Archive for the ‘Wiki’ Category

Cool Tools 9: Atlassian Confluence

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I started the Cool Tools feature 3 years ago at Function1, and I’m sorry to say, I’ve listed everything you could possibly ever need now or in the future of WebCenter consulting, portal development, or portlet hacking.

HA! Truth is, while I’ve already done one lap around the “software utility” track, there are LOTs of Cool Tools out there – some directly related to portal development, debugging, or maintenance, and some more broadly defined.

In fact, I wouldn’t really consider today’s “Cool Tool” a “tool” at all – it’s a full-fledged application, and it’s likely to give the WebCenter stack a run for its money in the long term.

Allow me to introduce Atlassian’s Confluence – one of the web’s best Wiki platforms out there. We’ve been working with this application a lot lately, and have been very impressed with it. It’s a powerful wiki platform, has a robust third-party support and development network, is dramatically less expensive than Oracle products, and provides many of the features some clients bought the Plumtree portal for. (Does it surprise you to know that a bunch of the old Plumtree team ended up there?)

When ALUI Publisher was released, BEA occasionally said it would be the blog and wiki platform that customers had been waiting for (it wasn’t). Then, we started hearing that the ill-fated product called Pages was the REAL blog and wiki platform (it wasn’t). 2009 brought us some more “WCI Sample Portlets available for the Wiki/Blog/Discussions functionality” (meh, didn’t really work). This year the message clients have been hearing “it’s all about WebCenter Spaces”. Honestly, while we may or may not see the fabled 11g version of WebCenter Interaction, Spaces does look very intriguing. In my opinion, though, it’s still not as rich as the much more mature – some would say over-the-hill – WCI portal is now. And it certainly is not the right application for all WCI customers.

So, friends, until I see Oracle deliver the great, mythical, elusive Enterprise Wiki we’ve been hearing about for years, consider me firmly in the Atlassian camp on this one – the stability, ease of use, price-point, and sizable third-party ecosystem are first-rate! Don’t take my word for it – try it out yourself for ten bucks.

Stay tuned for many more tips and follow-up posts on Confluence and other third-party products that can work alongside your existing portal implementations – and some posts on where Confluence falls short of a “full Portal Replacement”. Until then, feast your eyes on… THIS:

OK I’m not going to lie to you, unlike most Cool Tools, it’s not easy to find a screen shot that embodies all of what a great wiki product Confluence is.  At least it’s not as hard as taking a picture of the wind