3 min read

Atlassian Releases Confluence SharePoint Connector

By Praecipio Consulting on Jan 13, 2012 11:00:00 AM

The latest release of the Confluence SharePoint Connector is loaded with new features that help make the static content you store in SharePoint easier to embed within the dynamic content you create and share in Confluence.

Access Content in SharePoint From Confluence, Fast

Confluence 4.0 delivered a new intuitive editing interface that lets users create rich content with extraordinary speed and simplicity. Combine the content storage benefits of SharePoint with the new content collaboration power of Confluence and you’ve solved your team’s collaboration struggles.

SharePoint’s often used to store legacy documents. There are times when you need to make these documents accessible in Confluence where everyone’s collaborating around projects and getting their work done. Atlassian’s made it even faster for the users that live in Confluence to embed custom SharePoint Lists and link to SharePoint documents in Confluence pages with Macro Autocomplete.

 

It’s also easy to jump over to SharePoint from the lists embedded in Confluence pages with a new View in SharePoint link accessible from the macro property panel.

 

Lastly, Atlassian’s made the integration that the SharePoint Connector provides more discoverable to Confluence users by including the SharePoint Document Link and List macros in the editor’s Insert Menu.

 

Faster Linking to SharePoint Content

Let’s face it, collaborating around the content in SharePoint is a burden. However, pulling content stored in SharePoint into Confluence will not only save you time, but your mental health too!

Improved SharePoint Document Link Macro

Effortlessly create links to your SharePoint server’s Office documents while editing Confluence pages. Links inserted using the SharePoint Link macro let users open and edit SharePoint documents directly in the appropriate Office application, such as Excel or Word, without having to load the SharePoint site.

SharePoint List Macro

If you’ve got a group of related documents – like collateral for an upcoming product launch – that are stored in SharePoint, the the SharePoint List macro makes it easy to share those documents with other stakeholders that get their work done in Confluence. The macro can display most SharePoint list types and document libraries giving you the ability to access and collaborate around all of your SharePoint documents in Confluence.

 

Watch Confluence Content from SharePoint

If you’re viewing a Confluence page or blog post within a SharePoint site you can now choose to Watch it to receive email notifications whenever changes are made.

Up-to-date Content, All the Time

Even better, if someone edits the Confluence page or blog post while you are viewing it, the Confluence Web Part in SharePoint will automatically refresh so you’re guaranteed to be viewing the most current version. Keeping up-to-date with the dynamic content that lives in Confluence just got easier.

Available Today!

To try Atlassian’s SharePoint Connector 1.5, click the link below – and to learn more about SharePoint or Confluence and what they can give you, drop us a line.

     
Topics: atlassian blog confluence sharepoint documentation download integration
2 min read

Confluence for the Gaming Industry

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 7, 2010 11:00:00 AM

Atlassian’s Confluence is a key supplement to its Jira product. Confluence acts as a powerful project management component, breaking down information barriers within the development environment and keeping everyone on the same page. With an extensive list of plugins and Microsoft Office integration, Confluence can improve information sharing extensively – especially when working in tandem with Jira.

This post assumes the reader has a reasonable understanding of Confluence (if it’s unfamiliar to you, check out Altassian’s intro video). The post highlights how Confluence – as a component of Atlassian’s Agile approach – can streamline game development. Check it out:

Idea central. Confluence can easily serve as a repository for group ideas – and more importantly, offers more structured brainstorming. This is very important in pre-production environments.

Project central. Configuring Confluence to serve as a central portal for project information makes it easy for team members to get current project news from one place. In a hectic production environment, having a page that pulls in the data you need is great.

Personal homepages. Each Confluence user has their own homepage, and can easily write about what’s happening on their team, in their project, etc. This is much easier than navigating a wiki, and also allows developers to find team members with specific expertise.

Permissions. It’s important for all companies to have a mature permission scheme when it comes to file access. Confluence offers thorough permissioning options, so developers can feel confident in the integrity of their work.

Flexibility. Confluence and Jira are each flexible enough to be used differently by different project teams. One team, for example, may use Confluence to track milestones while another might use it to schedule individual tasks by the hour. Tom-ay-to tom-ah-to, it’s improving each team’s productivity by fitting their unique needs.

Documentation. Documenting applications is of course a critical part of the development process. Confluence makes documentation effective by making it searchable, ensuring users have access to up-to-date information on the fly. That’s extremely valuable since game developers need quick access to tech specs about game branding/design scheme/etc.

That’s how game developers are leveraging Atlassian Confluence to streamline project management in the development environment. And once again, it’s worth noting that much of what’s covered above applies to business of all types – not just those in the gaming industry. Check out our Confluence blogs to learn more about how Confluence (and other Atlassian tools)  can boost your operations.

Special note: We mentioned this in a recent post, but if you’ll be attending South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin in March 2011, stop by our booth at the SXSWi Trade Show. We’ll have a Confluence (and Jira) demo live, and have our developers behind the table.

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile confluence management project show sxsw trade documentation homepages integration microsoft
3 min read

How To Organize SharePoint: Getting Away from Folders

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 5, 2010 11:00:00 AM

 

 

Humans have been coming up with new ways to organize their information for years. The need to find the information you need quickly has perpetuated for centuries. When information began to be digitized, that need transitioned into the digital world – and soon we found ourselves with a pile of virtual files wondering how to manage them responsibly.

