Conversations on documents and objects
Frequently users would like to have a conversation around a particular document or some other object (a web page, a customer record, etc). While SharePoint notes can be used to hold simple comments, they do not provide the richness of a Aurea Social stream and they are not easily visible.
This feature creates the ability to have a stream about anything. It includes built-in capabilities for document libraries, Office Web Apps, and web pages.
A plugin for Microsoft Office is available to provide these abilities from within an Office document.
After the NewsGator Item-Level Discussion feature is activated on a web app within SharePoint, viewing or edting document properties will display a Discuss option.
Clicking the Discuss button opens up a discussion panel and grays out the rest of the screen.
Posting in the box on this page creates a microblog which is tied to this document. The stream has typical controls including the ability to add comments.
You can follow the conversation around the document (follow sphere) and see who is following it. If the document is public, your posts and comments on it will be visible to your colleagues.
Also, the discuss an external site link gives access to a bookmark control that lets you have a conversation around any web page.
If Office Web apps is installed, the control to begin or access the discussion looks like this.
A Microsoft Office plugin is also included with this feature. If you have the plugin installed, it will automatically open a conversation pane in Word, Excel or Powerpoint when you open a file from SharePoint.
Clicking on this test document opens up Word with a split view as shown on the next page.
The left side shows the document content, and the right side shows a sphere generated specifically for this document. Users can choose to follow or post here just as they could from the web interface.
When the plugin is installed, a NewsGator tab is added to the ribbon. Selecting this tab shows two options.
The Discuss button opens the discussion panel if it is not already open. The settings option currently only has one choice.
If a user does not want the discussion panel to automatically open when loading a document from SharePoint, they just de-select this option.
The Microsoft Office plugin works on Office versions 2003 and later.
In the 5.3 GA release, there is a known issue where the document link and community link can incorrectly get combined into a single link in the community activity stream for document conversation posts. This link will fail.