Confluence, our professional J2EE wiki, is released today. Put simply, it enables development teams to efficiently collaborate and share information resources.
- Posted by: Mike Cannon-Brookes
- Posted on: March 25 2004 00:02 EST
Why should Enterprise Java developers care?
Well, apart from being intensely useful to your development team - it's built with plenty of cutting edge server side Java frameworks (including the Spring framework, Hibernate, Lucene, WebWork 2, Seraph and a large number of Open Symphony components).
Incidentally you can find out more detail behind the architecture in a detailed talk to be given at the TheServerSide Java Symposium this May.
Confluence also has a number of integration points beyond normal wikis - for example JIRA integration, SOAP / XML-RPC APIs, trackback support and more.
Outside opinions? See what one Java blogger and one .Net blogger had to say.
TimTam - Confluence Eclipse Plugin
Coming soon is TimTam, a funky Open Source Eclipse plugin for Confluence too. It communicates back and forth with the Confluence server via SOAP.
For screenshots and details, see http://timtam.codehaus.org
Where to next?
You can download an evaluation copy online, or just try an online copy now.
You can also see Confluence in use at CodeHaus and ThoughtWorks.
Of if you really like press releases, see below:
Atlassian announces Confluence 1.0 - the professional J2EE wiki
Sydney, Australia - Mar. 25, 2004 - Today, Atlassian's Software Systems announced the release of their latest product: Confluence 1.0. Confluence, the professional J2EE wiki, is a knowledge management tool designed to make it as easy as possible for a team to share information with each other, and with the world. Confluence's simple but powerful editing and site management features help sharing information, collaborating on documents and brainstorming ideas, all from a single web-based location.
Wiki technology, established by Ward Cunningham in 1995, has been gaining traction in the market place due to the growing interest in knowledge management and collaboration and of course the 'network effect'. Confluence builds on these foundations, making it easy to create, edit, link, search and organise pages using an easy-to-learn notation. Confluence takes the concept further by adding sophistication and professional qualities customers now come to expect from Atlassian software. Further indeed, recently a customer was quoted as saying: "I hate wikis, but I love Confluence".
Speaking of Confluence's development, Mike Cannon-Brookes (Atlassian's CEO and co-founder) said, "our aim was to build an application that was built to the requirements of an enterprise knowledge management system, without losing the essential, powerful simplicity of the wiki in the process."
Each Confluence site is divided into discrete spaces. Within each space, users can create, edit and link pages using an easy-to-learn notation. Powerful editing features such as intelligent page renaming and page hierarchies make it simple to maintain and organise the content. Full text searching across all content and attachments (including Word and PDF files) allows information to be looked up rapidly. As the site grows, users can track changes as they occur, either through the site, with an RSS newsreader, or be notified by email of each change.
Confluence adds professional features rarely seen in wiki software (and especially not all in the same wiki package): flexible privilege-based security management, blogging, automated refactoring, exporting pages or entire spaces to HTML or PDF, a comprehensive remote API, easy "unpack and run" installation; all wrapped up in Atlassian's "Legendary Service".
Talk to anyone trying to introduce knowledge management applications into organisations and you will quickly understand the difficulties involved in obtaining buy-in and participation from the organisation. Confluence is a major step-forward in breaking down this barrier, making knowledge management, perhaps for the first time, truly practical.
Find out more about Confluence 1.0 now, or even download an evaluation today at Atlassian's web site.
Availability and Pricing
Confluence 1.0 is available now via Atlassian's web site. Confluence's fair and upfront perpetual licensing policy includes free upgrades and support for 12 months. Confluence is a J2EE application which runs on any platform.
About Atlassian Software Systems
Atlassian Software Systems is an innovative Australian software company providing enterprise software solutions to the world's leading organizations. Our mission is to build a different kind of software company - one that listens to client needs, values innovation in development and solves customer problems with brilliant simplicity. Atlassian's commitment to legendary service provides consistent, high quality support for all our customers. Atlassian also publishes JIRA, the world leading issue tracker.
- And this is better how? by Tim Brown on March 25 2004 08:19 EST
- Atlassian releases new wiki: Confluence 1.0 by Jason McKerr on March 25 2004 11:21 EST
- RE: Open Source Alternative Wiki by Skip Tomaloo on March 25 2004 12:48 EST
- RE: Open Source Alternative Wiki by Nick Minutello on March 25 2004 22:01 EST
RE: Open Source Alternative Wiki by Fabian Crabus on March 26 2004 01:52 EST
- RE: Open Source Alternative Wiki by Nick Minutello on March 26 2004 01:46 EST
- Confluence & SnipSnap (Radeox as the common point?) by Armond Avanes on March 27 2004 01:09 EST
- RE: Open Source Alternative Wiki by Christian Ey on March 29 2004 07:35 EST
- RE: Open Source Alternative Wiki by Fabian Crabus on March 26 2004 01:52 EST
- RE: Open Source Alternative Wiki by Nick Minutello on March 25 2004 22:01 EST
- vqwiki by randall mcphearson on March 26 2004 08:23 EST
- Re: SnipShite by Skip Tomaloo on March 26 2004 15:55 EST
Granted, I only took a quick peek at it.. but why should people be paying for yet another Wiki engine?
What added value does it have over something like MoinMoin or Twiki?
(and no, saying "It's J2EE!!!" doesn't count ;-)
This is a similiar open source project:
Integrates subversion, bug tracking and wiki text.
Looks very nice, but I have not had the time to try it out.
I briefly looked at this Wiki implementation and I would say it looks nice.
