Confluence 4 introduces a new editor. This page contains answers to common questions, to help you with your move to Confluence 4.
Why is Atlassian introducing a new editor in 4.0?
The editor is the single most important feature in Confluence. Confluence 3.5 has two editors: the rich text editor and the wiki markup editor. Each has its strong points and weak points.
- The rich text editor in particular has problems in stability and consistency, because it has to convert all content from rich text to wiki markup before storing content on the database. This leads to the so-called 'round-tripping' problems, where the page looks different in display mode than when created in edit mode.
- Many people find the wiki markup editor hard to use, particularly for long pages and complex layouts. We often hear from customers that the number one barrier to wiki adoption in their organisation is that people have to learn wiki markup.
Many customers have given us great feedback on the shortcomings of the current editors and the things they would like to see in a Confluence editor. We are introducing a single new editor to replace both the wiki markup editor and the rich text editor. The new editor will help us to solve the problems mentioned above and will provide a stable platform on which we can build high-demand features in future releases.
What about features that were previously available only in wiki markup?
We have identified these features and will add support for as many as possible in the new editor. For example, the new editor will include superscript and subscript text formatting, which is currently not available in the Confluence 3.5 rich text editor.
So you are basically eliminating the wiki markup editor and keeping the rich text editor?
No. While the new editor is WYSIWYG like the current rich text editor, the new editor has a completely different architecture based on a new XHTML-based storage format, and is faster and significantly more reliable. Our goal is to incorporate the strengths of wiki markup with the richness and intuitiveness of the WYSIWYG editor to produce a rich, hybrid editing experience. In particular, we are introducing options that offer the speed of the old wiki markup editor, via new features such as autocomplete and shortcut keys.
Will you be able to paste wiki markup into the new Confluence editor?
There will be multiple ways to insert wiki markup in the new editor.
For those of you that have learned wiki markup and are used to the speed of wiki markup we are really excited to let you know that you will still be able to write wiki markup in the new editor. This wiki markup converts 'on the fly', providing one of the fastest editing experiences yet.
For those of you that have scripts that produce wiki markup, or often write wiki markup in meetings, the new Confluence 4.0 editor introduces an Insert > Wiki markup dialog which will let you paste wiki markup for a one-way conversion.
Will Confluence 4.0 support the Office Connector, including 'Edit Page in Word' functionality?
Most of the features of the Office Connector (the View File macros, Import from Word) already work in 4.0. However, the 'Edit in Word' feature will be removed in Confluence 4.0.
When speaking to customers about the use of the 'Edit in Word' functionality, the primary reason for using this feature was 'familiarity'. Business users in organisations have found the 3.5 editor and wiki markup hard to learn.
In Confluence 4.0, we have greatly simplified the new editor user interface. With extensive usability testing, we are confident the new editor will be easier to learn and more reliable to use. We also have a large majority of customers who do not use the 'Edit in Word' functionality.
Please Note: We are referring to the "Edit Page in Word" functionally - not the "Edit Attachment in Word" functionality. Editing attachments in Word will still work fine, i.e. launching Word to edit Word documents that are stored in Confluence.
In Confluence 4.0, will you be able to merge and split table cells?
Yes, you will be able to merge and split table cells. This is a brand new feature in Confluence 4.0.
When will the new editor appear in Confluence?
The new editor is in Confluence 4.0 and later.
What does the new editor look like?
Will Confluence still have a wiki markup editor?
No. The vision is incorporating the best parts of the wiki markup editor into the new editor to provide the best of both worlds.
What format will Confluence use to store its page content?
A new XHTML-based storage format. Up to now, Confluence has stored its content in the database as wiki markup. In Confluence 4.0 and later, the content will be stored as XML, with a significant proportion of XHTML-based elements.
We refer to the Confluence storage format as 'XHTML-based'. To be correct, we should call it XML, because the Confluence storage format does not comply with the XHTML definition. In particular, Confluence includes custom elements for macros and more. We're using the term 'XHTML-based' to indicate that there is a large proportion of HTML in the storage format.
Will you be able to edit the source XML code directly?
Confluence 4.0 will not have an edit source mode by default. More sophisticated macro placeholders, images and link handling in Confluence 4.0 entail a lot of custom XML which make the new storage format much more complex than standard HTML. Editing this storage format by hand could result in corrupt content and the loss of page data. Source editing will still be editable via the APIs and the WebDAV client. There is also a Confluence Source Editor plugin which allows users to edit the storage format of the page. (You need Confluence 4.1.5 or later to use the plugin.)
Will there be a tool to convert existing content from wiki markup to the new format?
Yes. Where possible, Confluence will automatically upgrade existing content into the new storage format. There will be some API changes (we are trying to keep these to a minimum) and we will provide mechanisms to convert wiki markup to the new storage format.
Will there be any API changes?
Yes. There will be some API changes (we are trying to keep these to a minimum) and we will provide mechanisms to convert wiki markup to the new storage format.
How many Confluence 3.x releases will you have before 4.0?
There will be no more 3.x releases before 4.0. Confluence 3.5 is our last 3.x release.
Will the remote XML-RPC API still work in Confluence 4.0?
We currently plan to keep the existing XML-RPC API but only allow write access which will automatically convert wiki markup to the new XML storage format. This will allow you to create new pages or update existing pages as usual. We can't allow read access, however, because we can only return XML, which will break the existing APIs contract of returning wiki markup. To cover those use cases and to have a fully XML capable API, we will introduce a new API available through a separate URL which will also have a new method to migrate wiki markup to the new storage format.
Developers should read Preparing for Confluence 4.0 to learn more about API changes.
Will the new editor be included in JIRA?
At the moment we don't have any plans to do this. However, we are open to this idea and would welcome any customer feedback in this area.
Does the SharePoint Connector support Confluence 4.0?
The SharePoint Connector 1.5 is compatible with Confluence 4.x.