Confluence Tutorial For Beginners 

Overview of Confluence

In the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), every piece of information related to building an application at any stage is very crucial. Losing out on some part of critical information can lead developers and testers to rework or modify the app requirements as specified. For building best-performing applications, there is a need to have a clear understanding and good coordination among all the teams working on the project.

If there is any miscommunication in any stage of the SDLC, it may cause the final product to differ from the desired one in terms of requirements.  All the essential information may not be available in a single platform which may leave some people to miss out on some information.

To solve this problem, it is essential to have a single platform for updates and messaging so that everyone who is working on a project can have the same understanding throughout all the phases (like project management, content management, etc) of the Software Development Life Cycle. 

Introduction to Confluence

To avoid any miscommunication and promote a good and clear understanding among all people working in different stages of the SDLC, a collaboration tool is needed which can serve the purpose of providing a platform for all to get connected, share information, get updates, communicate with each other, etc. A software company, Atlassian, came up with an application called Confluence that can serve all the above purposes.

 Confluence is basically a team collaboration application or software that gives a platform for all teams working on a project to work together and share updates & information effectively. This can reduce a lot of communication gap on various matters related to the SDLC.

It helps all departments/ teams to organize, share, and discuss their work. Confluence is a one-stop solution to have all content or information accessible to everyone, share important information & data, post updates and communicate with others.

The Confluence software is available in two types. 

  1. Subscription-based: This type of tool is hosted on the Cloud and available on a subscription basis. There will be a fee charged to buy and renew a subscription plan.
  2. Self-hosted: This type of tool is hosted in in-house servers or Confluence Data Centers.

Getting familiar with the use of Confluence

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Some important aspects & features of Confluence are discussed below

Dashboard: When a user logs in to Confluence, the dashboard is the first thing they see. It shows all the updates from other teams and the updates carried out by the user. It also shows Spaces that the user is a member of.  

dashboard

Spaces: When we use Confluence, we need to have channels for each team or project to have a smooth flow of work. These channels are called Spaces. In other words, Spaces can be defined as containers that hold important stuff that teams or groups need. For every project, a dedicated space can be created and used to share & organize work efficiently.

If Space’s status is public,  it can be accessed by all Confluence users but can be restricted to some groups of users. If Space’s status is private, only intended users can access it as defined by the creator of the space. It is regarded as a personal space and it is not listed in the Space directory but the public spaces are listed in the Space directory.

 All types of content can be shared through Spaces like videos, links, documents, etc. It helps users to have a channelized workflow, thereby, making them more productive and less tired. 

confluence

There is no set limit for creating a number of Spaces. Any user can create multiple Spaces as and when required. When users log in the Confluence application, they see the Dashboard. The Dashboard contains various Spaces which can be used for any purpose like sharing information, channelizing the workflow, and collaborating with other team members as shown in the above figure. 

Spaces contain Pages that have various types of content or information. The Space directory has a list of Spaces available and created by Confluence. The Spaces that are created by a user are visible to him/ her irrespective of the type of Spaces (both Personal or Public Spaces are visible to their creator).

Creating a Space: To create a new Space, a user has to go to the Space dropdown menu and select “Create space” then select “Team space” After this, the user can create a new team space.

Pages: Pages can be seen inside a Space. Pages contain information related to the teamwork, project plans, project requirements, blog posts, etc which we store on them after creating them. Users can store or keep their essential information on Pages and access it when needed.

Confluence offers a lot of flexibility in terms of creating and maintaining Pages. Users need to familiarize themselves with the features of  Pages to get maximum benefits by utilizing all features as per their needs. They can keep track of their reports, outlines of their plans, to-do lists, etc. 

Creating a Page: To create a new Page in a Space, a user has to click the “Create” button >Select a space for the page > Select the “Meeting notes” template shown.

Meeting notes template is just used as an example but the user can create any page as per their needs as there are various other templates available.

Comparison of JIRA and Confluence

Both JIRA and Confluence are created and developed by Atlassian Corp. and they are used as team-collaboration tools for project management & issue tracking. There are some aspects listed below in the comparison of both tools.

        JIRA Confluence
JIRA is a highly customizable project management tool that allows teams to manage and fix issues throughout the SDLC so it is widely used in software development projects to track various developments happening.  A confluence is a collaboration tool that can be used to store, create, and organize information or content of the workflow.
Active Directory integration is available. Active Directory integration is unavailable.
Activity tracking on the Dashboard is supported. Activity tracking on the Dashboard is supported.
Application integration is supported. It does not support Application integration.
Assignment management is supported. Assignment management is not supported.
Content & Project management is not supported. Content & Project management is supported.
Document management is not supported. Document management is supported.
It supports dynamic workflow. It does not support dynamic workflow.
It does not support project planning. It supports project planning.
It supports third-party integration. It supports third-party integration.

Advantages of Confluence

  • Content management: We can create, store, and share content by using Confluence. It has easy-to-use content creation tools that have various features including basic texting, creating tables and linking documents.
  • Wiki search: Confluence users can search for keywords to find any matching words from the main content of text or comments.
  • Pre-formatted templates: It is a good thing that users can create different templates for different projects or uses in the Confluence tool.
  • Integration with JIRA: As both Confluence and JIRA are developed by the same Australian organization, Atlassian, they both can be integrated with each other to get maximum benefits.
  • User management: It is possible for users to grant permissions like to add or modify Spaces like editing, viewing, etc.
  • Add-ons and plugins: Confluence has an option of add-ons and plugins that can be installed to enhance and fasten the workflow.