In this article we can explore the Forum feature of SharePoint. We can see how fast we can build a new Forum site using the site and list templates in SharePoint 2010
In real world scenarios a SharePoint Administrator need to create Forum sites for multiple groups or users. The Discussion Board list template in SharePoint (aka Discussion) helps to accomplish this task quickly.
For example a user requirement might arrive like:
· We need a Forum to evaluate new Product ABC features
· Discussion on Validating existing Interview Questions
· Open thoughts for the next trip Location
All these requirements can be accomplished through Forums.
Sample Discussion Board View
Please find a sample discussion board with multiple entries. The columns shown are Subject, Created By, Replies, Last Update date and they are configurable.
Create a Discussion Board
There are multiple ways to start with a Discussion Board equivalent to a Forum
1. A Discussion Board is included in Team Site template. This is accessible through All Site Content > Team Discussion link.
2. Create a new list from template Discussion Board
3. Create a new site from templates containing Discussion Board
Creating a Discussion Board
Now let us try creating a discussion board. Here we are using the List Template named Discussion Board.
The new Discussion Board gets created and is shown in the Quick Launch.
By default the columns displayed are Subject, Created By, Replies count & Last Updated.
For creating a new discussion use the Add new discussion link.
You can enter the Discussion Subject and Body in the appearing dialog box. The dialog box contains Rich Text Formatting options too. After entering the details click Save to continue.
For posting a reply one can click on the Subject row of the discussion item. This will display the Discussion and all the Replies associated.
Click on the Reply button to post your reply.
Views of Discussion Board
There are 3 types of Views for Discussion Board:
1. Subject View to display the discussions as a List displaying the Subjects.
2. Flat View In this view all replies are aligned to the left.
3. Threaded View In this view the replies are intended to the based on the thread.
The Views can be set through the List tab as shown below.
A Flat View screen shot is following:
A Threaded View screen shot is following:
Note The discussion board can be configured to enable Email Replies. Through this feature the participants can post their replies through emails.
In this article we have explored the Discussion site template of SharePoint. I hope this article increased your confidence in playing with Forum sites. In the real world scenarios which require advanced forum features, I would recommend customization of the Discussion Board.
We can summarize the points as:
· Forums can be accomplished through Social Meeting site and Discussion Board list
· Discussion Board can have different Views
· Email based replies are possible