Documentation for Confluence 5.4.
Documentation for Confluence OnDemand and earlier versions of Confluence is available too.

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3 June 2011

With great pleasure, Atlassian presents our first public milestone of Confluence 4.0.


An Early Access Preview (EAP) release is a snapshot of our work in progress, primarily focused on allowing Confluence users to see the new features in advance and provide us with some useful feedback. It also gives plugin developers an opportunity to test and fix their plugins in advance of an official release.

Highlights of Confluence 4.0 EAP:

More:

Downloading the Confluence 4.0 EAP

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The Confluence 4.0-m27 EAP Release is available here. When upgrading, please follow the upgrade notes below.

Do not use in production

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  • EAP releases are not safe — EAP releases are snapshots of the ongoing Confluence development process. As such:
    • While we try to keep these releases stable, they have not undergone the same degree of testing as a full release.
    • Features in development releases may be incomplete, or may change or be removed before the next full release.
  • No upgrade path — Because EAP releases represent work in progress, we can not provide a supported upgrade path between EAP releases, or from any EAP to the eventual final release. Thus, any data you store in a Confluence EAP release may not be able to be migrated to a future Confluence release.

Highlights of Confluence 4.0

 

Simplified Editing Experience

We've rebuilt the Confluence editor from the ground up, to bring you an editing experience that's simpler, faster and more intuitive.

         

  • Just one editor!
  • Left, Centre, Right align, without any macros.
  • Indent paragraph blocks and lists from the toolbar.
  • New Colour Picker.
  • The user interface has been streamlined.

 

Introducing Macro Placeholders and New Macros

Confluence 4.0 introduces macro placeholders, a visual representation of your macros while editing. Create rich content with existing and new macros, but without them getting in the way.

Easy Macro Management

To make macros easier to manage when editing, the editor now uses macro placeholders. Placeholders offer the following advantages:

  • Quick access to macro editing
    Edit the content of a macro directly in the editor, or double-click the placeholder to open the Macro Browser for parameter editing.
  • Macro placeholder properties panel
    Every macro placeholder has a properties panel. The properties panels for particular macros, such as the Status and View File macros, have additional functionality, as described below.

New and Improved Macros

We've bundled more macros with Confluence, and made some of the existing macros better, to help you easily include and present relevant content:

  • New: Status Macro
    The Status macro displays a coloured lozenge in the editor, so you can see the status directly. You can use the properties panel to change the status while editing, without having to use the Macro Browser.
  • New: Expand Macro
    The Expand macro allows you to add a dynamically expandable section of text to your page.
  • Improved: Include Page Macro
    The properties panel for the Include Page macro has a 'Go to included page' button that allows you to quickly check the page you have included, while still in the editor.
  • Improved: JIRA Issues Macro
    You can quickly open up the JIRA issue or filter, right from the editor, using the new 'View in JIRA' button in the properties panel.
  • Improved: View File Macro
    The placeholder for the View File macro displays an image according to the file type (for example PDF or Word file). And you can easily download the file while you are editing the page, using the new 'Download file' button in the properties panel.

 

Autoformatting – Write Wiki Markup In the Editor

Many of Confluence's biggest fans are avid wiki markup users. For you aficionados, we wanted to give you the fastest editing experience possible, while preserving the speed and efficiency of your existing wiki markup skills. So, we present you with Autoformatting!

Autoformatting lets you type wiki markup into the editor and "auto-formats" your text on the fly. To learn more, click on the "?" help button in the editor and select the "Wiki Markup" tab.

Try these and see what you think:

  • Font Formatting
    Bold, underline, strikethough, italic, superscript, subscript – just type the markup, such as *Bold*, and watch it convert to Bold on the fly!
  • Basic Tables
    Try typing |||||| , or || Heading 1 || Heading 2 || , then hit enter to get a table header like this:

    Heading 1

    Heading 2

  • Emoticons
    All of our emoticons convert on the fly. Try typing (/) in the editor to instantly see this: (tick) .
  • Lists
    For numbered lists, type # and a space at the start of each line.
    For bulleted lists, type * and a space at the start of each line.
  • Headings
    Type h4. then some heading text to see a level 4 heading.

 

New Wiki Markup Dialog

Many people tell us they like to take notes in wiki markup, then paste them into Confluence. We've also spoken to customers who have lots of scripts that produce wiki markup and are manually inserted into pages. For these folks, we present the Wiki Markup dialog. Simply select 'Wiki Markup' from the 'Insert' menu to launch the Wiki Markup dialog. From there you can insert any wiki markup, even macros.

