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18 August 2011

With great pleasure, Atlassian presents Confluence 4.0, Beta 2.


Confluence 4.0 Beta 1 was an internal release. This beta release is a snapshot of our work in progress, primarily focused on allowing Confluence users to see the new features in advance. This also provides Atlassian with useful feedback. Beta releases also give plugin developers an opportunity to test and fix their plugins in advance of an official release.

Highlights of Confluence 4.0 Beta 2:

More:

Downloading the Confluence 4.0 Beta

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The Confluence 4.0 Beta release is available here. When upgrading, please follow the Upgrade Notes below.

Got Questions? Want to learn more?
We have a lot of resources available for Administrators, Plugin Developers and End Users to help you transition to Confluence 4.0. Checkout our Planning for Confluence 4.0 page for resources.

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

 

Brand New Editor

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

The new Confluence editor delivers many advantages:

  • Just one editor!
  • Align left, centre or right, without using macros.
  • Indent paragraph blocks and lists from the toolbar.
  • A new colour picker.
  • A New, streamlined user interface.

 

Simplified Editing Experience

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

Simplified Macro Editing

Makes macros easier to manage when editing.

  • A more visual experience
    Making it easier to visualise what the page will look like when you publish it.
  • Macro properties panel
    Every macro has a properties panel. The property panels for particular macros, such as the Status and View File macros have additional functionality, described below.
  • Quick access to macro editing
    Double-click the macro to open the Macro Browser for parameter editing. Contents of some macros can be modified directly from the editor.

Improved Image Handling

  • Paste Images From Clipboard (Firefox and Chrome only)
    Just copy any image to your clipboard and hit CTRL-V in the editor. The image will get attached and embedded directly into your page. There's nothing to install on your desktop, it just works!
  • Turn Images into Links
    Now you can turn images into links. This is especially handy for turning images into a button like the Atlassian Documentation team is known to do. Previously, this was only available in wiki markup but can now be done in the shiny new Confluence 4.0 editor via the properties panel. We're still working on the link icon.
  • New Default Image Sizes
    We've received a lot of feedback indicating that there isn't much difference between the preset image sizes. So, we've tweaked the sizes so that you can choose from a wider range of options. The small option remains the same at 100 pixels, medium has increased slightly to 300 pixels and large has changed to 500 pixels.
  • Custom image sizes
    If you don't like the preset image sizes, you can now specify an exact image width.
  • Search Images
    You can now embed and search images through a new "Search" tab in the image browser. Previously, this could only be done through Autocomplete (!).

Advanced Table Editing

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

  • Drag to Insert Tables
    Inserting tables is now easier and truly "WYSIWYG" with this new feature. Just click on the New Table dropdown and drag your mouse to choose the number of rows and columns you'd like in your new table. Oh, and don't worry if you like inserting tables with your keyboard, you can still use autoformatting or CTRL+SHIFT+I to insert a table.
  • 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.
  • Merge and Split Table Cells.
  • Highlight cells, rows or columns.
  • Cut, copy and paste table rows.

 

New 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:

  • 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.
  • Expand Macro
    The Expand macro allows you to add a dynamically expandable section of text to your page.
  • Profile Picture Macro
    The Profile Picture macro displays a users profile picture on a page. Useful for creating Team Pages.

 

Faster Editing Experience

Write Wiki Markup ... Fast!

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 this new feature will "auto-format" 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 to instantly see 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.

Instant Links, Media and Macros

Introduced in a previous release of Confluence (see details in this blog post), adding links, media and macros can be quickly added by typing [, ! or { in the editor to add various kinds of content to your page. There's also some small improvements added onto previous autocomplete functionality:

  • The first item in the list is pre-selected to make editing 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.
  • New Page Links
    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.

 

Introducing @mentions

Confluence 4.0 includes the new @mentions feature. This allows you to easily bring collaborators into 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 instantly suggest people you are following in your network, so you can quickly find and involve your friends.

 

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 exactly as they appear in Confluence. These are now rendered in your email view with the correct diff colour coding.

 

Email Notification Improvements

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.

Follow Notifications

Confluence now sends email when someone follows you.


 

New Confluence Installer and Guided Upgrades

Much to the delight of any sysadmins that are installing any new instances of Confluence, the Windows (.exe) and Linux (.bin) guided installers are now available.

Simplified Installation Process

  • Guided installer: The guided install wizard has been implemented for Confluence 4.0 on both Windows and Linux operating systems. Installing a new instance is a breeze.
  • Windows UAC support: You will be prompted for elevated privileges in order to permit the full array of install options. 
  • New instance vs Upgrade selection: You can choose to install a new instance or upgrade an existing instance.
  • Install & Home directory selection: Default folders are provided depending on the user being an admin/root or standard user (based on respective OS write permissions). 
  • Port selection: Choose your ports during the guided install process. Also, the ports in Confluence have changed! Take note: The default running port is now 8090 with the control port at 8009.
  • Install as a service: Assuming you have elevated privileges, you have the option on both Windows and Linux to install Confluence as a service. This is practical for production instances.
  • Evaluation license generation: As a recap, we added a simplified workflow in Confluence 3.5 to assist in generating licenses for evaluators.

