
  • Outlook 2007 on laptop, running Windows 7
  • Developing new form in one of our public Exchange folders (folder name is "FL Group Tasks")
  • Four users, including myself

Initial steps taken:
  1. Created new form based on the Task form
  2. New form has three pages, each with basic controls
    • each page has 4 text boxes formatted to display a date
    • one of the forms has two list boxes
    • each form has an image control and a label control for a heading/title for the page
    • each form has a frame control to visually separate some of the text fields
  3. Created custom fields bound to each control on each page (had originally had more custom fields than my final form needed but didn't delete them because there were some tasks that had been created that had those fields as part of those items)
  4. Published the form to the public folder "FL Group Tasks"
  5. Changed the properties of the public "FL Group Tasks" folder so that the default message class was the one associated with my new form (IPM.Task.FL Enhanced Task Form)
  6. Ran a utility that changed the message class of all task items that existed already in "FL Group Tasks" from IPM.Task to my new message class
  7. From a usage perspective, I have a number of task items that were created long ago from the standard Task form that are stored in a separate public folder named "FL.Templates"
    • these task items serve as "templates" for managing a process within our business (we build custom homes and each task contains steps for how to manage a particular selection, like a homeowner's choice of appliances)
    • when we start a new custom home, I copy the relevant task items from "FL.Templates" to "FL Group Tasks" to use them
    • although these "template" task items reside in a separate public folder "FL.Templates" (which has a default message class of IPM.Task still), I did also run the message class utility on them to change their message class to match my new form so they would use the new form after I copied them into the "FL Tasks" public folder
  8. The custom form worked well for all users

Then I goofed up somewhere along the way. I wanted to make the form a little more dynamic, using a button control & VB scripting, to generate a Task Request to a certain user based on info in the custom form. I was also working with VB scripting to generate a hyperlink to the public task item that was open; this hyperlink was being inserted into the Task Request to allow the recipient to quickly pull up the public task requiring their attention. In this process, I was also testing a few different things with VB scripting, including learning how to code for certain events (like when the form or page is opened).

I was doing a lot of publishing during this process. I also know I saved the item as well when closing out of the form after publishing it. I ended up one-offing the form on a couple of occasions. So I'd start a new form from the base task form, copy the controls into it, rebind the fields, and continued on. I also played with the icon option, associating a custom icon with my form. I would clear the forms cache fairly frequently also.

Then, after I attempted to publish the form after tweaking it (I think it was right after I changed the icons actually, which never really worked and never used the custom icon I set it to), all of the VB script content was deleted. Something was woefully corrupted. So I again started a new form from the base task item, copied my controls over from the damaged form, deleted the damaged form, and re-keyed much of the VB script. I left the default icons, etc., I published the form and it published fine. Then, a couple of days later, one of my users was in the "FL Group Tasks" public folder pulling up an item, but it didn't use the custom form. It used the base task form. So I opened the custom form in design mode and tried to publish it but it wouldn't, saying I needed to specify icons. Also, none of the VB script was there anymore either. So that form became corrupt too.

So, all of that background (thank you to anyone who is still reading this novel :) ) to get to my pleas for help...

  1. First, can you tell from any of my maneuvers any general reason why the forms have corrupted?
  2. I really am at the point I'd like to just reset everything and start over, but I'm not sure how far I have to go to truly "reset"; should I:
    • merely delete the form I have now and re-create what I'm trying to do without copying any of the controls or anything to the new form?
    • should I delete all of the custom fields I created as well as the current custom form and re-create the fields and controls on a new form?
    • Is there something now that I've goofed up or corrupted in the "FL Group Tasks" public folder that I need to delete the whole folder and create a new one and start all from scratch?
    • Do I need to use Exchange admin to turn off public folders, delete all the public folders, and then turn public folders back on and recreate all from scratch?
  3. Any other guidance you are willing to offer would be much appreciated!

Thank you in advance for your help.
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