I have a large list with repeating sections and the Nintex form (365) used for these list items has the repeating section connected to a multi-line list column so the XML data can be viewed in a column.
I've since created a workflow to parse through the XML on the list items but if I disconnect the repeating section from the list column on the form, publish the form and edit/save each list item (to "update" the form) I still get the XML source cannot be empty error if I run the workflow on the item. Also, when each list item is opened the values entered into the repeating section no longer appear on the form. If I connect the repeating section back to the list column then the values reappear.
If I could disconnect the repeating section connection, run the workflow, then re-connect the section so I can see the values that would be labour-intensive, but OK. The problem is that is that doing this still doesn't get round the XML source cannot be empty error, presumably because the section list connection can't be removed from an existing item?
Any help would be much appreciated.
Why do you want to disconnect the repeating section from the column? Binding it to a column is the recommended way to manage repeating section data. The alternative is you do not bind to the column and the data is actually saved in a hidden property called Form Data (along with the rest of the form info).
This post gives more information about how to work with data from a repeating section.
However, let's get back to your main intent - let us know why you want to disconnect the column and we can go through scenarios of how to address your requirement.
Thanks for your comment. I know that if the repeating section is connected to a list column then I can view the rough XML in the column, however the repeating section needs to be disconnected from the column so I can parse the XML in the NFFormData field via a workflow.
What I should have explained is that I want to create a new item on another list for every repeating section in every item in the current list so I can enable reporting on the repeating section values. I have a workflow that will parse through the repeating section and create a new list item for every value, however it will only work if the repeating section isn't connected to a list column otherwise the XML source cannot be empty error is returned.
This is why I need to disconnect the repeating section for the saved items, but disconnecting the section on the form and publishing the form doesn't affect already saved items. I tried to re-save an existing item to see if the form "updated" but when I ran the workflow on the item, the section must still be connected somehow as I got the XML source cannot be empty error.
I also modified the workflow to delete the multi-line field that the repeating section is connected to from the item before parsing the XML just in case it "disconnected" the section and allowed the XML to be parsed. I didn't think the values would still be on the item but thought it was worth a try. The workflow worked and didn't return the XML source cannot be empty error, but the values in the repeating section were missing. I was expecting this because, as mentioned in my question, the values disappear in the form once the section is disconnected and then reappear when the section is connected back to the list column.
Would this work for you?
Have multiple multi-line text items in your master list - one per repeating section. Connect each repeating section to the corresponding text item. Then your workflow will query the XML for each, extract the necessary bits and write that to your new list. This way you can avoid looking at the Form Data field and don't have to worry about going into form design mode to change some properties and resaving the list item etc.
Thanks for your suggestion, however I already tried this and it didn't work. I only have one repeating section in the form and when it was connected to the multi-line list item in the master list instead of querying the XML using NFFormData as the XML Source I queried the multi-line text field. The workflow history produced the XML source cannot be empty error.
That is strange Christine.
Are you able to post a copy of the contents of your multi-line field (change data as appropriate to anonymise stuff) and also your query xml action?
I know this is an old thread but I am also having issues with "XML source cannot be empty error".
My repeated section is connected to a sharepoint list column which is a multiline text, but some users who answered this form get the same error, but some do not.
I cannot replicate it on my end since it is working perfectly fine on me.