SharePoint rocks. Okay, I said it. I got it out of my system. It's got a lot going for it but can also be the biggest PITA known to mankind.
How many of us are sick and tired of the old "Discussion" boards that come with the OOTB SharePoint? I mean, threaded and flat views are so 1990s and you really can't carry on a good conversation without seeing what else was said and maybe oh, I don't know, quoting a post when you reply. I mean seriously. Internet Forums have been around for years and there are tons of great products out there like phpBB and ASP.NET Forums.
So let's get with the program shall we?
Another of my "pet" projects that I talked to some people at the last MVP Summit was a new Forum replace for SharePoint. Something that would be worthy of what we, in internet land, refer to as forums and not the red-headed step-child that some SharePoint engineer dreamed up. Something that would be useful. Something like this:
Some of the features are typical of Forum type applications you see out there including:
- Threaded messages
- Reply with Quoting Features
- Unlimited forums can be organized into as many categories as you like
- Private forums for specific groups
- Password protected forums
- Web based administration (add/edit/delete everything inside the Web Part)
- Member list (with stats on # of posts, etc.)
- Locked topics
- Sticky topics (can be used for announcements)
- Active topics list
- Print and email topics
- Supports smileys/emoticons
- RSS feeds (and/or Alerts) for forums and topics
Additional features as this is a SharePoint Web Part:
- Leverages SharePoint fully by using Lists to store information (instant installer, just drop it on a page)
- Uses the built-in SharePoint roles of Reader, Contributor, and Administrator (but you can define your own)
- Uses all built-in SharePoint graphics
- Conforms to whatever theme/CSS changes you've made to your WSS Site/Portal to fit in
- No membership or login required, just visiting the page that the Forum lives on will add the user to the system
- Security trimming so users without access to a forum/category won't see it
This is a single web part that you can drop onto any WSS site or Portal Area (yes, it works with both, and there was much rejoicing) either on a default page or your own Web Part Page. The posts are all contained in a few lists and they're built (and hidden) dynamically when you add the Web Part. As this Web Part lets you define as many forums and categories as you want, you really don't need multiple instances of it in your site (but I could be convinced to update it if you make a strong enough case for it).
The mechanics are all done, now it's just fixing up the posts (tracking when someone adds a new post) and the stats and wrap it up for you guys to get your little grubby hands on. Okay, sorry for getting your salivating and all that with no download yet. I just couldn't keep quiet but I'll be working throughout this week to complete this (along with my other projects like SharePoint Builder) to get it out to you.