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Atlassian Announces Confluence 'Blueprints'

Collaboration and development tool maker Atlassian has created a set of page-creation templates, dubbed "Blueprints," designed to simplify the way users of its Confluence content and team collaboration platform create and share their work. Blueprints also provide instructional "placeholder" text and an automated structure for organizing content once it has been created.

Blueprints are aimed at so-called non-technical users (HR teams, sales and marketing, product management, etc.), which the company says account for a growing segment of the population of Confluence users. Atlassian recently released Confluence 5.0, which company co-founder and CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes described in a blog as "Probably the biggest interface overhaul we've ever done in Atlassian's history."

The company is releasing three Confluence Blueprints initially; all three are built into the Confluence environment. They include: Meeting Notes Blueprint, which is provides easy-to-create, formatted meeting pages for tracking people, agendas and notes; File List Blueprint, which allows teams to share and access files in one place that is easily searchable, versioned, and permission-controlled; and Requirements Blueprint, which helps teams to "more easily define, discuss, and organize product requirements" with automatic update versioning, facilitation of discussions, and allowing the use of custom properties for tracking and reporting.

Darryl Duke, founder of StepStone Technologies, was one of the expert partners working with Atlassian on the Blueprint project. StepStone focuses on Confluence almost exclusively, offering a product called Zen Foundation, which is designed to make Confluence simple for non-technical users.

"We think of Confluence, not so much as a tool that helps teams to build great software, but as a tool that helps them to build relevant software," Duke told ADTmag. "It solves the core communication problem faced by any collaboration tool user, and provides a great way to structure the creation of content." 

Duke described Confluence Blueprints as "uber-templates with functionality built in" that allows many different people within an organization to collaborate, from the software development teams to those in the "outer circle," such as the HR department and the legal. "It gives you a much broader ability to collaborate across disciplines within the company," he said. 

Atlassian is an Australian collaboration and development tool maker best known for its JIRA bug tracker and its Confluence collaboration tool. It also makes Stash, an on-premise distributed version control systems (DVCSs) for enterprise teams, and Bitbucket, a cloud-based DVCS hosting service. The company released to beta a new version of its SourceTree desktop client for the Git and Mercurial DVCSs in March.

The first three Atlassian Blueprints are being released into the Atlassian Marketplace, which is embedded within Confluence. Four Atlassian Marketplace vendors have partnered with the company to build their own Blueprints, which are also available for download. They include: strategy canvases by Comalatech for managing tasks and visualizing business processes; online diagrams by Gliffy for building professional-quality flow and organizational charts; polls by Simplenia for creating and sharing simple polls to make group decisions; and Evernote Importer by StiltSoft to bring notes into Confluence for sharing.

Posted by John K. Waters on April 10, 2013