 

Autocomplete Improvements

Autocomplete uses wiki markup syntax to quickly link to content, embed images and other media and insert macros into the page. If you haven't experienced autocomplete, you should see this blog post. Be sure to try the following:

Quickly insert a link to create a page with Autocomplete for links. Simply type '[' in the editor and as you type, Confluence will display a Create Page link if a page with that title does not already exist in your current space.

Instant Link, Media and Macro Creation

Type [, ! or { in the editor to add various kinds of content to your page:

  • The first item in the list is pre-selected to make editing even faster.
  • The macro autocomplete list now loads much faster.
  • The macro autocomplete list now inserts most macros directly, without launching the Macro Browser, unless the macro requires a parameter.

 

Introducing Confluence Mentions

Confluence 4.0 includes the new Mentions feature. This allows you to easily bring in collaborators to a conversation: if you are mentioned in any Confluence content (a page, blog, comment or status update), you will be notified by email.

To mention someone, type @ and their name, when editing. Mentions will first suggest people you are following in your network, so you can quickly find and involve your friends.

 

Improved Table Operations

We've made table operations better in Confluence 4.0 with the following features:

New In-Context Table Toolbar

The new table toolbar removes the need for a context menu and only appears when you add a table to the page.

New Table Operations

New table manipulation buttons are available for highlighting discrete cells, rows or columns and for copying or pasting rows.

Merge and Split Table Cells

You can now merge and split cells in a table. This feature satisfies the single most popular issue on our issue tracker!

 

Improved Page Comparison Functionality

We've got a better way to view changed content in Confluence.

Improved Page Diffs

We've simplified page diffs to make them easier to read. Additionally, page diffs now show changes to both formatting and macros.

Diffs in Email

Where possible, email notifications now show page differences as they appear in Confluence. These come through with the diff colour coding.

 

New Email Design

All email notifications in Confluence now have a new design. This works in major email clients as well as on the iPhone.

 

New Editor Plugin Points for Developers

We've added more editor plugin points for developers. Notable improvements include:

Extend the Macro Property Panel

Plugin developers can add buttons to the Macro Property Panel in the editor.
For example, insert a Gliffy diagram or see the tutorial on how to do this.

Render an Image in the Macro Placeholder

A plugin developer can render an image instead of a placeholder for bodyless macros. Here is an example, showing a Gliffy image rendered inside the editor:

For more information, check out the tutorial on how to do this.

Custom Parameter Rendering in Placeholders

You can choose to display any parameter in the macro placeholder in the editor, instead of having the placeholder automatically show the first few parameters.

New Pluggable Format Menu

Plugin developers can add items to the editor's Format menu. See this tutorial for details.

 

Other Improvements

As always, we have made various small improvements to Confluence screens and functionality.

  • Administrator's task list in the Admin Console
    This new task list in the Admin Console helps administrators get started after a new install.
  • New keyboard shortcuts:
    • CMD+S to save a page from the change comment field.
    • CMD+SHIFT+e to preview when you are in the editor; hit 'e' to get back to the editor.
    • CMD+SHIFT+d to display the Wiki Markup dialog.
  • Better Image Handling
    In the Insert Image dialog, we've introduced the Search tab so you can insert images from other pages. And all images now embed as clickable thumbnails.
  • Option to disable the "secure" cookie
    When using HTTPS, you can disable the "secure" cookie, just for the login page.
  • Help tips in the administration screens
    The help tips have been moved into the field descriptions.
  • Backup and Restore page
    The Backup and Restore page has been redesigned.
  • 404 page
    The 404 page now has a dashboard breadcrumb.

 

Infrastructure Changes

This release includes a number of improvements in the APIs and under the covers as well.

  • Support for Chrome
    We now offer support for Chrome in Confluence 4.0. See the upgrade notes for more information about browser support.
  • API Changes
    We have disabled the getPage() and getBlogEntry() read methods in the XML-RPC/SOAP API. If you have a script that primarily reads or appends to existing pages, it will break. Creating pages and overwriting existing pages will still work.
  • Upgrade to AUI 3.4
    Confluence 4.0 uses AUI 3.4.
  • Anti-XSS Mode
    Anti-XXS mode is now enabled by default for plugins.
  • Mail Page Plugin
    The Mail Page plugin is no longer bundled in Confluence.
  • Alignment and Border Parameters
    The alignment and border properties in the macro definition template have been removed.

 

Helping You Transition to Confluence 4.0

We've created a set of resources to help you manage the transition away from wiki markup. We know your people have become experts with using wiki markup in Confluence, but we think you'll really appreciate the new editor, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to make the change. The change management resources are listed under the current documentation.

