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Confluence 6.1 Has Arrived, And Better Teamwork Is Top Of The Agenda

The latest version of Confluence has landed, bringing with it a host of new features. Here, we look at what they are and how they can improve the way teams work together, with long-lasting benefits.

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.

Improve Your Teams With Team Playbook

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.

Team Playbook graphic (via Atlassian)

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. 

Team Playbook in action (via Atlassian)

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.)

Improved Collaborative Editing

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:

  • You no longer need to make changes to your reverse proxy configuration to use the internal Synchrony proxy. It works right out of the box.
  • Automated fallback to XHR means that if a user cannot connect to Confluence via WebSockets, they can still edit pages, hassle free.

Get Data Center On AWS In Minutes

Confluence Data Center quick start for AWS (via Atlassian)

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 Single Sign-on For Data Center

SAML support for Confluence Data Center (via Atlassian)

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.

Other Changes In Confluence 6.1

As well as the headline features, Confluence introduces a few other important changes.

Safe Startup

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.

Chinese (Simplified) Language Pack

With the addition of this language pack, Confluence now has out-of-the-box support for 10 languages.

Infrastructure Changes

These are less visible, but nevertheless important changes. You can read more about them here.

Need help setting up setting up or upgrading Confluence? Clearvision’s consultants are here to help.

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Anthony is a writer, proofreader and technology enthusiast. He has an on-off (mostly off) relationship with Twitter, and an on-off (mostly on) relationship with ice cream.