Since the 1990s, the most common way to sort through this file pile – or at least the best way to arrange them coherently – was to put the files into a “folder tree.” Folder trees are complex hierarchies of file folders that, if you mapped them out on a whiteboard, would look like your typical Christmas tree – with the high-level folders at the top, slowing segmenting downward to reveal subfolders, and the subfolders of those subfolders, and the subfolder’s subfolder’s subfolder. Say that three times fast.

The problem with folder trees is that as a company grows, their folder tree can easily turn into folder sprawl. As the tree grows, files can be buried deeper and deeper – meaning the search for a particular file takes longer in most cases – not to mention the time it takes to save a new file in the right location. And the more time it takes to find something, the more company time is wasted. That’s inefficient.

“But what about the Search function?” you say. “Can’t you just search for the file?” Youcan, actually. But in order to find the correct file, you need to know all or part of the file name – which you can’t guarantee. In order for Search to be affective, you’d need to be able to search for the things about the file you DO know – like, for instance, when it was written, who wrote it, what it was for, etc.

That being said, a better way to organize information is to forget the folder tree altogether – or at least in theory. It sounds crazy, but if done right, it can make your information architecture far more efficient than you think.

The better way involves assigning relevant attributes to every file in your system – where each file has a set of attributes that describe it, telling us what it is, what type of file it is, when it was last modified, and who modified it. Consider a hypothetical worker’s compensation form, for example, stored in a content management system. If I didn’t know what the worker’s comp form was called, but knew it had to do with insurance, I could type “insurance” as a search query – and if “insurance” was a keyword or attribute of the form, presto. I’ve got it.

                                    Document Library in SharePoint

                                      HR Request List in SharePoint

Attributes should be unique to every folder, library, or department, users associate with documents differently depending on what they are. For example, this HR request list in Microsoft SharePoint looks a lot different from the Employee Agreements document library. For one, it stores requests – not actual documents. It’s meant to track requests made to Human Resources, so each request’s attributes tell who requested it, what type of thing was requested, some details, and its approval status.

By assigning attributes to every file in your system, you’re guaranteeing faster search times and implementing a more intelligent information architecture for your organization – avoiding the messy, high-maintenance folder sprawl we mentioned earlier. By making the search process more efficient and repeatable, you’re making your company more profitable long-term.

Good technology, good process, good profit. To more learn about that or tell us how YOU organize your stuff, visit our blog.

Topics: business library management sharepoint company documentation information intelligence microsoft organization
3 min read

Version Control in SharePoint

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 23, 2010 11:00:00 AM

 

Listen to the video or read along below:

Some of you may remember when shared drives were a revolutionary way of sharing documents throughout a company. Business documents were stored on a drive within a massive tree of folders that most employees could access. The problem with shared drives was that whoever edited a document last won – and by that I mean if Joe in accounting and Sue in management were editing the same document, there was no way for them to know if anyone else was editing it at the same time. So if Sue saved the document and overwrote it on the shared drive, and Joe finished and saved it an hour later, Joe’s version would become the document – and all Sue’s work would be lost, resulting in wasted time, wasted money, and…well, extreme frustration.

This is why SharePoint‘s version control is so useful. Here’s how it works in a document library. Click on Settings, then Document Library Settings. // Here, under General Settings, click Versioning Settings. // Here’s where you’ll set this up. Content Approval’s asking if you want to approve or reject submitted documents or changes – you would want to do this if you didn’t want everyone with access to the library to see approved, pending, and rejected drafts…for this example, I’ll turn this off for the sake of simplicity. Document Version History is want we really want here. I want a new version to be created every time I update a document – and I want the old versions of the document to remain available in case I mess up and need to revert to a previous version. Right now, No Versioning is selected – so I’ll change that. I can choose major versions or minor versions. I recommend major and minor versions for precision – if someone merely changes the punctuation in the document, I don’t want the document to jump from 2.0 to 3.0.

Below, I can choose how many older versions to keep on file. 2.0s and 3.0s are considered Major Versions, while 2.1.1s and 3.1.1s are considered minor or “drafts.”

Draft Item Security lets you choose who can see every version of a document. You can choose to extend this visibility to anyone who can read items in the library, to those with editing capabilities, or only to users who approve changes. I’m not requiring an approval process for this library, so I can’t choose the last option – but I’ll choose only those who can edit documents, since those are the people likely to be on the team with access to this library.

Lastly, Requiring Check Out is very important. Checking out a document to edit it tells the rest of the world you’re editing that document – if you don’t do that, you revert to the shared drive scenario I mentioned earlier. I’m selecting “yes” here to require my team to check out a document to edit it. You can learn how to check documents in and out in a separate videoblog.

So now let’s test this…let’s say we need to update our Worker’s Comp Form. I’ll click Edit in Microsoft Word – notice I’m “about to check out and edit this” – // and in Word, I’ll make the changes. Now I’ll check in the document – and notice it’s asking me what type of version I’m checking in. These were minor edits, so I’m checking in a minor version or draft – so I’ll select that, and let people know what I did…then click OK.

Now I can click on the Version History of this document and see my latest version here. If I click the drop-down arrow, I can choose to view or unpublish my version – or restore the version below. I can also delete all minor versions – all the small drafts – and keep major ones, the 2.0s and 3.0s, to make things simpler.

That’s the scoop on versioning. Visit our blog for more.

Topics: how-to library sharepoint videos control documentation microsoft

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