Update: Discussion Board Plus is now available from the Bamboo Solutions storefront.
Installing Bamboo Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint
Please review KB.12464: Best Practices for Installing Bamboo Products before installing Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint.
If you are installing a Bamboo product in a SharePoint farm environment, make sure to start the installation on the correct server. The required installation location is listed in the Setup program in the description for each component.
Install this component on one of the servers in the SharePoint farm running the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application service. Refer to System Settings in SharePoint Central Administration for a list of servers running this service. This component will be automatically deployed to all Web front-end servers the SharePoint 2010 Timer service.
Discussion Board Plus is a SharePoint feature that must be installed on the SharePoint server. After downloading the installation file, double-click on the EXE package and wait for the self-extraction to complete:
Follow the steps below:
- Select Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint in the Core component category of the Setup program. Verify the installation location and required permissions and then click Install. This package will install the main features and functionality of Discussion Board Plus.
- Components listed in the Optional Items section are not required for Discussion Board Plus to work, but they may provide additional features or enhanced functionality. To install optional components, click on the component in the Optional Items section and read the descriptive information and installation requirements. Select Discussion Board Plus Migration Tool, then click the Install button for that component located at the bottom of the screen. This package will install the external tool to move the data from the out-of-the-box Discussion Board to Discussion Board Plus (optional).
- On the server where SharePoint Central Administration is installed, from the Setup program screen, click the Bamboo Web License Manager Component button, then click Install (Read the End-User License Agreement and choose to accept or abort the install.).
Please note that the SharePoint Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint Setup is only supported for SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010. This package is not available for SharePoint 2007.
Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint module
Creating the Discussion Board Plus
Once you have installed Discussion Board Plus, you can create a discussion selecting Discussion Board Plus. Go to the location where you want to create a new discussion using Discussion Board Plus. From http://<servername/location>/_layouts/viewlsts.aspx, click on Create. Select the Discussion Board Plus icon, type the name of your discussion, then click Create. As you can see, the creation process is very easy, and really no different from that of the out-of-the-box Discussion Board.
Note: If you do not see the Discussion Board Plus icon in any category of Create form, please go to Site Actions then click Site Settings, go to Site Collection Features and activate the Bamboo Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint feature.
View and Settings
In forum view, there are two parts: Sticky topics and normal topics. Some important topics need to be shown at the top of the Discussion Board. By selecting the topics as sticky they will be displayed at the top under Sticky Topics. Other topics will be shown under the Topics section. All topics are sorted the Last time. In addition, each of the sticky topics is marked as sticky with a sticky icon () to the left of the title.
Icons in Forum View
Sticky, denotes a topic as being important enough to always display at the top.
This topic has a new reply or update.
This topic has no reply or any new updates.
This topic is locked and actions are only available to Site Collection Administrators.
All replies are only answers or discussion; no reply was marked as Verify Answer or Mark as Suggestion.
There is a reply that has been verified with Verify Answer.
There is at least one reply with Suggest As Answer.
This view has two summary columns:
- Replies column – shows the number of replies to the topic.
Views column – shows the number of times that this topic was browsed. If the user logged-in to view the topic, the Views increase one per day. If the user is not logged, the Views increase one per day per computer name.
The Flat view of Discussion Board Plus is customized from the Flat view of the out-of-the-box Discussion Board. There are some options very useful for management and viewing of the topics, such as Suggest as answer, Mark as answer.
If one topic has many replies, and one of these replies has been marked as suggestion that means this reply is a good answer, or the reply is one of the best answers to help readers of the thread. This feature helps moderators/administrators manage the forum more easily.
In addition, any reply can be marked as answered moderators or administrators who have the rights to manage this forum. They will also remove any replies which are marked as “Answered” or “Verified Answer” to normal replies if they are not actually the best answer, or doesn’t help solve the problem.
In a topic, there is only one reply can be marked as “Verified as Answer,” but there can be multiple replies with “Suggested As Answer.” Thus, the one reply with “Verified as Answer” will be displayed at the top.
Who has the right to perform these actions? Please review the Permissions for Discussion Board Plus section below.
Thread View in Discussion Board Plus is also a customization based on the out-of-the-box Discussion Board, and which functions in a manner similar to that of Flat View. However, in the Thread View of Discussion Board Plus, there is a new function that will collapse and expand the thread.
To support this view, Thread View of Discussion Board Plus displays the parent and child replies in the nested view, and it can hide all child replies from level two or lower. The reply which is marked as Answer will remain in its original position and only be highlighted. The original post remains at the top.
Others functions are identical to those of Flat View.
Append View is a very simple view. It appends the replies to the original post. Note: It does not support the status bar, functionalities, or any actions.
Discussion Board Plus version 1.0 supports simple settings such as turning on/off some features. To modify the settings, click on the Forum Settings button on the Ribbon to open the Settings page:
Forum Settings has two main options: Moderation and Post Settings:
- Moderation: Allows you to turn on/off the Lock Topic and Sticky functions. Select No to disable and Yes to enable again. When disabled, this function will be hidden on the Ribbon and ECB (Edit Control Block) menus.
