Confluence – A Wiki on steroids

Those Atlassian boys have done it again. First I became a fan of Jira, and now its looking good for Confluence too.

Confluence is at its most basic another wiki clone, but its a nice looking, easily editted one at that. After a few minutes using it though you realise why its going to blow all other Wiki’s out of the water, with features like:

– arbitrary page hierarchies

– exports (of whatever selection of pages you want) to pdf and html

– separated ‘spaces’ for topic consolidation and security

– rss feeds for various events

But then after a few minutes more you suddenly get the ‘wow factor’ when you start using its dynamic macros – inlining things like

– search output, child page lists, etc.

– abitrary RSS feeds

– Jira issue reports

… etc. They’ve even done their own implementation of Fit called FatCow which you can just use like any other Macro. You can write your own macros too, just to add insane power to the application.

Its not perfect yet, but for a 1.0 release it has a very ambitious feature set so I’ll let them off. Things that could be better:

– RSS and blogging features need some work – these are powerful things, but really they could be better (e.g. blogging in a context smaller than a space, better (or maybe more obvious to use) RSS outputs)

– Usability is good, but it still takes a while to get going as a new user. Jira’s got better on this front, so I expect later versions of Confluence will be easier for newbies too.

We’re using it already for CruiseControl.NET – check out our space here.

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