As you know, SharePoint provides a powerful social communication tool called Discussion Boards. Think of Discussion Boards like forums, where an initial topic is introduced, and then users can provide feedback (called Replies) to that topic. But how does one keep the communication going without wasting time manually monitoring each topic? Luckily, SharePoint provides an alerting mechanism built into Discussion Boards. Users can optionally select to be alerted on a given Discussion Board or topic. Upon doing so, the user will receive alerts based on the configuration of the alert, most commonly when a reply to a topic has been created. The Alert looks something like this:
One of the benefits of the message is the Quick Links at the top of the window which helps users quickly navigate to certain areas in the site. The most beneficial link is the middle one that takes you directly to the Reply:
Unfortunately, the window that is displayed does not provide an option to Reply directly from this screen. To reply, you have to click Browse in the Ribbon, then go up one level in the breadcrumb, select the Topic, and then click Reply in the appropriate location. It’s not exactly straightforward.
In an earlier post, I showed how you can manually add the quick reply button to individual Discussion Boards. In this article, I will provide you with the tools to deploy the Quick Reply to all Discussion Boards in the Web Application. To begin, you will need to download and install the free DirectReplyDiscussion zip file. Extract it and run Setup.bat.
Click on the Install button, then -> Select Web Applications to deploy, check on automatically activate features, and install component:
Once completed, you will see a message similar to below:
*** Direct Reply Discussion *****
“Server Name” : The solution was successfully deployed.
Open any discussion board SharePoint list type in your Web application with Direct Reply Discussion installed. In view mode, on the display form of a topic item, the reply icon has been added:
By clicking on the Reply Discussion button, it will directly link to the reply form for that topic:
Here is the result:
For those who may be wondering if this also works with Discussion Board Plus, yep, it sure does.
I hope you find this post useful for extending the capabilities of your SharePoint 2010 Discussion Boards. Please feel free to leave your comments and opinions below.