8 min read

Best of 2011: Confluence Edition

By Praecipio Consulting on Jan 5, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Here’s Atlassian’s Matt Hodges’ take on Atlassian Confluence’s best additions of 2011, which he says “paved the way for the future of online collaboration:”

2011 was the year Atlassian satisfied more than 2,235 of our customers’ votes for new features and improvements with three of our biggest releases, ever. 2011 was the year Atlassian took Confluence to the cloud with our new OnDemand platform, made it even more affordable for small teams, and started to get you new features, faster.  2011 was the year a new era in content collaboration was born.

Taking a page out of Ken’s book, here’s my pick of the starting XI of 2011 for the Confluence Family.

Keeper – The Anchor

No. 1  – A Faster, Richer, Simpler Editor

Suitably, this position is filled by the brand-new editor that shipped in Confluence 4.0. On-top of a brilliantly simple design, it’s packed full of rich editing features that make it lightning fast and able to satisfy two of your top 10 most voted feature requests – Merge Table Cells and Copy and Paste Images.

 

 

Defense (4) – A Solid Foundation

Any winning team needs a strong defensive line. In 2011 Atlassian built and improved upon four rock-solid pillars to ensure Confluence continues to thrive in 2012.

No. 2  – Easier Connections to Active Directory, LDAP, and Crowd

Connecting Confluence to an external user directory used to be painful, whether it was Active Directory, other LDAP servers or Atlassian Crowd. You had to edit XML files, and the configuration options were limited. Confluence 3.5 brought a simple, powerful , and flexible directory management interface and support for nested groups, another top 10 most voted for feature request.

 

No. 3 – Stronger Jira Integration

 

Confluence is great for collaboratively defining specsJira‘s perfect for tracking the tasks that need to be completed to make those specs a reality. In Confluence 3.5 Atlassian made it easy to link the specs you develop in Confluence to the actionable issues you track in Jira, without leaving the editor.

Since more than half of Confluence customers also use Jira Atlassian wanted to reduce complexity with your setup and give your users one username and password for both applications. With the release of Confluence 3.5 and Jira 4.3 you can now manage all your users in one place by allowing you to delegate Confluence User Management to Jira.

No. 4 – New Installer with Guided Upgrades

With new releases coming frequent and often Atlassian wanted to help you get new features to your users, faster. Much to the delight of any sysadmins that are looking after Confluence, Confluence 4.0 brought with it new guided installers for Windows and Linux.

No. 5 – More Plugin Points for Developers

Confluence 4.0 was designed to allow for constant innovation and improvement. Atlassian worked closely with our amazing partners to make sure they can take advantage of the power of the new editor. The latest version of Gliffy is an excellent example of how plugin developers can deliver a more powerful and most importanlty, intuitive user experience in Confluence.

 

Midfield (3) – The Collaborative Engine

Soccer is a team sport. It’s ultimately a collaboration amongst players that leads to a result. Midfield starts the plays. They facilitate the collaboration that helps win games. In 2011, Atlassian added 3 new features to help users share and discover the rich content they create to foster collaboration and achieve better results.

No. 6 – A New Way to Share

 

Tired of copying and pasting Confluence links into emails? Atlassian was too, so in Confluence 3.5 they added a ‘Share’ button to every page and blog post. Then in Confluence 4.1 Atlassian gave you a simple keyboard shortcut – ‘S’ – so you can bring right people into the discussions and projects that are taking place in Confluence without picking up your mouse.

No. 7 – Autowatch Content You Care About

Have you ever forgot to watch a page that you’ve created, edited, or commented on? Autowatch ensures you are always kept in the loop by automatically watching any pages or blogs posts that you contribute to. You’ll never miss another play again.

No. 8 – Familiarly Social @mentions

@mentions are a great way to notify other users about content and conversations they should be involved in. Best of all, they work just like Twitter and Facebook. When mentioned, users receive an email notification so they can jump right into Confluence and start contributing.

 

Strikers (3) – The Cutting-Edge

There are some features that are game-changers. They kick goals and win games. That’s how I like to think of these three features Atlassian gave you in 2011.

No. 9 – Autoformatting Magic

With the new editor in Confluence 4.0, came more power and speed thanks to Autoformatting. Type wiki markup and watch Confluence convert it to rich text, on the fly. Bold, italics, strike-through, underline, headings, lists, emoticons, tables – it all works.

 

No. 10 – Professional Image Effects

Creating content that looks good has never been this easy. Click an image and choose from a set of professional effects. That’s it. Whether it’s screenshots in your release notes or snaps from your company’s holiday party, Image Effects makes everyone look like an editing pro.

 

No. 11 – Instant Autoconvert

Autoconvert takes the links you paste into the editor – Confluence pages, Jira issues, YouTube videos, Skitch images, Flickr photo streams, and Vimeo videos – and transforms them into the dynamic content you desire. Autoconvert will save you valuable time everyday, helping you get things done, faster.

 

Off the Bench – Awesome Additions

There when you need them, your substitutes can fill the holes that pop up during play and change the game. They add the extra flare that’s sometimes needed to win. 2011 was a year Atlassian saw some incredible add-ons – new and old – jump off the bench and shine.

