New collaboration features coming to Confluence and HipChat

This year’s Atlassian Summit 2014 in San Jose, US, included some exciting announcements about new features in Confluence and Hip Chat coming in late 2014 and 2015. I was there this year to talk about the business value of using Confluence Cloud, which gave me the opportunity to hear first hand about Atlassian’s collaboration roadmap.

Collaboration in context with Confluence

Confluence roadmap 2014 and 2015

Confluence features coming soon and in 2015.

The theme for the major feature releases for Confluence this year focused on supporting collaboration in context. This includes some ground breaking features for how users collaborate around pages and files:

Confluence real-time editing

Demonstration of real-time editing in Confluence, with two users simultaneously updating rows in a tables.

  • In-line comments – users will have the ability to provide feedback or ask questions about specific points on a wiki page.
  • File annotations – as attachment previews are based on HTML5, in-line commenting will also be extended to files.
  • Better notifications – In-page notifications about page changes and comments will also be improved, including the ability to resolve comments.
  • Real-time editing – This is the big news from the Summit! Through the acquisition of Wikidocs, Atlassian plans to bring real-time collaborative editing to Confluence in 2015. An interesting difference between Google Docs and Confluence will be that collaborative editing will operate while in edit mode, so that the published version of the page will remain untouched until it is saved.
Confluence Roadmap planner

The Roadmap planner in action.

Originally an unsupported add-on from Atlassian Labs (personal projects by Atlassian developers), Roadmap planner will now be released as fully supported add-on for Confluence. A Roadmap is more than a way to visualise a plan – you will be able to create traceability back to tasks by linking to other Confluence content.

Improving the HipChat user experience

HipChat on iOS8

Sharing files in iOS8.

Starting with an already released update to the OSX desktop client, a major update to the iPhone and iPad app coming with the release of iOS 8 will improve both usability and performance – highlights include:

  • A new user interface, with new ways to interact with messages.
  • Messages will load significantly faster.
  • Files can be shared from any app on your iPhone or iPad.

Updates to other platforms are expected to follow with similar improvements to look & speed.

I’m also excited by the ideas Atlassian have for closer integration between HipChat and Confluence that I saw demonstrated at the Summit. This will make HipChat a really useful companion tool to Confluence and could become the primary way to consume and interact with the Confluence activity stream. I’m also looking forward to seeing consistent emoticon support across both tools.

Better support for enterprise customers

In addition to these new features, Atlassian have also launched a brand new set of products and services for enterprise customers. These include

  • A data centre edition of Confluence – this version provides scale, high availability and instant scalability where ever Confluence is used as a business critical application.
  • Premier Support provides access to a dedicated team of senior support engineers and a Technical Account Manager who will help enterprise customers proactively plan and manage the entire Atlassian suite (don’t forget – if you don’t need premium support but want business level support with using Confluence Cloud, we can also help with that).

A beta of HipChat on-premise is also available from the HipChat site for those that prefer to run the Atlassian suite inside the firewall.

UPDATE: You can now watch a recording of the Confluence and HipChat Keynote.

Need help with getting the most from Atlassian’s collaboration suite?

We specialise in working with business users of Atlassian’s collaboration suite and have a decade of experience with creating social intranets, extranets and online communities with Confluence.

Please contact James Dellow at the Ripple Effect Group on 0414 233711 for more information.