One of the more popular quirk in SharePoint 2003 (remember the YASQ’s?) was the alerting mechanism. The alerts in SharePoint 2003 are OK at first sight: you can create an alert for a complete list or document library, or just for one item. The problem is that you can only create an alert for yourself. This makes sense if you think of alerts as ‘RSS-avant-la-lettre’. But lots of people would like to create alerts for other users as well. Unfortunately this was not available out-of-the-box, although you could customize SharePoint by installing various (free) web parts to overcome this issue.
Recently I discovered that this YASQ has become a YASR (Yet Another SharePoint Relief): in SharePoint 2007 you can create alerts for other users! Just navigate to a list or document library, and from the Actions menu choose the Alert Me item.
On the New Alert page you can specify the details about the alert: title, type and destination. The new (and exciting) thing is here that you can enter multiple user accounts to which the alert should be sent.
Further down on the page there are more innovations. In SharePoint 2007 you can create an alert which is based on a specific view which opens quite some interesting possibilities. Finally you can still choose the interval to sent the alert (immediate, daily and weekly). New here is when you select the daily or weekly summary that you can specify the exact time when the alert should be sent (e.g. a daily summary at 7.00 am in the morning).
So are alerts perfect in the release? I think there’s still some room for improvements: when you create an alert for multiple users actually multiple alerts are created. This is a disadvantage when you would like to delete or update the alert that you’ve created for multiple users at the same time (you can’t push forward those changes). And finally it’s not (yet?) possible to create an alert for all the content of a site. But don’t get me wrong, I still consider this as a major YASR!