Easy JIRA Integration

  • Setup wizard process improvements: Hook Confluence up with JIRA, right within the in-application setup wizard.

New Guided Upgrades

The new Linux and Windows Installers from our EAP release now include an option that allows you to upgrade an existing Confluence 3.5.x or later installation. This upgrade automates the following tasks for you:

  1. Backs up the Installation and Home Directories of the existing Confluence installation to be upgraded,
  2. Installs Confluence 4.0.xwhilst migrating the following from your existing Confluence installation to the new installation: 
    • TCP port values in your existing Confluence installation's server.xml file,
    • The upgrade feature detects and notifies you of any other files in the confluence subdirectory of your existing Confluence Installation Directory, which had been deleted, added or modified from a 'default' Confluence installation. This informs you of any customisations you will need to migrate manually over to your upgraded Confluence installation directory.

 

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 now render an image instead of a placeholder for bodyless macros. 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.

View Storage Format

To assist with plugin developers and help with developer issues, developers running in Dev mode and Confluence administrators can view the page storage format form the "Tools" menu in Confluence.

New 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.

Plugin Developer Resources

We have created a landing page for Confluence 4.0 planning. This includes resources for plugin developers to help you create new plugins and make use of the new plugin points available as well as upgrade your existing plugins.

Infrastructure Changes

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

  • Anti-XSS Mode
    Anti-XXS mode is now enabled by default for plugins.
  • Alignment and Border Parameters
    The alignment and border properties in the macro definition template have been removed.
  • Thumbnail Settings
    The 'Thumbnail maximum height' and 'Thumbnail maximum width' settings have been removed from the General Configuration page.
  • Link Browser
    The Link browser is no longer built in GWT and is now built in core JavaScript.
  • Integration Platform 2.12.0
  • Upgrade to AUI 3.5.0
 

Other Improvements

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

  • Microsoft Office 2010 support
    The Office Connector now supports Microsoft Office 2010.
  • Chrome and Internet Explorer 9 Support
    See the upgrade notes for more information about browser support.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Quicknav Improvements
    Quicknav now indicates the space the page is coming from. This helps you find a page that might have the same title across multiple spaces, as well as selecting the first search result by default, making it quicker to open the link.
  • New Emoticons
    Confluence 4.0 comes with a shiny new set of emoticons.
  • Remember Last Tab
    Some of the feedback you gave us:
    "...I find it frustrating that "add a web link" is an extra click away after I open the link dialog. I use that at least as often as I link to another Confluence page..."
    We've taken some of the pain out of this process, by having the link browser remember the last tab you clicked. So if always use web links, it will always open to the web links tab for you. We're investigating taking this a step further, by allowing users to insert a web link from the "search tab as well."
  • Advanced Linking
    We've updated the Link dialog to cater for these link types: shortcut links, anchor Links, and undefined links (which you can do via Autocomplete).
    To round out this improvement, we've implemented an "Advanced" tab in the Links Dialog. This basically covers the "remaining link types" that were available in Wiki Markup.
  • Improved Conflict Merging
    Make this one sentence: Now if you're editing a page at the same time as someone else, Confluence will intelligently merge your changes with the other person's change when you save. This means you'll be seeing the "another user has made changes to this page since you started editing" warning a lot less often. In the cases where Confluence cannot merge the changes, it will show the diffs and prompt you to either overwrite or discard your changes. We've also made merging table conflicts much more reliable.

 

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.

Support for Macros that are not yet Confluence 4.0 Compatible
You can upgrade to Confluence 4.0 with macros that are not yet 4.0 compatible. If you upgrade and a macro is not yet 4.0 compatible, wiki markup will be maintained for that macro. Once these plugins are 4.0 compatible, an administrator will receive a new task in the administration console to run an update. We will have some more information on this shortly.

Copy and Paste Wiki Markup

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 Insert 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.

"View Source" for the new editor

Some of you might be thinking, "what about the view wiki markup?". A lot of people used the View Wiki Markup option to see how pages were made and to copy the underlying markup. We've implemented "view source" (accessible from the Tools menu) so that you can see what macros were used to create the selected page and copy them to your own page.


 

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 release, but in the meantime you can revert your ehcache.xml to the default version.

  • If you still experience problems, 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.

Removed Functionality

Features removed from Confluence
  • The Edit Page in Word functionality
    This is being removed in Confluence 4.0. Note: This is a different feature to "Edit attachment in Word".
  • Mail Page Plugin
    The Mail Page plugin is no longer bundled in Confluence. With the introduction of the "Share Page" feature in 3.5 this is no longer needed.
  • Social Bookmarking Plugin
    The Social Bookmarking plugin is no longer bundled in Confluence but is still supported.
  • The SnipSnap importer has been removed from the admin console.
Settings removed from Confluence
  • The CamelCase Links setting, from general configuration.
  • The Number of Ancestors to Show in Breadcrumbs setting.


