Atlassian has been hard at work, producing a new version of Confluence. As well as the usual round of fixes and under-the-hood improvements, Confluence 6.1 introduces a number of interesting new features, which promise to make collaborating easier and more fruitful. Plus there are some Data Center changes that make scaling more straightforward and quicker than ever.
As you’d expect, Atlassian clearly spends a lot of time thinking about how teams work best. It’s no surprise, then, that Atlassian came up with Team Playbook, a whole programme of collaborative exercises and predefined content, to help teams understand their strengths and weaknesses, and to target areas of improvement.
Now, Atlassian has integrated Team Playbook with Confluence via Playbook Blueprints, which consist of new pages based on predefined content for plays. Which plays you choose are up to you, but if you’re unsure which would be best, you can run through a Health Monitor, starting with a workshop that you can now launch from Confluence.
Running a Health Monitor involves getting your team together and identifying what they do best and where they might need to improve. Using this information, you can choose the right plays from Atlassian’s selection or make your own. Whichever play you choose, you’ll find they link to the relevant pages on the Atlassian website, so you’ll quickly be able to get started with improving your teams.
(Oddly enough, rubber chickens are actually a part of many of the plays, but we’ll leave it to you to discover why.)
Collaborative editing is a feature that brings a lot of obvious benefits, enabling teams to be on the same page and get more done, but some Confluence users have it turned off due to infrastructure or environmental problems. Now, thanks to a number of fixes and performance improvements, it’s well worth giving it another try.
Notable changes include:
Atlassian has been working with Amazon to make Data Center deployment easier and faster, with better scalability. Together they’ve developed a quick start for Confluence Data Center 6.1 on Amazon Web Service (AWS), which simplifies the whole process, enabling you to set up an entire cluster, complete with load balancer and database, in minutes. This can be in an existing virtual private cloud (VPC) or a new one.
What’s also noteworthy is the fact that your Confluence and Synchrony nodes are installed on EC2 instances in auto-scaling groups. The result is that increasing capacity as you need it is almost effortless. You can even specify scaling policies, enabling you to launch or terminate instances as demand grows or declines.
SAML provides a straightforward way for organisations to use single sign-on tools, and now it can be used in Confluence Data Center, having already been introduced to the Data Center versions of JIRA Software and Bitbucket.
Setting it up is a breeze, and compatibility is impressive. Confluence Data Center 6.1 offers support for a wide range of identity providers, including OneLogin, Okta, PingIdentity, Bitium, Microsoft Active Directory Federation Service and Microsoft Azure Active Directory.
As well as the headline features, Confluence introduces a few other important changes.
Troubleshooting Confluence Server is now much easier, thanks to the ability to start it from the command line with all user-installed add-ons or selected add-ons disabled.
With the addition of this language pack, Confluence now has out-of-the-box support for 10 languages.
These are less visible, but nevertheless important changes. You can read more about them here.