Alerts and Surveys that leverage Branching
I recently came across an issue with alerts on Survey lists in SharePoint 2010. I was building a branching survey for a client that just wanted a simple “Account Request” form for new Active Directory Accounts. They had multiple types of requests and collected different information for each type. Naturally I thought InfoPath or Branching Survey. We chose branching surveys because it would take less time and be easier to maintain by the client.
I built the survey and the client was very pleased with its functionality. Everything was working great and the client asked me to setup an alert on new requests that would email their help desk application. After a couple days they realized these alerts were not being sent. Because this was a new environment I jumped to the conclusion that the outgoing email must have a problem.
After a lot of testing and tracing the emails from other list, it became clear that the problem was the survey in question. Some Internet searching lead me to a possible issue with alerts on new items if branching is being leveraged.
I decided to do some testing to validate this. The client had leveraged surveys on a couple other sites so I setup alerts for myself on those. On the surveys without branching alerts for both new and all changes worked great. On the Surveys with branching only the all changes options worked!
In short, don’t make the same mistake I did. On branching surveys alerts must be configured on all changes because of the way Items are created on those lists.