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:

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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Posted 4 years ago

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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.


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!