 

We Welcome Your Feedback

To make it easy for you to provide EAP feedback we've created a simple "Got Feedback" button in the Confluence navigation bar:
Let the Confluence team know what you think of the EAP by providing feedback!

Upgrade Notes

  • Upgrading from a previous version of Confluence. Follow the normal upgrade instructions to upgrade your test instance to this release. We strongly recommend that you back up your Confluence Home directory and your database before upgrading.
  • When upgrading from a previous version of Confluence, if you have customised your cache settings (as documented in Cache Performance Tuning) then you may run into memory problems during the wiki to XHTML migration. We are working to fix this in a later milestone release but in the meantime you can revert your ehcache.xml to the default version.
    • If you still experience problems you should try reducing the 'maxElementsInMemory' attribute on each cache to a very small value such as 50.
    • Note that any cache changes you make to work around migration problems should only be considered temporary. You should restore caching to it's original settings again after migration has been successful.
  • Note that the 'Edit Page in Word' functionality of Confluence is being removed in Confluence 4.0.



A big thank you to everyone who helps us ensure that Confluence keeps getting better and better.

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11 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I have found the InstantEdit option.. but I don't know how it works? Like etherpad?

    1. Please ignore this option, it will be removed in a later milestone (doesn't do anything).

  2. Anonymous

    i hope we can add a plugin which will enable us to link the title of the document to a JIRA Summary Field. This will speed up the effort to make our release notes more aligned with JIRA items

  3. Anonymous

    Removing the ability to edit ALL of the contents of an existing page directly via wiki markup is a mistake.  The dialog add-on just isn't enough.  Many people use their browsers to spawn text editors such as vim to update textareas within wiki pages. It is an extremely powerful and feature rich way to edit existing wiki pages containing large data sets, tables, sql statements, code snippets etc.  Removing this functionality would be a HUGE loss to editing productivity.  Please reconsider.

    1. Anonymous

      I agree, removing wiki markup editing would be a huge loss. It should be possible to render the same page in wiki markup even in the new editor so people can make specific edits quickly. I also like the ability of editing documents offline in wiki markup and then just paste the whole thing back. In the new editor there is no way for me to take the existing page back into wiki markup syntax.

      1. The move to an XHTML based storage format is a one-way transformation, so unfortunately you will be unable to view any wiki-markup of a page. The reason for this is that it is not possible to represent all of the constructs of the XHTML storage format in wiki-markup.

        It is still possible to create a page in wiki-markup in a text editor offline and paste that into the new RTE, by using the Insert Wiki Markup dialog functionality which will transform the wiki-markup into its rich text representation.

        Personally I find the new editor a lot easier and a lot quicker to use for creating and editing documents (autocomplete, autoformat, copy/paste images etc). After using the editor for such a long time stepping back to the Confluence 3.x editor only reinforces this - just my opinion (smile)

    2. Anonymous

      I also agree; there's nothing that can beat the flexibility and speed of plain text editing. How would one do the following, for example, purely from the keyboard:

      • type a three word sentence
      • decide to bold the first word by putting asterisks around it
      • decide to bold also the following two words
      • decide to un-bold the middle word

      In wiki markup, this is a simple process of moving asterisks around.

      1. Hi,

        We have shortcuts in the editor along a similar vein as MS Word - so CTRL + B will bold / unbold a word.

        Following this, we also have wiki-auto-formatting, which allows a user to type wiki-markup into the editor and have it dynamically transformed to the rich-text equivalent; so typing *some text* will result in some text.

        Hope that helps, we were all big wiki-markup fans at Atlassian and are still efficiency-freaks, it is important to us not to be slowed down when editing / creating content by having to reach for the mouse - everything should be able to be done from the keyboard.

        The other bonus from the wiki-auto-formatting is that if you have already invested time in training your users to use the wiki-markup syntax, you will be able to transfer these skills over to the new editor.

        We at Atlassian are quite happy with the progress the editor is making, and going back to wiki-markup and the Confluence 3.x editor really feels like a step backwards now. I encourage you to download the EAP and give it a try.

        Cheers,

        Ryan Thomas

  4. Anonymous

    Is there anything planned regarding native support for multilanguage spaces/pages.

    * linking pages as translations

    * marking translations to be maintained because one of the pages change

    * report missing translations

  5. Hello everyone, quick question - thanks in advance!:

    Will the "User Macros" allow the "$content.getContent()" velocity call for a page content?

    Thanks!

    Eddie

    1. Hi Eddie,

      The ContentEntityObject.getContent() and .setContent(String) methods have been removed and replaced with .getBodyAsString() and .setBodyAsString(String) respectively.

      This does however mean that the content returned here will be in the XHTML storage format.

      Hope that help,

      ryan