Struggling with building a project message board HELP!

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We are an internal creative department who uses Quickbase for project management. The heart of our Quickbase project management app is our Projects table. We have it set up great...our marketing people enter project requests, our managers assign the projects, we can assign project tasks, etc. The objective of building this project management system is to capture all information pertinent to a project in one place. That way anyone, even if they were not directly involved in the project, can open up a project record and be able to see everything related to that project. There was one thing missing that many systems (competitors to Quickbase) had that we wanted...the ability for project communication to be captured within the project.


A search here in the Quickbase Community led me to this message board example: https://www.quickbase.com/db/8emtadvk?a=q

I set up a project message board similar to this. But this functions more like a forum. My users want something that operates more like email or messaging.

I have attached a screen shot of what the message board within a project looks like currently. The problem is, the users want to be able to see the text of both the original message and the reply message all from the main project record. The way I have it set up now, you can see the main message, but if you want to read the replies you either have to click on the message and it lists the reply messages below the main message or you have to click on the number under "Replies". So what their doing now is instead of replying to a message, they are just creating a new message (instead of a reply) to answer the original message.

I've played around with various relationship setups and when I get one aspect working the way I want, something else is no longer working.

The way it is set up now there are three tables involved: Projects, Messages, Replies

They are set up such that one project has many messages and one message has many replies.

I just need to figure out a way to show the text for the message and the text of the reply in the same report.


Any suggestions on how I can accomplish this are GREATLY appreciated. I'm starting to feel a little cross eyed trying to figure it out.
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Tara

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Posted 4 years ago

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Jack, Champion

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Have you considered adding a button to your report "Reply to this message" and using the api to take the user to the add reply form for that message. When they save they should go back to the message then just put a button on that form to return to project main form (where the report is housed in image you posted).

The formula url field for the button will need to be set up in the messages table and then added to your report (in the image you posted).

There is something further you can do to show the user the latest reply message. If you set up a summary field which provides the max record ID of each record in the replies (table to table relationships for Messages < Replies)

Once you have that you need to set up a reverse relationship so Messages > Replies but use the Max Record ID summary field as the reference field (its a drop down to change when you are creating the relationship). Then add the message field as a lookup on this relationship. This will pass the latest reply to the message table. You can then do a lookup of this field to pass the latest message back to the replies table. So when you create a new reply it will display the latest reply on that form too!

Your reply form can then show:
Original Message
Latest Reply
Field for individual to write their reply to that.

If you want any further details on this please reply below.
Hi Tara,

I have had this same problem come up a few times in my past - So I know exactly what you are going through.

First tip here that I found works best in native QuickBase, messages (and replies to messages) should all live in the messages table. What you do is relate the messages table to itself, where a message can have many messages. This seems a little clunky, but it works... pretty well to a point. You still end up with sort of a forum type experience.

Above all else, I think QuickBase is really super great at 2 things - 1. providing visibility for collaboration around data (a message board is perfect for that) and 2. connecting to other software via API.

When I think about that statement - it basically tells me that QuickBase is my central hub for everything- I should be able to see everything that is going on with my projects in QuickBase. However, it doesn't necessarily have to be the point of entry for ALL data, right?

When you realize that - and allow yourself to open to the scary world of integrated services / software, things get really exciting. Here's why: Honestly, QuickBase is not a very good message board program... It isn't even a really good time tracking, expense tracking, or even survey tracking tool. It can do all of those things ok, and all of those things have data in common, and the need to see that data and analyze it or report on it, but for a user to use QuickBase as a end all be all for things like that just makes me feel like they are being limited to a degree.

I'll get to my point: There is an awesome message board service out there that people are raving about called: SLACK. It works perfectly for all things communicating and message boarding - and it is really fancy on mobile, or online. So if you use something like that - you would still want to see those messages when you look at your project. That is where a service like Zapier or itduzzit comes in. SLACK is very inexpensive. Zapier is inexpensive as well. Zapier will look for messages going back and forth in SLACK, and send that data to QuickBase so it can be viewable on your project AUTOMATICALLY.

SO COOL!!!!

Anyway, I have flown the coop and have started to use outside smaller tools like SLACK, EXPENSIFY, SURVEY MONKEY, etc, but yet, I LOVE QUICKBASE - so I have zapier to send all the data into QuickBase for me. It is the sauciest awesome sauce on the planet.

Anyway - hope that helps! Oh and by the way - this type of thing is super easy to set up...

Have fun! Let me know if I can be of futher help!
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Tara

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Eric,

Thanks for the suggestions! I am experimenting with relating the messages table to itself. The problem is in my project record where I have all of the messages related to that project listed it is only showing the main messages. It is not showing the reply messages. So it's dropping the related project info in the reply message. Do you know how I can fix this??

Thanks!!!
I will put together a test app and send it to you later this evening or tomorrow - what is your quickbase user email address?
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Tara

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tara.haack@biomet.com

Thanks so much for your help!!!!
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Tara

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Hi, Eric! Just wondering if you were ever able to create a test app. I am still having trouble getting this to work. Thanks!
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Jonathan Heuer

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Hi Eric, I'm curious to hear your experience about integrating Slack and Quickbase. I'm contemplating using Slack as an internal messaging app, and the idea of using Zapier or ItDuzzit to capture relevant messages is interesting. Could you share more details?
We use slack as a team here at CirrusOps. We don't currently have it integrated with our CRM/PM app, however I just built a simple integration in the past 15 minutes that is working perfectly. It was very simple to do via zapier. I used a text filter @cha where cha is the short name of one of my clients. In the integration set up, I told it that anytime @cha is mentioned in slack, add an activity with the text of the slack message, with an activity type of 'Slack' and for related client #21. I then tested it and it worked like a dream! =] I think the key to this is having some sort of system for identifying projects or clients. We already had a 3 letter abbreviation system in place for our clients so this was perfect. Let me know if I can be of further help! - Eric J Hansen, CirrusOps, 801-828-7907 eric@cirrusops.com
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Jonathan Heuer

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Haven't tried Zapier (and disappointed with Intuit's rollout or lack thereof of ItDuzzit) yet. Isn't the '@' a symbol Slack reserves for mentions? I could think of some applications for this though, such as scanning Slack for mentions of specific records (by record ID#) or customers (by name, though these aren't unique so that could get problematic). Re: the system you mention, I can see the value of that as well- basically creating a "dictionary" accessible to Zapier. In my case, when Slack user John Smith mentions record 12345, I'd want to create an activity record in Quickbase (in our app we call these Notes) related to parent 12345, with John Smith as the author (author standing in for record owner). The dictionary would need to match up Slack users with QB users, and also possibly include details about customers. Dictionary might be a table (perhaps even one of the new connected services, if Intuit adds Slack).
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Leanne

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Not sure if anyone is still working on this type of integration, but we are looking into almost the same thing and I'm wondering if there is an easier way to connect the two programs (in this case Slack and QuickBase) without recording everything that happens in Slack into QB. We want to create a convo in Slack when a QuickBase project is created (and add those users to the convo) and then have some way to click into slack (or view the conversation) from QuickBase, without pulling in the day by day replies. Anyone had any luck with this type of integration?
Leanne, I have a pretty good idea of how this could work for you. Find my content information in my profile if you would like to discuss ideas. Thanks!