Atlassian Confluence

Analysis of Page Metadata in Atlassian Confluence

Atlassian Confluence provides a rich set of capabilities for management of content. Their approach to collaborative editing, as well as extended ecosystem of add-ons, allow your team to quickly and easily achieve the defined objectives.

Those people who use Confluence extensively utilize different methods to categorize and structure pages for quick accessibility and easy navigation. Here’s page metadata can help you with this.

By default, you can use the native Page Properties macro which allows you to specify custom key/value pairs for specific content pages. This solution allows you to keep metadata within page content. The Page Properties Report macro further processes labels of pages with metadata and generates the index list of pages matching the defined criteria.

But it is not perfect. All the time you need to manually enter text values and there is high probability that you can misspell some word or enter something that will differ from the original value. And here you need a more data-consistent and comprehensive solution. Metadata for Confluence add-on from Communardo Software GmbH can become the tool that can help you with getting control over page metadata.

After expansion of content in your Confluence, one day you may want to get insight into its structure, and find out some criteria to classify or categorize it. And Table Filter and Charts add-on from StiltSoft can become a solution that will help you with content filtration, aggregation, and visualization.

Configuring Metadata for Confluence

Metadata for Confluence add-on gives you sufficient tools to keep data consistency in your Confluence.

You can create metadata sets that incorporate one or multiple metadata fields. While managing a metadata set, you can map it to the appropriate page blueprints or make it as a default set for all newly created pages.

While adding all the necessary metadata fields into the set, you can define their visibility and make some of them as required for data input by users.

confluence_configure_metadata_sets

The add-on provides seven types of fields for entry of metadata information for Confluence pages. The availability of dropdown, multi select, date and user selection fields simplifies the data entry and preserves the data consistency across all pages utilizing the same page template.

confluence_metadata_fields_configuration

You can create as many as needed metadata fields and distribute them across your sets. The configuration of the add-on is completed on this.

Entry of Page Metadata

While editing the page you can map one or multiple metadata sets to the page. In our example, we have a set of metadata that we fill out for each sprint prior to its launch and after its completion.

confluence_entry_page_metadata

Metadata add-on requires selection of the add-on name, which the sprint is created for. The same blueprint as well as the metadata set are shared among several spaces for different add-ons.

The product owner selects the start and end dates for the sprint, its duration, enters the sprint points and selects the sprint status. After the sprint completion the estimated velocity of the team is calculated and entered as a piece of metadata too.

While viewing the page, you can click the View page metadata icon and see the related information. Right from here, you can also transition to its editing.

confluence_viewing_page_metadata

As you may have noticed, there are multiple sprint pages in the product space. For each page the appropriate metadata information is specified. In the next section we will try to collect this page metadata in one place.

Fetching Metadata from Multiple Pages

Once you have multiple pages with specified metadata, you may decide to collect this information in one single space. In our example, we have a space that stores business and development plans, as well as the list of sprints for different Confluence, JIRA and Bitbucket add-ons.

When opening a page with Confluence add-on sprints, you can see the list of sprints for three add-ons: Table Filter and Charts, Handy Macros and Quizzes. For each sprint listed in the table the similar set of information is available.

confluence_collecting_page_metadata

Let’s edit the page and see how this table is generated. While doing this you can find out that the Metadata overview macro is used. The following parameters are configured in it:

  • In Space – three spaces containing pages with sprint metadata are listed. The add-on will fetch only metadata from these spaces and ignore metadata from other spaces.
  • Metadataset – the ‘Confluence Addon Sprint’ metadaset is selected. So the rest of metadatasets are ignored and will not be included into the resulting table.

confluence_configuring_page_metadata_output

This macro also allows you to apply some filtration criteria, define the appropriate order of columns in the index table, enable display of additional page information, and configure the sorting order.

Filtration of Metadata in Confluence

By default, you can use the built-in filters within the Metadata overview macro. But it may be inconvenient as you need to edit the macro all the time for update of its filtration criteria.

Here, we can use the capabilities of Table Filter and Charts add-on. The Table Filter macro provides an extended toolkit of filters:

  • dropdown filters provide you with selectable lists of values for filtration;
  • free text and global filters allow you to enter custom text queries or regular expressions for filtration of specific table columns or the whole table at once;
  • with number filters you can define the range of numeric values you are interested in;
  • date filters let you select the time period you want to view;
  • visual filters give you an opportunity to filter media content, such as icons, images, emoticons, and so on.

Let’s edit the page and insert this macro. After saving the page, we can add two dropdown filters for the Sprint Status and Supported Confluence Versions columns, and a number filter for the Sprint Duration in Weeks column.

confluence_filtration_page_metadata

Once done, let’s find only the sprints with the Closed and In Progress statuses. For doing this you can either select these two values in the dropdown filter or select ‘Open’ but switch the filter into the reverted mode by clicking ‘=’ on the filtration pane.

confluence_filtration_page_metadata_reverted_filters

The other thing that you may get interested in is sprints with the duration not exceeding 2 weeks. You can just enter ‘2’ in the To field of the number filter and here they are.

confluence_filtration_page_metadata_number_range

And the last thing we are going to do is to find out sprints that support Confluence 5.6.x and 5.7.x. I use the dropdown filter for selecting them, and that’s all. For the correct processing of multiple values delimited with some character, you need to use the Cell Value Delimiter option within the macro settings. As an alternative to the dropdown filter, you can add a free text filter and enter here a regular expression ‘5.6.x|5.7.x’. The final result will be the same.

confluence_filtration_page_metadata_comma_separated_values

Aggregation of Page Metadata

Sometimes you may want to get the aggregated view of your page metadata, and here the Pivot Table macro from Table Filter and Charts add-on will help you with this.

While editing the page, enter ‘{Pivot Table}’ and then move the Metadata Overview and Table Filter macros within it.

After saving the page, let’s build a pivot table. Select the Addon Name as Row Labels, and Sprint Status as Column Labels. So here’s the aggregated view of sprints against the add-on and sprint status.

confluence_aggregation_page_metadata

The next thing which we can do is comparison of estimated velocity for all the closed two-week sprints for different add-ons. This will help us to get insight into team performance and look up for possible improvements in the development process.

We re-build our pivot table and select the Addon Name column as Row Labels, change the calculated column to Estimated Velocity, and switch to the Average, Min and Max operations.

confluence_aggregation_page_metadata_multidimensional_pivot_table

As you may notice there are no significant deviations in the estimated velocity between different teams.

Visualization of Page Metadata

The last thing you may want to accomplish while evaluating the page metadata is visualization of sprint distribution across the timeline. Here we will use the capabilities of the Chart from Table macro.

We insert it on the page by entering ‘{Chart from Table}’. After this you just need to move the Metadata overview macro within it. Then edit the parameters of the Chart from Table macro and select Gannt chart and set the correct date format.

confluence_visualization_page_metadata_gantt_chart

After saving the macro and the page, complete the final adjustments of the chart. Select the Addon Name as Labels Columns, and select the Start Date and End Date as Values columns.

confluence_visualization_page_metadata_gantt_chart_output

This is one of the examples of how you can use a junction of Metadata for Confluence and Table Filter and Charts add-ons. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment below or drop an email to vrutkevich@stiltsoft.com.

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