- Post Settings: You can also enable or disable the functions “Mark Post as an answer” and “Mark Post as Suggestion” in the Status bar of Flat View and Thread View. Furthermore, Flat View is the default view when users click on the topic, but users can change the default view to the view of their choosing.
All settings are affected immediately after save and close of the Settings page.
How to Use the Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint
In the Forum View, only users with the right permission can select a topic and select Lock Topic:
Both the Ribbon and ECB (Edit Control Block) menus support the ability to lock an item, and will toggle the title depending on current status of the selected item. For example, if the selected item is locked, the title on the Ribbon and ECB menus will be Unlock topic, which will change to the unlocked icon when clicked. When a topic is locked, all replies following this topic are also locked, and no one (including site owners) can perform actions such as reply, verify answer, suggest as answer, or edit item except for the Site Collection Administrators. However, users can still make this item sticky, if they have the right to perform “stick” or “unstick” this item. The locked items are grouped either in the sticky group or can be moved down to a non-sticky group depending if they are sticky or not.
As with the “lock” function, “sticky” is supported in both the Ribbon and ECB (Edit Control Block) menus. Users can select the item, click on the Ribbon or ECB and select “sticky” to stick that item. The items which are marked as sticky will be shown in the Sticky group. This group is always displayed at the top and is sorted the Last Updated time.
Note: Users will not see these functions if the moderator or administrator disables this setting in the Setting page, or if the user does not have permission to perform these actions.
Suggest as Answer
Any user who has Manage rights can perform Suggest as Answer or remove their suggestions. In a topic where there are many suggestions, these items will be highlighted a specific color.
Normal users can see information such as who suggested this reply as an answer but he/she cannot remove (Mark As Not Answer). Only the owner who made this action or a user who has the appropriate rights can remove the suggestion. No confirmation message shows for removing since it is not important.
If a user has the right to mark the item as Verify Answer, he/she can mark any item, not only suggestion items. However, if there is an existing item that was previously marked as Verify Answer and now the user marks Verify Answer to another item, then the original item marked as Verify Answer before will be unmarked.
Permissions for Discussion Board Plus
For actions such as lock, sticky, verify answer, suggest as answer, what rights does a user need in order to perform these actions? For Discussion Board Plus, it depends on ManageList rights to do that. However, some of these functions require users to also have the EditListItem and AddListItem right to update an item’s status. Thus, to perform these actions we must revert to the application pool account to update item, but we still keep the LastUpdateBy info of the logged-in user.
The following table summarizes the security related to these actions:
(*): Yes if the creator has ManageLists permision or Full Control permission or Special Account.
(**): Yes if they made the suggestion or marked as answer. That means they only can remove suggestion or unmark an answer of theirs.
(***): Yes if they have EditListItem permission.
(1): Who has created the topic, not apply for anonymous user.
(2): Including all accounts in the Site Collection Administrator Group.
Integrating with Bamboo Rating Column
Once you have installed Discussion Board Plus, Bamboo Rating Column has also been installed and is ready to use. To use Bamboo Rating Column with the Discussion Board Plus list, from the List Settings click on Create Column. Type the column name and select the type as Bamboo Rating Column, then select the desired identification type:
Once the column has been created, the new section for Rating will be shown in the Forum View, as seen in the figure below:
If you’re familiar with the Bamboo Rating Column, you will know how it works. If you’re new to the Bamboo Rating Column, please visit our online store and our online documentation for more information related to Bamboo Rating Column.
Note: Only one column using the Bamboo Rating Column can be used with the Discussion Board Plus. When you create additional columns using the Bamboo Rating Column, you will see the message below and the OK button will be disabled:
Integrating with List Search Simple Web Part
In version 1.0 of Discussion Board Plus, we are providing support for searching using Bamboo List Search Simple Web Part. After installing Discussion Board Plus, Bamboo List Search Simple Web Part is also ready to use. When you configure the tool part of Bamboo List Search Simple for Discussion Board Plus, in the Search Results Configuration tab, the option ‘Define Custom View Option’ is disabled because Bamboo List Search Simple was pre-configured for Discussion Board Plus:
The search results provide you a quick view of the Discussion Thread and the Replies within.
The icon on the right shows the item result as a topic or a reply. If the result item is an item reply when a user clicks on that item, he/she will see the detail of the reply in the popup window.
Limitations and Known issues
- The Ribbon for Lock and Sticky topic will not show if a user adds the Discussion Board Plus into a Web Part page, so in this initial beta version, we have only supported these functions on the ECB (Edit Control Block) menu, as shown in the picture below:
- The view count for a topic will display incorrectly if the Approval Content option is turned on.
- The item tab still show in Flat view when user clicks on topic.
- Occasionally, the security message shown below will pop up after clicking on Lock topic:
To solve this problem, just refresh the page and repeat your last action.
We welcome your feedback on the beta of Discussion Board Plus. For support, please submit your questions through our Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint forum.
- Introducing Bamboo Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint
- How to Migrate Existing Discussion Boards Using the Bamboo Discussion Board Plus Migration Tool
- Download Bamboo Discussion Board Plus for SharePoint