We have been really happy with how the Lightning Storm Forums has been doing. We get emails from people every day who are happy to find something for SharePoint that looks and work likes a normal forum does on the internet. SharePoint does have Discussion Boards available to use – but they do look and feel slightly different to standard forum type tools.
The Lightning Storm Forums use a number of SharePoint lists as storage for topics, posts and user information. While these lists can scale to store hundreds of thousands of items – the more you put in them and the harder you try to process the data in the lists the slower things get. People have been asking for more advanced forum features such as :
– post/topic moderation
– indication of new posts since your last visit
– better forum and user stats
plus many more.
We didn’t feel comfortable adding this functionality to the Lightning Storm Forums as it would lead to a slow down in performance – which is something nobody wants. So we’ve decided to build another forum tool called Social Squared. Social Squared directly uses Microsoft SQL Server for storage which gives us a lot more power in what we can do with the features.
Here is how to decide which forum web part is best for you:
Lightning Storm Forums
You require team based communication
General forum features
Storage part of a SharePoint site
You require a company-wide discussion platform
Advanced forum features
Happy to have separate storage database
You can find more information out about both of our SharePoint Community Tools here.
Try them now…
We are a big believer in building products that we use ourselves, and therefore have setup our Lightning Tools Connect site to be our main proving ground for the forums. This means you can try the forums out without having to install anything yourself!
We of course have a trial version of the forums available for download which you can get from here:
Over the next few days I’ll be posting about some of the features we’ve built into Social Squared.
Please give the forums a try, and let us know your feedback.