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

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19 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    While it looks good with all the new Editor features.
    I don't in particular like if you overall cut away the complete raw WIKI editor, and it sounds like that is the plan.

    In my personal experience it helps me focus on the content over the layout when editing pages, and i have never used the WYSIWYG at all.

    So I would appreciate if you kept the option to edit "source" instead of "WYSIWYG"... Then maybe give people the option to push it away but get it back through user profile or something, I can't see why at all it would be any harm to keep the option...

  2. Anonymous

    > So I would appreciate if you kept the option to edit "source" instead of "WYSIWYG"... Then maybe give people the option to push it away
    > but get it back through user profile or something, I can't see why at all it would be any harm to keep the option..

    I would prefer this option too!!

  3. Anonymous

    Why is getPage() disabled in the API? Any alternatives? Will it be back in the final release?

  4. Why is getPage() disabled in the API?
    Will it be back in the final release?

    Are there another 'new' way to pull content from Confluence into other systems?

    1. Hi Thomas.

      With Confluence 4 we are introducing a version 2 API. The version 2 API will allow you to do everything that you can do with the version 1 API, but it will use the new XHTML based storage format instead of wiki markup. At the same time we are disabling methods in the version 1 API that previously returned wiki markup. In other words if you want to use the getPage() method you will need to use the new version 2 API. 

      If you are using XML-RPC you can get use the version2 API by prefixing the method name with "confluence2" e.g. "confluence2.getPage". If you are using soap you can find the new WSDL at <server-url>/rpc/soap-axis/confluenceservice-v2?wsdl

      1. getPage removal is a major problem. I understand no wiki markup content is available anymore, but can't you just return XHTML as the content instead? As long as get/put content is the same format it will be largely compatible. Also, there are other fields available with getPage not otherwise available even with the V2 level API. From your comment, it sounds more like there is something equivalent in V2, but I am not seeing anything. Is there any doc that you can point to? The only thing new I see in V2 is getPageSummary which only has a few fields.

        1. Hi Bob,

          If you use getPage from the V2 API it should give you the page as XHTML. We have deliberately disabled the method in the V1 API so that people will be aware they that they need to update their clients to handle XHTML instead of wiki markup.

          Unfortunately the documentation for the V2 API is not available yet, however you should find the V2 API almost identical to the V1 API, except that it uses XHTML instead of wiki markup.

          Also, there are other fields available with getPage not otherwise available even with the V2 level API.

          I'm not quite sure what you mean by this? The V2 API should return a response that is the same as the V1 API, except that the page content will be XHTML. Have you tried the V2 API and found something missing that was in the V1 API? Please let me know if this is the case.

          1. Nevermind, I goofed. I changed the wsdl but not the service address. I would have preferred you left it and just changed the behavior (sad). Now it is hard to support access to multiple versions with the same code.

            However, I still need storePage and updatePage to accept wiki text (as well as XHTML) and do the right thing on the page. This appears not to be the case (sad).

            1. Hi Bob,

              There are two things you can do:

              1) You can use the V1 API to when you need to use wiki markup, and the V2 API when you need to use XHTML.

              2) If you don't want to use 2 different API versions then there is a new method we have added called convertWikiToStorageFormat that you can use to convert wiki markup to XHTML.

              1. 2) works nicely. I had hacked up my own, but it just had everything as unmigrated wiki markup. Things looking better now.

      2. Thanks a lot. Much clearer now. 

  5. Anonymous

    For the "No Production Use" disclaimer, is there really no mechanism to export the data to an intermediary format when a new release becomes available (or is this the standard legalese)? We're evaluating for a new installation, so it seems inefficient to expend resources/effort on a version that will be imminently superseded. 

    Many thanks,

    Jason

    1. Hey Jason,

      All versions of Confluence support an import and export of data in an XML format, as well as database backup & restore options.

      We have the "no production use" disclaimer here because we do not test data upgrade between non-final release versions (ie. we will verify that a data upgrade works correctly from 3.5 -> 4.0, but not from 4.0-EAP1 -> 4.0).  We also reserve the right to make changes in the data storage format in EAP or Beta release version, without providing an upgrade path for the format change.

      The most recent "production-ready" version of Confluence is 3.5.11, if you are concerned about being able to upgrade the data in your evaluation system to a newer version of Confluence.

       

  6. Since Google Gears will no longer be available as of December 2012, what's Atlassian's vision on the drag and drop feature?

    1. Support for HTML5 drag and drop was added in Confluence 3.5. See Confluence 3.5 Release Notes.

      This will only work in browsers which support HTML5-based drag-and-drop. Users with other browsers will not be able to use drag and drop.

  7. What's the equivalent wiki syntax for the profile picture macro?  I'd like to include it in a Wiki Markup block (arising from SQL plugin).

    1. It looks like it's not possible to insert the new profile picture macro into a wiki markup block, as the macro is only provided with an XHTML-compatible definition (the source code is here).

       

       

  8. Is it possible to @mention Confluence groups?