No. 12 – Manage Leave and Track Projects with Team Calendars

In June, at our third annual Atlassian Summit Atlassian revealed a brand-new add-on for Confluence – Team Calendars – where people, projects, and content meet. Since then Atlassian’s given you a new Team Calendar release, 30 days or less…guaranteed. Our two most recent releases delivered the new features you’ve been asking for – now you can share your custom date fields from Jira and add multiple people to a People Calendar event.

 

No. 13 – The SharePoint Connector Meets Confluence 4.0

That’s right, just last week Atlassian released version 1.5 of the SharePoint Connector. Compatible with Confluence 4.0, the SharePoint Connector takes full advantage of the new Confluence editor to make SharePoint integration easier to discover and use.

No. 14 – Get Schooled at Atlassian University

Also revealed at Summit 2011, Atlassian University is an online training tool that teaches your company how to use Confluence through videos and step-by-step interactive tutorials. With over 40 self-paced classes, it’s the fastest and most intuitive path to becoming a master of Confluence.

 

No. 15 – Incredible Add-ons

Confluence 4.0 paved the way for plugin developers to provide a more natural, richer, and intuitive user experience. Here are some stand-outs:

What Will 2012 Hold?

There’s no doubt it’s been a big year for Confluence, our biggest yet. Atlassian has an awesome team that continues to grow and execute. Thank you to our customers, new and old, and the extended Confluence community – users, experts, and plugin developers. Happy Holidays and safe New Year from the Confluence Team.

 

 

Topics: atlassian blog calendars confluence experts flickr release teams user vimeo community features marketplace-apps
4 min read

Confluence 4.1 Release: Tons of Christmas Goodies

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 13, 2011 11:00:00 AM

Editor’s note: Please note the total coolness of these Confluence 4.1 features, *in addition to what’s listed below*: pimping your imagesautoconvert of content from the likes of YouTube, Google Maps, Vimeo, Flickr (paste a URL, Confluence will turn into content automagically), and find and replace. This is awesome stuff – so make sure you’re sitting down and holding onto something!

Who doesn’t like a big Christmas stocking packed with goodies? It’s the season of giving and, this week, you’ll be able to rip open Confluence 4.1 and get your paws on all the new features packed into this big release. Atlassian’s Ryan already peeled back the covers on Image Effects – in this post Atlassian gives you a sneak peek at 5 more improvements coming your way in Confluence 4.1. Like every Confluence release, there’s something for everyone.

1. Use Any Character in Page Titles

Satisfying many of your votes, Confluence 4.1 removes the restrictions on characters in page and blog titles. This allows more descriptive page names and generally removes restrictions when creating page titles and naming your content.

Click to view full image

2. Set a Global PDF Stylesheet

Fulfilling 90 more of your votes, Confluence 4.1 let’s you set a custom PDF stylesheet at the global level, just like custom layouts. When a PDF Space export is requested, it will fall back to this global stylesheet if there is no specific individual Space stylesheet defined. This means users won’t have to re-apply the same stylesheet to all their individual spaces, if they primarily want one look and feel – perfect for enforcing company-wide styling guidelines.

3. Follow Your Network On the Dashboard

Think about how you work – usually you work closely with a handful of people everyday – people in your immediate team, direct reports, and stakeholders in other teams. Just like Twitter, you can follow these people in Confluence to build you own ‘Network‘. In Confluence 4.1 it’s easy to stay-up-to-date on what your Network’s been up to with a new tab on the Dashboard.

Click to view full image

4. View and Filter Attached Files in a Space

When you want to display all the attachments of a Page on a Page, you can use the regular Attachments macro. A new Space Attachments macro in Confluence 4.1 lets you display all of the files attached to the Pages in a Space, in a table view and filter them by file type. Perhaps you have a bunch of training files attached to Pages in a Space. No you can list them all on one Page to aid discovery.

Click to view full image

5. Translations Made Easier

For those customers working on translating the user interface, Confluence 4.1 has a new feature to make your job easier. After visiting the Confluence Dashboard, just add this text to the end of your Confluence URL and press ‘Enter’.

 

1
?i18nMode=lightning

 

This will then cause each element of the user interface to display its special key name while Confluence is still in an interactive mode. This makes it easier to find the essential context for each key, which can then be searched on http://translations.atlassian.com where you can enter an appropriate translation for your custom language pack.

The key names are displayed with a “lightning bolt” graphic between elements of the names. For example, the Browse button will show up like so:

 

The key system.space.menu can be found on http://translations.atlassian.com, allowing you to write a better translation for the term Browse, being able to see the full context of where the UI element belongs and what it means to the user.

When you’re finished translating, just add the following text to the end of your Confluence URL and press ‘Enter’.

 

1
?i18nMode=normal

 

Helping You Transition to the Confluence 4.x Generation

Thinking of upgrading to Confluence 4.x? How could you resist? Atlassian’s created a set of resources to help you manage the transition. Tutorial videos, Quick Reference and Upgrade Guides – you can find it all here.

Topics: atlassian blog confluence flickr google release vimeo continuous-improvement features

Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner

This means that we have the most experience working with Atlassian tools and have insight into new products, features, and beta testing. Through our profound knowledge of Atlassian environments and their intricacies, we can guide your organization as you navigate these important changes.

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