I've been using monday in my day to day life for years now to manage software product teams, product roadmaps, client interactions, status reports, and so much more. When presented with the challenge to build apps on monday for specific industries and teams, I immediately set out to interview some of my friends across those industries to see what was missing from their productivity, collaboration, and team management toolsets.
- I spoke with field workers and civil engineers who wished it was easier to update their statuses on the go. Well hey, we already built the Monday Manager for that!
- I spoke with sales and CRM teams who wished monday had easier integrations with their salesforce and hubspot accounts to track users and sales against their other dashboards and tasks, but I didn't find that type of work to be too inspiring.
- I spoke with tons of other product owners and tech teams who have a hard time managing their community and internal tools between things like github issues, custom forum tools, sprint planning tools, and notes/collaboration tools. Well, monday takes care of those last two, but why not use it for the first two as well?
And so, Monday Forums was born. A way to build and manage forums directly within monday. Separate what is available to external members and internal productivity, build your community by servicing them better and faster, get rid of all the integration glue between distributed tools, and do it all with the tooling you already know and love within monday.com!
Also, just like everything I build on devpost, the entire thing was built live on twitch in order to teach other developers proper craftsmanship in software development, specific tech like TypeScript and React, and of course how to build apps for monday!
What it does
It's exactly what it sounds like, add the Monday Forums app, and you get forums! Users can:
- Create posts for questions
- Comment on posts
- Vote on posts and comments
- Mark comments and different answer types
- Categorize and tag posts
- Markdown on posts and comments
- and more!
Check it all out in action here: https://youtu.be/EOSROeAl25E
However, instead of using an entire forum service that is just added to a dashboard, all of Monday Forums is built around a single monday board. This means all the admin tools and integrations you'd expect in a perfect forum tool are practically baked in!
- User management
- Thread locking
- Sorting and ordering
- Style management
- Internal notes
- Turning posts into roadmap items
- Internal task assignment
- Attaching other monday apps and views
- Content export
- Notifications and alerts and SO much more! I mean, everything you can do with a monday board, you can now do with your forums. It's like a match made in heaven.
As a bonus, I also made updates to my previous project here, the Monday Manager, to let you hear about or create new posts on a given forum using your voice with Alexa and Google Assistant!
Here's how you can get started using Monday Forums in your own monday organization!
- Add the Monday Forums app to your monday.com org
- Create a new board from template
- Select the Monday Forums board template
- Customize group names and add any additional columns
- Invite users to get started! (note: don't delete or rename any of the template columns or you may experience issues with the forum view)
How I built it
The entire thing was built live on twitch over at https://twitch.tv/suave_pirate as a means to teach other developers how to do something like this themselves! Along the way we used:
- Azure static web apps
- Unstated state management
- Emotion styles
- Parcel bundler
- ngrok proxy
- and of course, the monday SDK
Challenges I ran into
The only real challenge is that some ideal features aren't currently possible given the feature availability within monday. Most notably:
- Optional anonymous user access
- Embedding into custom webpages using embeddable custom board views
Beyond that, some minor technical hiccups like:
- GraphQL handling newlines in JSON strings
- Syntax highlighting lazy loaded with parcel
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm most proud of being able to build something that I know has immediate use and creates a solution to a real problem that product teams have. Beyond that, I'm proud of how I was able to teach others how to build along the way while having an awesome time myself :)
What I learned
I learned more and more about how to build better experiences on monday using the actual front-end SDKs. Previously, all the apps I had built were mostly back-end integrations using the APIs exclusively - that includes the Monday Manager voice assistant. It was great to dive a bit deeper into how monday apps work within the front end and luckily, the SDK was insanely easy to use to get started!
What's next for Monday Forums
Tons of stuff! I want to:
- Add deeper integrations with the Monday Manager
- Implement better real-time updates when changes happen to the backing board
- Support embeddable forums using the future embeddable board views, or a custom implementation
- Support anonymous access for more public forums
- Work on new styles and more settings for adjusting the styles
- Work with more software and product teams to continue to iterate on core functionality to ensure that Monday Forums continue to solve the problem of connecting community development and support to productivity and collaboration.