Reasons to buy:
- I am not aware of other commercial Wikis (some people want/need to pay to feel better) and this offering will certainly appeal to them and nicely compete with IBMs QuickPlace;
- Convenience. Personally I have high confidence in Atlassians software (we use JIRA) and even it might not do more than Twiki it can be more convenient for use.
(I am not affiliated with Atlassian and not happy with their pricing in the Wiki )
What is missed in Confluence: spellchecker
but why should people be paying for yet another Wiki engine
Well, in short, you have to have a closer look.
A lot of the features are simply attention to detail - often missing in OSS projects, but make all the difference in usability.
The fact that is java-based is important. If you want to extend its functionality in any way, I for one, dont want to start hacking with Perl, python or something else I know bugger-all about.
Hence plugins (similar to SnipSnap) are a simple endevour to write - and they are already springing up (see codehaus for the CVS code sample plugin).
The SOAP API is very useful - not sure if Twiki or MoinMoin have this. It allows you to use external rich client editors (like Tim Tam). These can give you syntax highlighting, search and replace, intellisense, diff support, side-by-side edit/preview, etc etc stuff not possible with a web ui.
Also allows you to integrate external build tools - like CruiseControl: rather than spending loads of effort putting more and more features into the dashboard, they could push raw data into Confluence, and write a plugin for confluence...
Same is true for Maven. Keeping project documentation in xdocs is pants (its static) - and as soon as I get a few spare minutes to rub together, I am writing an maven plugin to push the xdocs into confluence - and then deleting them...
Calling Tim Tam an "Eclipse Plugin" somewhat understates what it is. Strictly, yes, its an Eclipse plugin, however, Tim Tam will also be a stand-alone application built on the Eclipse RCP. It will make it a much richer editing client than any web ui can do...
Integration with Jira is another nice thing (if you are already using Jira).
Navigation, and page hierarchies are nice - something missing in a lot of wikis.
Theres actually quite a bit of stuff there...
Agreed, I think there are a lot of open source Wikis, of varying quality and feature sets. Confluence looks like it has a lot of nice features, but not enough for me to seriously consider shelling out for it, given the number of free alternatives. However, projects like JIRA and Clover are a different story - there's no open source alternative (yet) that can match the quality of these products. Which again explains why so many OSS projects take advantage of the open-source project license they provide. Same situation for Linux and BitKeeper.
We use Confluence here at the Open Source Lab and have yet to find a Wiki engine that comes anywhere near Confluence in functinality and usability. Normally, for the OSL, I'm a big fan of "Eat your own dogfood," using Open Source wherever possible. The only two exceptions to my rule currently are Confluence and Jira from these guys.
Good stuff, thanks guys.
The Open Source Lab
"Open Minds. Open Doors. Open Source."
Might be it is time to redefine term Open Source? Attlassians source is open as far as I am concerned, however it is not free.
I've looked at the Confluence demo and it's was very appealling, but based on the price I thought SnipSnap (http://www.snipsnap.org) had 80% of the functionality and was free. We've been using SnipSnap for a couple months now and haven't had any problems.
Dont get me started on SnipSnap... (Or SnipShite, as its known internally).
We have been using it for over a year and a half, and we fell out of love with it a long while ago.
Some of these criticisms may not be 100% up to date - at some point I stopped following the development.
- Still no versioning !!!! The fundamental feature of a wiki.
- Pretty crude security.
- Crap blog. The first poster of the day owns all the posts for that day - so no-one else can edit their posts.
- Still no war deployment (surely this criticism must be out of date by now)
- Still cant use a proper database
- Wiki rendering goes awol without rhyme or reason.
- Export/Import (last time we upgraded) was truly diabolical. It stupidly exported the encrypted passwords, and then promptly encrypted them again on import (little wonder we had difficulty logging in afterwards...)
- Attachment management is pants.
- Limited customisation possibilities (fixed portlets)
- and more...
That said, there are a lot of things that we like about SnipSnap, but there are none of these features missing from confluence.
Nick, have a look at SnipSnap 0.5.1...it got most if not all of the missing features you criticise:
-versioning (including a simple diff)
-database option (at least MySQL)
Try it again. It works (and as AFAIK both Confluence and SnipSnap use the same rendering engine -Radeox- so it should)! Not to be mistaken, Confluence is a great product (we've already bought Jira), but so far SnipSnap is all we need.
PS: just have a look at SnipGraph- completely useless but cool :)
0.5.1...its got most if not all of the missing features you criticise
As I said, we gave up on it after some point. After a year waiting for essential features, we lost confidence in it...
At some point, we had to look at the code to solve a problem - and lets just say, that didnt help our confidence...
You are right, in that it does use Radeox - but Confluence has some very nice extensions.
Well, most of the guys out there think that since Confluence is using Radeox engine (so does SnipSnap), the WIKI support is also at the same level of SnipSnap.
I should mention the fact that firstly Confluence is greatly for Textile wiki syntax which is more straight forward and makes sense better. Almost it's hard to find a single common filter or macro between these products due to the fact that most of them have been rewritten to cover the bugs as well as enhancing the support for more complicated cases. And no need to mention the many new filters and macros Confluence adds of its own.
All in all, it's not that easy to catch Confluence in wiki syntax support as you can do with SnipSnap and other wiki engines. I have many many wiki rendering test cases which easily fail with default Radeox filters and macros but not the case with Confluence...
Have you tried JSPWiki?
We are using it in our development teams and are very happy with it.
vq wiki is a good product, a wiki in a war file that you can drop on your appserver. We used it at my last place for development/support notes.<br/>
Couldn't have been easier to setup, deploy and use.
Nick, you don't think you're maybe a little biased aren't you? :-)
Sure, it's not perfect, but the price was right and it works for me. YMMV